Improved BC must pass road test
November, 4, 2013
By Jack McCluskey | ESPNBoston.com
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- The film told the story Steve Addazio thought it would. When the BC coach got around to watching the tape of his team’s 34-27 comeback victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon, he saw many good things.
The Eagles played tenaciously on defense, forcing four turnovers and turning those into 17 points (including a pick-six by Kevin Pierre-Louis). Despite facing one of the country’s top rushing defenses, Andre Williams and the offense produced 196 rushing yards and two rushing TDs.
“All in all I thought we played a solid football game and there was a lot of growth, I think, and development there,” Addazio said Monday in his weekly meeting with the media. “But realizing that it’s really one game and for us it’s such a week-to-week grind, we have to really play at a high level, we have to maximize our team each week.
“It doesn’t really matter to me kinda who we play, so to speak, it’s just kinda like that every week. We’re not a hugely explosive team so we’ve gotta do it the long way, the hard way.”
Addazio said a lot of upperclassmen had a great day against the Hokies.
“Most of our seniors played their best game last week,” he said, pointing to Pierre-Louis and Chase Rettig as examples. “I’m really encouraged to see that, and I’m happy for them. They had their best week [of practice] last week. The preparation and the determination of our seniors last week was really noticeable. They need to bring that on the road right now.”
The road has not been kind to the Eagles recently. BC is 1-9 in its past 10 road games, the lone win coming in the 2011 season finale (at Miami). The Eagles were 0-6 on the road in 2012, and have dropped all three of their away games so far under Addazio.
Just judging by records, it seemed the Eagles’ best chance for a road win to date in 2013 would’ve been against North Carolina (the other two were at USC and at Clemson). But the Eagles didn’t play well in Chapel Hill, N.C., and lost handily to a team Addazio thinks was underrated.
“For us to beat North Carolina, we’ve gotta play at a high level, we’ve gotta execute and we’ve gotta play well,” he said. “We can’t do what we did and expect to beat North Carolina. And honestly, quite frankly with you, we won’t beat anybody like that. That’s not who we are right now.”
The Eagles are a .500 team in 2013, coming off a 2-10 finish in 2012. Though they’ve doubled their win total from the final season of the Frank Spaziani era in the first season of the Addazio era, the Eagles still lack depth and need an infusion of talent.
To that end, Addazio said Saturday’s win -- which he called a brick in the team’s long-term foundation -- helps immeasurably in recruiting. The coach said he’s gotten a ton of phone calls from high school coaches across the country, and that the perception of the program is a positive one now.
Good showings against top teams in nationally televised games will do that.
Now the Eagles need to show they can put together the effort and the execution away from Alumni Stadium. The next opportunity to do that is Saturday at New Mexico State (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3).
“We sit here, we’re even at 4-4 and it’s all about getting win No. 5,” Addazio said. “It’s all about going on the road, on a long trip out there and being able to push aside all the distractions ... and just play at a high level and go find a way to win No. 5.”
The Eagles were off Monday, after celebrating the win over Virginia Tech with a victory dinner Sunday at Maggiano’s in Boston.
“I feel great today,” the coach said. “I can’t wait for practice tomorrow. The coaches are gonna be going 100 miles an hour and we’re gonna make sure our players are going 100 miles an hour. It’s our job to get that done.
“To rally, to overcome all the bumps and bruises and all of the things that are going on right now, and to draw on how great that [win] felt and how we’re not gonna let that go. And go out there and play at a high level and do something on the road that we haven’t gotten done yet. That’s the goal. That’s what we’re all working really hard for.”
Four Eagles fell to injuries during Saturday’s game against the Hokies, failing to finish the win. Asked for an update on Monday, Addazio said C.J. Jones (knee), Brian Miller (right knee), Kaleb Ramsey (hamstring) and Jaryd Rudolph (head) were all day-to-day.
“I think we’ve got a great shot for all these guys,” he said.
The ACC announced that BC’s final home game, versus NC State on Nov. 16, will be a 12:30 p.m. ET kickoff. That matchup will be televised by the ACC Regional Sports Network, with the list of affiliates to be announced next week.
The Eagles will finish the season with two more road games, at Maryland on Nov. 23 and at Syracuse on Nov. 30.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.