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‘We’re a very proud program:’ Boston College head coach addresses Notre Dame history, rivalry in preparation for game

| Friday, November 22, 2019

Boston College head coach Steve Addazio addressed the media Monday in anticipation of the team’s upcoming matchup with Notre Dame.

Addazio, once a member of Bob Davie’s Notre Dame staff as a position coach for the offensive tackles and tight ends from 1999-2001, had high praise for what the University stands for.

“[I’m] excited about our game,” Addazio said. “We have great respect for the rivalry, the Boston College-Notre Dame rivalry, two schools that do it the right way, two schools that demonstrate Catholic values, Catholic education, faith, academics, and how important those all play together.”

Addazio said having a history at Notre Dame has allowed him to see an inside look at both the Irish and Boston College programs and note the similarities between the two.

“Just really appreciated my time when I was there and obviously very much appreciate my time here,” Addazio said. “Watching student-athletes that come to get an elite education, come to be able to grow in their faith, I think is one of the coolest things that’s in college athletics today.”

In discussing the Irish (8-2), Addazio had high praise in terms of comparing them to the Eagles’ (5-5, 3-4 ACC) previous competition.

“This is a team that’s very talented,” Addazio said. “They’re a top-20 offense and defense. We play two of those this year: Clemson and Notre Dame. I’ve watched certainly an extensive amount of tape on Notre Dame. I have a great deal of respect for Brian Kelly and what he’s accomplished there. They have a great staff, and they have a very, very, very outstanding football team.”

Addazio also gave high marks to the completeness of the Irish offense.

“They’ve got star power on both sides of the ball,” he said. “They’ve got a receiving corps that has got size and tremendous athleticism and speed; … a veteran running back; an outstanding offensive line; … a quarterback that I think is extremely mobile, throws [a] great deep ball and looks like he has total command of their offense; and, of course, an elite tight end. So I’m very, very impressed with Notre Dame on offense and their personnel.”

Because of the Irish’s talents and the history surrounding the program, Addazio said his team has to remain focused and can’t allow themselves to get swept away in the moment.

“As I told our kids, you’ve got to have great preparation because you’ve got to go into that stadium with great confidence, and you’ve got to have a warrior mentality,” Addazio said. “When you go out into that tunnel and get ready to go on the field, it’s not easy to go beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame. … You’ve got to have great respect for them. You’ve got to go in there with great confidence and understand that you’re going to have to go the distance, four quarters, to beat that team on their home field.”

At the same time, Addazio said the programs have a lot of shared history and the players should recognize the significance of the matchup.

“I think it’s great for college football,” Addazio said. “I was there and played against BC. I think there’s a lot of similarities. I just think it lends itself to a natural rivalry kind of game. As I said in [my] opening statement, these are two programs that do it the right way. You’re talking about placing tremendous emphasis on academics and scholarship and faith and character and all those things that go into making these two Catholic institutions elite.”

For the Eagles, the offense is ignited through junior running back AJ Dillon, who is in the midst of his third 1,000+ yard rushing season and currently third in the FBS with 1,451 rushing yards. Dillon, once a Notre Dame recruiting target, has an extra connection in this game, since his grandfather, Tom Gatewood, played for the Irish from 1969-71.

Addazio said Dillon’s connections to the University will only enhance the atmosphere surrounding the game.

“I think all of those are little subplots that go along with a lot of games, but especially in this game,” Addazio said. “There’s a lot there. I love all that. I think that’s what makes it great and fun [and] exciting. Here you are going into your 11th game, and there’s so much energy and excitement and so much to play for. It’s fun.”

However, once all the fanfare is stripped away, Addazio said his team will go into Notre Dame Stadium and play their brand of football in hopes of gaining a marquee victory en route to bowl eligibility.

“We’re a very proud program here at Boston College, and we’re going to go in there with great respect,” Addazio said. “And we’re going to fight and go in there and play hard.”

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