Weekly Q & A With Tom O'Brien
Q: How is your team doing after its "off" week?
A: We finished our off week and have started on our preparations for West Virginia. Obviously they had a tough game against Virginia Tech. They have played well the last couple of weeks. They're a senior-junior football team. They're a very experienced football team. I'm sure they'll be angry when they come to Alumni Stadium Saturday. We'll do our best to be ready and meet the challenge.
Q: Your comments on the West Virginia-Virginia Tech game? What is West Virginia doing now that they weren't doing in the beginning of the season?
A: It looked like they are much improved. (Virginia Tech Coach) Frank Beamer said after the game that they are a much improved team. I would guess that they used their off week well, and they have played well after their off week. They have played awfully well the past two weeks against Miami and Virginia Tech.
Q: Was the off week beneficial to your team?
A: Yes. We were really banged up. Plus we had four very emotional games in a row. We lost a heartbreaker to Temple, that was a real down for us. We came back and beat Pittsburgh in the last minute, which was a real high. We came back and lost to Miami in the last minute of the game on a field goal, which was a real low, and then we came back and beat Syracuse in the last minute. We were on an emotional roller coaster. We came through four conference games beat up and sore and tired. So I think psychologically and physically it really helped us.
Q: You suffered an emotional loss to Miami, as West Virginia did against Virginia Tech this past weekend. What did you have to go through with your team to bounce back after that game?
A: We're desperately trying to build a program here. We ended up going into the Miami game at 5-1. Miami comes in here ranked, obviously with a tremendous football team, tremendous athletes, and we played them tough until about the fourth quarter. Then we turned the ball over, we missed a field goal, and we started to miss some tackles. But it demonstrated to our football team that, if they would play hard for 60 minutes, they would have a chance to play against a quality football team like Miami. They finally believed that, and played for 60 minutes against Syracuse, which was also ranked and an excellent football team. We were able to win at the end, which we were not able to do the week before against Miami.
Q: Is it pretty standard now that Chris Hovan is going to get double-teamed?
A: Absolutely. He's our best defensive player up front and he's the guy who, if I were playing against him, I'd try to make sure I controlled somehow.
Q: Your comments on being ranked in the Top 25?
A: The best thing is that it casts a positive light on our program. From three years ago, as bad as everything was around here, I think it just shows the progress we're making. Nationally, whether they believe we're a top 25 team or not, we've earned it by being 6-2 at this point in the season. As I told the team, it's no big deal. It's not really important unless it's three or four weeks from now. Our goal is to have a winning record in November. We had a winning record in September, and we had a winning record in October. Finally, for the first time since I've been here, November games mean something to this football team. I think it's exciting, but I tell our team every week - we can be happy, but we can't be satisfied. We have to continue to work for everything that we get. We know we have a big challenge with West Virginia coming, and we look forward to that challenge.
Q: When you came to BC, how did you attack the problem and rebuild?
A: We had to start internally. There was so much division on the football team by classes, by positions, etc. It started mainly off the field, trying to re-structure every aspect of how we went about the game of football here. We had to learn to practice, we had no clue on how to practice. With each day, we tried to get better in all phases. But the first thing we had to do was re-structure everything off the field. The infrastructure had to be taken care of. Now we have to recruit to get the athletes. We're not as athletic as the Miamis, the Syracuses, the West Virginias and Virginia Techs of this conference. The only way we can be is to get out there and recruit. We're in the process of that. What's important now about rankings and some of the other things is that we have shown we can win. Boston College has been known as a great academic school, Boston is known as a great sports town, what we had to prove was that we could win. Well, we've won. We have to continue to keep our sights on the chance to win in the month of November.