Steve Addazio is convinced the 2016 Eagles will be better: 'I don't need to prove it to myself or anybody'

Mike Petraglia
August 13, 2016 - 8:24 am
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CHESTNUT HILL -- If there's anyone with the energy and belief that things will improve at Boston College, it's Steve Addazio. The 57-year-old football coach is entering his 22nd consecutive year of Division I coaching. His 21st was arguably his most difficult. The Eagles went 3-9 and lost player after player on the offensive side of the ball. But now, with a transfer quarterback from Kentucky in Patrick Towles, who has dedicated the season to a gorilla, there's new hope. The Eagles held their first intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday and Addazio said, "a lot of good things happened." There's Jon Hilliman, Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse and senior tight end Michael Giacone. The Eagles will look to pound the ball and get back to the type of complementary football that allowed the Eagles to use their defense to win close games. Winning close games is not something the Eagles could do much of last year. They were in games against Clemson and Notre Dame, both ranked fifth in the nation at the time and in the national championship conversation. They lost at Duke, 9-7, at home in the regrettable Wake Forest ending (3-0), at Louisville (17-14), at Fenway against Notre Dame (19-16) and at Syracuse (20-17). That's five games by three points or less. A big reason so many of those games against the best competition were so close was the defense. Statistically, the Eagles had the top-ranked defense in the country last year. "We were really good on defense last year," Addazio said. "But we are not trying to beat our stats. They are not really relative that way. The biggest thing is winning." And that's something the Eagles did precious little of a year ago. After going 3-9 in '15, is there a record this year that will prove to Addazio that he's got the program where he wants it and it's heading in the right direction? "I don't need to prove it to myself or anybody really," Addazio said. "To be honest with you I know the program is going where it is supposed to be going." So, there is a goal? "Yes, the goal is to win the opener. And this is what I tell the team since I have been here," Addazio said. "This is what I have been a part of everywhere in my career. Win the opener, get bowl eligible, then compete for a conference championship. That's what you do. You try to win the opener, and then you try to get bowl eligible. All those. Those first two things I just said are well within the reach of this football team. And then you've got from there. I would never short. I would never say nothing can be done." Last year, the Eagles beat Maine in the opener, 24-3, and Howard, 76-0, in the second game. They won just once in the final 10 games and lost their last eight. "I say win the opener, get that done and from there, no matter what happens from there, you go to become bowl eligible, once your bowl eligible everything is still in front of you. That's the way I feel. I am not one of those guys, I never have been, and I have never been around a program that's broken it down, national championship on three. Let's take it one step at a time, even with veterans. One-game seasons. This team is very capable. If we stay healthy and continue to develop, it's a very capable football team. We will do some things that we will shake our heads at because we are young across the board but we will see great growth from that. "I have said it several times. This is one of my favorite teams to be around right now. No matter what you throw at them, they respond. They love football. They work really hard at football. They give you everything they have. It's a fun group to be around. Fun group to coach. And that hasn't changed. "No one feels good about last year. The guys that were in it understand why, but you don't feel good about it. The year before we were pretty good on offense and we had a hard time stopping a number of teams, we could have had a nine-win year. But last year we were really good on defense but couldn't function on offense for all the reasons we have already ad nauseam gone through. And even with that, this team last year, in my opinion played really hard, all the way through the final game, played hard, both side. To say that the offense didn't play hard is not an accurate statement and as young as we were, we still had the ability to run the football and half way through the season we had a pretty high time of possession. And the offense, myself and the staff made a conscious decision that we were going to feature the defense for obvious reasons which I always do here. We could have went to a no huddle, an up-tempo, we worked on it really hard, we had it available but I said that is not going to help our defense. See that's the other thing people don't talk about. What we do offensively is to extenuate our defense because that is our number one goal, to be great on defense. A lot of teams don't do that. A lot of programs don't do that."