COLUMN: Addazio, BC Take Frustrating Loss In Stride
Published: Sunday, September 15, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 15, 2013 22:09
After defeating Villanova in the first game of his Boston College head coaching career, Steve Addazio strolled into the Barber Room with a giant grin glued to his face. He put his face down slightly, not quite able to take the grin away but trying not to flaunt it.
“Sorry, guys,” he said to the media, not actually sorry at all, and with no reason to be. He’d held up a group of reporters for a few extra minutes because he was busy singing the BC fight song with his team.
The grin only lasted as long as the walk from the door to his chair. Leave one realm and enter another. Celebrate and then get down to business. There were lots of positives from the game. There was also a quarter and a half of pretty sloppy play. The second he sat down, the grin was gone and he was ready to talk.
After defeating Wake Forest in the second game of the season, Addazio barreled into the Barber Room, again a little late and again with the exact same grin.
“Sorry, guys,” he said as he made his way to his seat. Yes, it was the fight song. Turns out that can take a while.
Then he hit the chair and the grin went away. Back to business and back to improving on the way to the team’s only goal—bowl eligibility.
After being run over by USC Saturday in a 35-7 route, Addazio hurried his way, head down, to the front of a makeshift white tent. No grin, no slight jump in his step like in the Barber Room. No waiting on a fight song. He got right up to the microphone, and the second he sat down any grief that may have been on that ducked face during the walk up the side of the tent was gone. He was disappointed, but he was calm.
“We didn’t do much on either side of the ball…”
“We just had some drops that we can’t have…”
“We needed to play better to be in this game in the fourth quarter and we didn’t do that…”
“We didn’t respond with an equal drive and that’s when it turned a little bit…”
That’s how it began, with everything that he and his team collectively didn’t do well enough against the Trojans. He said USC was a good team that played better. As he listed the things that BC didn’t do well—always as a “we,” never referencing his players as a “they”—there was honest belief in his voice that it could have been different.
Addazio was completely convinced that a better third quarter would have swung this game for the Eagles. After the 10-second runoff late in the first half with the clock winding down, he told his team to just get out of the half, right then, down 14.
“You take the opening drive…” Addazio said, emphatically and allowing his voice to rise, “You go down and score, its four”—fist-pound hard on the table—“teen”—fist-pound hard on the table—“seven”—fist-pound hard on the table. He threw his whole body into those final words, letting the people in the tent know that every ounce of him believed it was that close and that simple.
When the upcoming bye week was discussed, he changed course, focusing on what’s ahead.
“I’ve got a bye week schedule and we’re going to hang to it,” he said. “I know better than to go back here and be stubborn and say that we’re just going to have a bloodbath on Monday. That’s not the answer. It wasn’t like we had a lack of effort. If I thought that was the case, then that’s what we’d do.”
He said his kids needed some time off to recover. As much as this loss stung, he knows it is just one step on the path to this program’s long rebuild.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m not going to let one game wipe out a lot of progress that we’ve made,” he said. “That’s not right.
“It’s all about incrementally building our program right now.”
He reminded his players after the Wake Forest win that two games don’t make a season. He reminded them today three games don’t make it either. Florida State comes to Chestnut Hill in two weeks, and Addazio insisted there wouldn’t be any panic after a 28-point loss.
“None of that is going to happen by any player or any coach,” he said.
And he seemed right. His players walked out of the locker room with their heads up. Chase Rettig, Kasim Edebali, and Ian White all sounded disappointed, but in no way defeated. There was a subtle confidence in every statement that, if they’d played at their best, this could’ve been a close game.
“This is all an opportunity to build our program, which we will do,” he said, closing the press conference.
Then he stood up, thanked some reporters with an, “alright man, appreciate it,” and walked out the same side of the tent through which he had entered, his head up the whole way.
Waiting for him at the tent’s opening was athletic director Brad Bates. Bates met Addazio in stride, each man wearing the same white BC Under Armour polo and tan khaki pants, and they walked away together joined at the hip.