Nov. 6, 2000
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -
Boston College head football coach Tom O'Brien
November 5, 2000
Coach, obviously the big question is about the quarterback situation, on Tim Hasselbeck's injury, and what changes you might have to make with Brian St. Pierre coming in.
"Hasselbeck had an MRI done this afternoon, so we'll have to wait. We'll know the results of that sometime tomorrow. We don't make any changes for St. Pierre, they both run the same offense and do everything the same."
In terms of development of your team this year, what would you say would've been the biggest stride that you've made from the early part of the season until now?
"Well we've made improvements with our young kids on defense. When we started in West Virginia, we had 11 kids who had never played defense before and we lost our best defensive player in the first play of the game and he's out for the season. A lot of young kids were pressed into action and they've gotten better and better as time's gone on, but our best linebacker (Scott) Bradley and at that point our best secondary kid (Jonathan) Ordway were nearly lost, but their both back now and playing. I think once Bradley got healthy and played last week, and Ordway played a good amount, they help the defense out. We're playing four freshmen at defensive tackle and we're playing a freshman at defensive end, so we're very young up front."
How did Bradley and Ordway come out of the game?
"Bradley's a little bit sore, but he's feeling better this week than he did last week, so every week he keeps getting better."
And Ordway? No problems there?
"No, he feels good."
Can you talk a little bit about Dedrick Dewalt and his development over the last couple of seasons and how he's become a weapon for you?
"We redshirted him his first year here. We thought he'd be an excellent receiver, he's our fastest and quickest receiver. He spent a lot of time in the off-season with Tim throwing the football. They started something a year ago, but they became even more familiar with each other last year. He's done an excellent job for us and I think that both of our quarterbacks have great faith in him. We throw the ball knowing that he'll go get it for him."
Coach, what do you see as the key to dealing with Notre Dame, a team that's on a roll so to speak?
"Like anything, they're a power-running attack. They're very good at the offensive line and they have good, quick backs, so we'll have to find a way to control their running game and defensively it looks as though they're a lot more active than they were a year ago. We're going to have to be right up front. The biggest concern we have right now is that this is our eighth game in a row and our third game of the last four where our opponent's had a week off before us. Notre Dame is 10-0 after weeks off, so it doesn't look like things are in our favor heading into South Bend."
Tom, given your experience with MRIs this year, is there any chance in your mind that if Tim gets a clean bill of health that he'll play?
"If he gets a clean bill of health, he'll play, but I don't think that after the way he was yesterday and the way our medical people think that he'll be able to play Saturday. He's a tough kid, though, and he's taken a lot this year and still been able to make it back."
Coach what are St. Pierre's strengths and his style?
"He has a very strong arm. He's now in his second year and I've played him every week now for two years in the second quarter of the football game so he's gotten some playing time. Luckily we've been ahead some so that we've gotten him much more playing time this year, so he's much more familiar with the offense. We have complete confidence in him and expect that he'll go to South Bend and have a great game for us."
Can you talk a little bit about how much Green has meant to your team, having a 1,000-yard rusher for the third year in a row?
"Well, that's something new for BC, but I've always had 1,000-yard rushers, so it's nothing new for me. We came in with Cedric Washington going to be our featured back, but Ced's had a tough year health-wise. William Green is a very strong, powerful kid who keeps getting better and keeps learning as the season goes on, and it's a great 1-2 combination. He's just a good football player who's going to be better as the year goes on, and as his career goes on."
Coach, emotionally was the win over Temple enough to get over the loss of Hasselbeck, being bowl eligible now?
"I think it was a great relief for our program. They talk about it here in Boston, that since 1984 there's only been one other time in that 16-year span that they've strung any consecutive winning seasons together, and after four years ago with the fifth-year kids sitting in the room with the gambling situation with the fourth-year kids, they're facing up this year to being the first recruiting class to have faith to come to Boston College. That winning eight games last year and getting to a bowl and winning six games this year it's a great step forward for our program. With the win I think they understand that they lost their quarterback, but I think that they have a lot of faith in Brian St. Pierre, too so we just have to pick up the pieces and go to South Bend."
Any other injuries?
"No, we're banged up but everyone is expected to play."
The six wins-is it going to be enough for a bowl?
"I don't know. Last year Syracuse went at 6-5 with three wins in conference. So, if that's the criteria to get to a bowl, than hopefully we can make it. You know, seven's better than six there's no question about it."
Coach do you think the team's going to be going in to Notre Dame a little loose, thinking that since people are expecting a Notre Dame victory that they'll go in with an attitude of 'nothing to lose'?
"I would hope."
Is that the attitude that you're going to take?
"Yeah, we have nothing to lose, we have everything to gain. We've already started out doing everything that we've needed to do. We already have a winning season, now we'd like to reach a bowl, and we know we have to win seven. There's no reason for us not to go to Notre Dame feeling good about ourselves and being loose and seeing what happens. There isn't any pressure on us."
Coach you guys had a lot of fun after the game last year. What would a win at Notre Dame feel like, or what did it mean to the guys?
"I think it meant a lot to those kids for the reasons we talked about. A lot of those kids, the Hovans and those kids were part of the gambling thing too, so it's just an emotional relief that they had a winning season and had an opportunity to beat Notre Dame, which is something that's big at our school."
Coach do you think that now that you've been there a few years that this has gotten away from being a one-sided rivalry, that Notre Dame might look at this game as a big game, too?
"I doubt it. I don't know why they would. It's the third time in four years that we've had to go there, I don't know if you'd call that a rivalry."
Tim had a good game last year at Notre Dame. How much pain was he in that game?
"I don't think he was in much pain for the game last year. He had that abdominal thing all year last year and he never told anyone about it, so you'd have to talk to him about it, I don't know. He's the kind of kid that once the adrenaline starts going he doesn't feel anything the way that he plays."
Coach out of all the guys that you've had, Tim's really a tough kid. Can you compare how tough he is to other players in the past?
"He's a great competitor, and I wouldn't get into comparing toughness one way or the other, but he's got an extreme amount of toughness. He's always been able to fight through injuries, and he's always been able to hide injuries that we haven't known about. Earlier this year there were times where I don't think he could walk, but he was at practice, you know, when he had that fluid problem in his knee, that bursar sac. He's got great toughness and you just wish that everyone on your team could have toughness like that."