Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Addazio makes rounds at ESPN
By Jack McCluskey
BRISTOL, Conn. -- Steve Addazio made the rounds at ESPN headquarters on Tuesday, putting in a full day’s worth of interviews in his second go-round in what’s come to be known as the ESPN “Car Wash.”
One of six ACC coaches on campus during the day, Addazio arrived at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t wrap up his final obligation for the work day until almost 3 p.m. In between interviews with ESPN.com reporters and filming spots for “College Football Live” and "SportsCenter," the new BC boss grabbed a bite with a few Eagles alums in a green room near the studios.
The lunch menu, of course, was Italian.
Throughout the day, Addazio addressed everything from facilities updates at the Heights to his take on paying college athletes for playing, what kind of systems he wants to run on the field, and his philosophy on recruiting.
Eight months into his stint in Chestnut Hill there have already been some superficial changes, such as renovations to the team’s locker room and Addazio’s offices.
“I think it’s really important. It’s all great for our players and it’s great for recruiting,” Addazio said of the touch-ups. “The next topics are probably an indoor [practice facility] and a possible weight-room expansion.”
Of course, there are plenty of other goals as well.
Addazio has made it very clear he wants to establish a balanced offense with a power run game, ideally run by a dual-threat quarterback, and an “attack-style” defense. But the coach admits it may take time to stock the roster with the ideal players to carry out those systems.
Until then, he and coordinators Ryan Day (offense) and Don Brown (defense) will play to their roster’s strengths and try to mitigate its weaknesses -- perhaps the biggest of which is a lack of depth at key positions like running back and wide receiver.
But asked in the green room how he’ll manage the issues of depth during camp and into the season, Addazio had a ready answer.
“I’m not gonna manage it, I’m gonna go,” he said. “You can sit there and say, ‘OK, well, take it easy.’ [But] you can get hurt doing anything. So you can back off from a physical standpoint, but then you’re not gonna create the philosophy of your team.
“I’m in this for the long haul, so I need to get who we’re gonna be, to set the demeanor of who we’re gonna be, right from the beginning. And just hope that we stay as healthy as we can.
“Now, I’m not gonna be reckless about it. But I can’t say, ‘Oh, let’s back off.’ Because we won’t be very tough.”
And if there’s one thing Addazio is sure his team will be, it’s tough.
Which is good, because the early going won’t be easy. The Eagles were picked to finish last in the ACC at the conference’s media day, and Addazio acknowledges that coming off of consecutive four- and two-win seasons, that’s where they should be picked.
“I mean, listen, we’re going into this year, we’re gonna win as many games as we can win,” he said just before being whisked off to makeup prior to his TV spots. “But we also have to get our program in place for the future. That’s really important.”
Though camp doesn’t start for another few days, that important work is clearly already underway.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.