Boston College head coach Steve Addazio has always admired the Clemson program and Friday night he gets a chance to complete against the best.
A transcript of coach Addazio’s ACC teleconference follows:
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, obviously we have a great challenge with Clemson, the No. 3 ranked team in America coming into Chestnut Hill on Friday night. Their ranking is extremely well-deserved. They’re a great football team. They beat a heck of a football team last week and played very impressively.
I’ve always been an admirer of Clemson’s program. I think Dabo does an unbelievable job. I just watch the way he motivates his team, the chemistry that they have, the way they play together, fundamentally how they play. They have a great coaching staff. Everything is well thought out, offense, defense, special teams. They’ve done a great job recruiting. They have fantastic football players there.
It’s just a really, really great football program. It’s a great challenge for us, and we’re fortunate that we have a chance to play them up here at home, which obviously we’re excited about, and we’re going to have to play just a great football game, and it’s what you look forward to when you have a No. 3 ranked team come into your stadium on a Friday night on national TV. I think everybody is excited and ramped up for that kind of contest.
Q. What’s the mood of the team been just with no feeling of winning an ACC game since 2014?
STEVE ADDAZIO: What’s the mood of the team? The team is excited and getting ready to play a football game. That’s what the mood of the team is. I mean, that’s not a focus. We’re sitting here getting ready to win another major college football game like everybody else in America.
Q. Was there any frustration after certainly the Virginia Tech game, or how do the guys react to games like that?
STEVE ADDAZIO: There’s frustration any time you lose. You know, you want to play at your best. We went down to Virginia Tech on the road early, didn’t play very well. I think they played great. I think they have a hell of a football team. We lost that football game. We opened up in Ireland with Georgia Tech and played a heck of a game against Georgia Tech on opening day, and you know, we had a great opportunity to win that football game. Here’s another one coming at us Friday night.
In football time you don’t spend your time worrying about what was, you worry about what is, and we have a great attitude. Our team is developing, growing every day, we’re young, we’re maturing. They love football. They love competing, and they love the opportunity to have a chance to play against a team like Clemson.
Q. Normally you want to stop the run and make a team one-dimensional, but with Clemson do you maybe think about taking away the pass and making them run to limit possessions?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think when you think about Clemson, you think about all the weapons they have. They can hurt you in so many ways. Obviously they have an elite quarterback. I think the running back is fantastic. They’ve got really good wide receivers. I just think that in your mind when you’re playing Clemson, you’re trying to stop explosive plays and create disruption. But it’s hard to do because you’re talking about a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback, I think an outstanding offensive line and skill players everywhere. We’ll have our hands full, but our number one goal is obviously to stop big, explosive plays.
Q. Everyone talks about Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense; how good is their defense?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I think their defense is outstanding. It’s been outstanding every year that I’ve been here. I think it’s one of the elite defenses in the country, and I’ve said that. I think they do a great job. It’s really well-coordinated, it’s really well thought out, fantastic players. There’s been first-round draft picks coming off that defense, and there’s more there right now. I think they have an NFL-level secondary. They’re powerful and big up front. They’re skilled and fast in the back end. The linebacker, 10, is a fantastic player. He makes plays all over the field. He looks like he’s a real centerpiece of their defense, and as I said, they’re well put together. They’re systematically well put together.
Q. Y’all had a Friday night home game against Florida State last year, went down to the very end. Not sure what the crowd was like for that game, but what are your thoughts? Is that a detriment at all as far as selling out your stadium, having a Friday night game, and what are your overall thoughts about what the ACC has been doing the last couple years having a Friday night game?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I mean, we’re going to have a great crowd here Friday night. We’ll be as close to a sellout as we’re going to be. It’s going to be fantastic. It’ll be electric.
What do I think about Friday night games? Well, you know what, it puts you on a short week, which I think is a stress for players, given their academic load, but these are decisions that are certainly not in my or our hands, and I think Friday night crowds and Friday night electricity sometimes is pretty cool, so I would say to you that I think it’s a stress. I don’t like us competing or college competing with high school football. I think high school football is a Friday night — most of it is a Friday night game, and I think that it’s such a special thing, high school football. So I hate to compete with high school football that’s out there. That bothers me because that’s special. I don’t have young kids anymore. When my son was playing, I certainly would like to have been there watching him play in high school on a Friday night like I had a chance to do when I was at Florida, but those are the cards you’re dealt. I think the crowd will be electric. I think all that’ll be great.
I worry about the kids on a short week with their academic loads. We’re home. Traveling even makes it harder. I don’t know if I answered your question.
Q. I’m just wondering if you can talk about Jeff Smith and the transition he’s made from quarterback to wide receiver. He’s a guy with some big-play potential.
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, Jeff has got elite speed. He’s fast. He’s learning how to play receiver. He played as a true freshman last year, a young 17-year-old coming in here, played at quarterback. It was not easy, and now he’s made a position change, and you can see that he’s got some real natural tools. I think he’s going to be an elite receiver in this conference when this is all said and done, but right now there’s a huge learning curve. You see some great plays and then you see some stuff like a young guy, where they’re still getting comfortable and learning how to move defenders and the intricacies of a passing game and route running. But he has the elite speed and athleticism and great hands, and he’s a competitor.
We’re really excited. He and Michael Walker and Ben Glines and Tom Sweeney and Charlie Callinan, we finally at BC have a group of receivers that we feel are really good players. Charlie is the only one that has a lot of game experience. They’re all pretty young and pretty inexperienced. But the future is great with them.
Q. Playing Clemson, I mean, you played them last year, I know it was 34-17, but it was a really tough game for them. It was one of their lowest offensive outputs of the season. Is there any carryover in terms of they have Watson again, he’s running their offense, Gallman is their — is there a carryover that you’ve seen them and you know what they can do? Does that help preparation, especially in a short week?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, every year is a new year, and the emphasis of an offense, I think we have some familiarity as you said and some knowledge of personnel because we’ve seen them up close and personal.
But it’s a new year, and I think that we have new personnel in terms of coaches on our defense. We’ve got a bunch of game tape, and we have a good idea and a good concept of what they want to do. They’re talented. They’re very, very talented. I mean, at the end of the day, they’ve got really good football players, and they’re well-coached, and they’re in a really good scheme that matches their personnel really well, and they have an elite quarterback. I mean, in this game, college football, pro football, when you have an elite quarterback, it makes all the difference in the world when you have a guy that’s got a veteran guy, knows the system, been in place. That’s what it’s all about, and those guys have altered the outcomes of games. So it’s got to be comforting for them to know they have a veteran, proven quarterback, been in a National Championship game, done it all, been a Heisman Trophy finalist, will be again.
Those are difficult things to prepare for. They’ve got a real guy as a trigger man, and that’s a great advantage.