He was hired more than a month ago and he hasn’t slowed down. Recruiting, evaluating, buying a new house, getting settled into a job and a life style that fits his personality.
In the middle of January, football is not the topic dejour at Boston College, but new coach Steve Addazio, sitting in his third floor office at the Yawkey Center in the middle of the BC campus still wants to amp up the intensity.
Even though the introductory press conference, which at times sounded like a recruiting trip/pep rally, has been replaced by the daily routine of meeting with coaches and players to formulate a plan for the next few weeks and months as the countdown to the season opener against Stony Brook on August 31st begins.
We’ve got to do a great job recruiting to rebuild and bring back up the level of excellence here,” said Addazio, his voice filled with enthusiasm of sending the message. “There have been some great players here and we have to bring in a bunch of great players in here to keep it going. ”
How that is done is Addazio’s challenge, just the way it was for former BC coach Frank Spaziani, before a 2-10 season doomed Spaziani’s chances of returning for a fifth season.
“We are at the beginning of building a mentally tough football team, physically tough and mentally tough through detail and accountability and those kinds of things right now that are very important, said Addazio. “” We need to do a great job in the offseason developing real accountability for each other and set a standard of what it is going to take to have excellence in this conference. We have to develop great team chemistry right now and we are going about that right now.”
Addazio, who came to BC after two year as the head coach at Temple and a successful stint as an assistant at Florida, says the devil–and the success–may be in the details which he says he will constantly work on maintaining at a high level.
“We will be measured over time and it will be challenging because it’s not just about moving weight,’ said Addazio. “It’s about detail and the exactness of everything, that’s our style. Exact instructions, exact everything because we are not just developing conditioning and strength. “It will be a process and this will be the most physically and mentally demanding off season they have ever had and that is going to be measured over time.”
“I’m more interested in mental and physical toughness and accountability. Plays are plays and everybody who has been here over the past ten years has run a draw play and a trap play and thrown a fade. It is more about fundamental development when we get to spring football practice.”
Spring practice is still weeks away from starting. Right now, the BC players are in their training mode and Addazio is in his evaluating mode, getting to know his team, while they adjust to his style and personality.
“I kind of break it up into phases and we are in phase one right now, ” said Addazio. “Phase two will come with spring practice and the winter program, the spring program and the off season program. In those phases are a lot of different challenges all leading up to coming into training camp. It will be different phases and right now it’s all about keeping your focus on this phase right now and don’t worry about phase two and phase three. Right now I want you to forget about plays, forget about offenses, forget about defenses and be completing submerged and locked into what at hand. It’s about pushing yourself beyond what you’ve done before and you can’t worry about (phase) two before you finish (phase) one. You are going to have your hands full with (phase) one.”
As Addazio talks, he gets more animated. It is his personality, which is high octane rhetoric. Believe it. don’t believe it. Addazio is not worried about that right now. His message is clear.
“I’m a high energy up tempo guys and I hired bunch of staff guys that are that way,” he said. “”I want to transcend that into our team, that’s what our mission is and that is what we are trying to do. I’m going to set a standard for the program and that’s the way it’s going to be and it’s going to be sustained over time. That’s the goal and I have a clear vision for this program. The goal is to get there as fast and as furiously as we can. We’ve got to put that into the program. That’s the object and that how it’s been with me for my whole career. That’s the way I want it . I’m not bending on that and if that doesn’t match somebody than they are going to have to find somewhere else to go. How high we jump, how fast we run, how many victories you have that is all yet to be determined. We are going to be a high energy tough and exact football team and we are starting that right now. In order to do that you have to strip it down, take away the selfishness and put personal agendas aside.”
Addazio says he is comfortable with whatever system works, but made it clear that he is more run-oriented than wide open, although he will fit his system to match his roster.
He says it is too early to tell what he will do with the roster he has at BC, including senior QB Chase Rettig.
“My whole philosophy is this, ” he said. “I may have conceptually some ideas where would like to be. But right now I’m going to do what our players do best. The object right now is to win as many games as we can possibly win. Whoever the best players are, that’s who we are going to use. How you measure a quarterback? This kind of quarterback does this good. This kind of quarterback does this well. I want a guy who can lead the team and win games. Then what we are going to do is evaluate who can have an impact. Then we start the process of getting to know the football team. The guys we feel have the right kind of mental and physical characteristics and shape what we can do to maximize our talent now. That’s what we are really going to be about and to do that you need time to evaluate the players. That process hasn’t began. I’m talking about specifics but I’m going to do what our talent does.”
“I want to be the most balanced team we can. There are lots of ways to skin the cat but I do like balance. I believe philosophically you have to run the football to win. I have a simple plan to win. Play great defense, run the football, score in the red zone, don’t turn the ball over, be dynamic on special teams. Those are the five things that I hold as the bible on how you win. Within that five plan bible I have to put our players in the best position they can be in. You take that group of guys and wrap it around those five elements that I consider imperative and I’ve been involved in all of them. Where we start and where we finish might be two different places but we will capitalize on the best talent that we have. ”
Get more specific with a question and Addazio will get more general with answer–at least right now.
“It’s all about evaluation and bringing passion and energy to the process,” he said. “”We have a pretty detailed system here on how we go about doing that and getting the staff involved at all times. We have people coming at things from different angles in terms of recruiting. I’m on top of everything, I’ll be watching every bit of tape and I’ll watch every player. I’ll have a system in place and I’ll have my hands on everything. It’s a system I’m really comfortable with.”
The comfort level for coaches and players will change as they get to know each other. Right now they are checking each other out, trying to find a system and a way of doing things that will work.
© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.