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Step One: Get Tougher

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By William Qualkinbush.

By William Qualkinbush

When a coach arrives at a new program, one of the first things on the agenda is to check the culture. If it needs a tweak, or even a wholesale overhaul, the coach must immediately address the problem.

Steve Addazio is taking such an approach to his first season at Boston College. He understands the way the Eagles have won in the past, and all he wants is to bring some of that mentality back to Chestnut Hill.

“We’re a work in progress, but that’s who we want to be,” he said of his first team. “So we’re going to build that way, even though early on it might be difficult.”

Addazio is already hard at work instilling a kind of toughness into his team. He put his players through a rigorous spring practice designed to test them and bond them together in a way he hopes will translate into immediate success on the gridiron.

In addition, Addazio wanted to make sure his players were educated every step of the way, so he allowed for multiple sessions of film study to make it happen.

“I wanted the spring to be physical,” Addazio said. “I spaced it out so we could have ample time between practices, on days off, to watch the video and learn. I wanted fundamentals and I wanted toughness and physicalness.”

Addazio wants his team to look like a traditional Boston College squad—tough, resilient, solid up front, and cohesive as a unit. The first order of business is to establish dominance on the line of scrimmage, and the former Temple head coach thinks his new team is off to a good start.

“I really like where our offensive line is headed right now,” Addazio said. “I think we have a chance to have one of the better O-lines in this conference. That’s exciting.”

In general, Addazio says, his team is in good shape with personnel. There is plenty of talent on defense, something he can build around. He has a veteran quarterback in Chase Rettig that can be trusted to manage the game, and he has a pounding tailback in Andre Williams that can also break through for big plays.

The pieces are in place at Boston College. Now, according to Addazio, the only thing left to do is to put the pieces together. This is easier said than done, but he feels the best way to go about the process is to help his players grow as people first and develop skills that are applicable in all walks of life.

“We don’t want to let our family down. We don’t want to let our spouses down. We don’t want to let our children down,” Addazio said, “and you hold yourself to a standard. That takes some mental toughness. Some guys don’t have such great mental toughness.

“Are you willing to sacrifice for your team, for your teammate? It’s a mindset which is sometimes contrary to what’s out there right now. That’s why I think there are a lot of great players in college football, but there are not a lot of great teams.”

Addazio joined forces with Boston College to try to fill that void. It’s the number one goal every single day in Chestnut Hill.

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