Nov. 5, 1999
Boston College Head Football Coach Tom O'Brien answers questions
from fans submitted via the "Ask the Coach" feature on www.bceagles.com.
Question 1 (from Martin Kane, Marion, Mass.): Why do you pull Tim
Hasselbeck for a series each game and insert Brian St. Pierre?
Tom O'Brien: The reason is to give Brian experience. I'm concerned
with the fact that, if you get to a situation in a football game, and
it's the end of the game, somewhere in the fourth quarter, and your
starting quarterback goes down, we would not have a player who has been
in the game and has any game experience. In that case, I think it's
impossible to ask him to win a football game for you. We try to get
our backup quarterback in the game for a series or two, every game, in
the second quarter. Brian St. Pierre is a good player, and he deserves
to play. We probably never would have won the Pittsburgh game if Brian
hadn't been able to start and play as well as he did until he got hurt
in the third quarter. I think you need two players at every position,
and quarterback is no exception.
Question 2 (from Peter Jengo, Gardner, Mass.): Since opposing teams
are looking to pass on us, are you planning any changes in your schemes
to stop them? How can we fans help the program?
Tom O'Brien: It's a little bit of a change this year, Peter. The last
two years we've had trouble stopping the run, so we've put a lot of
emphasis on that, and we're doing a better job of it. When people ask
me why we don't run more, I say that when there's too many people in
the box, we throw the ball. Some of those things have happened to us.
It becomes a guessing game with our defensive coordinator as to what
defense to play to help stop the run and the pass. One thing we've
been able to do well the last couple of weeks is contain the ball. We
haven't given up the deep ball since the Pittsburgh game. That's a
point of emphasis for us, because in my last two years here we gave up
too many deep balls. I want to keep the ball in front of us and tackle
it. We've gotten very stingy in the red zone and haven't given up
scores. We're bending but we're not breaking.
The fans can help our program by not being negative. They can show up
early and not leave until the game is over. Sometimes it seems like
they complain about everything. I think if we get there early, stay
late, and have a positive attitude, and back the team through thick and
thin, it will be a big help to us. It doesn't do the kids any good
when they're getting booed, or yelled at, or complained about. For
their mental state, to go out there and play as hard as they have to
play for 60 minutes to win the football game, they need positive
Question 3 (from Paul Basile, Seattle, Wash.): How can BC come so
close in the fourth quarter in so many games? Can you talk about your
team playing hard for four full quarters?
Tom O'Brien: I think we've come close because we are playing hard. We
try to get ourselves into a position to win. What happens is that,
when you get to that point in the game, somebody has to make a play to
win the game. The last couple of years, we've lost three heartbreakers
at home in the final minutes. We lost to Navy and Notre Dame last
year, and then Miami this year. But this year, we won the Baylor game,
we went to Navy and won that game, the Pittsburgh game went down to the
wire, and the Syracuse game went down to the wire. So that makes four
we've won this year in the closing minutes. We came into this year
talking about our mental toughness, our will to win, hanging in there
and playing 60 minutes, and not looking at the scoreboard. I think
we've done that. Right now, if you just take this season, that's four
victories to one that have gone to the end of the game and we've come
out on top.