Sports, Football, Fall

Addazio Prepares for Old SEC Foe in Abbreviated Gameweek

With one fewer day to prepare for a Les Miles-led Kansas team, Boston College football has began a modified game week schedule as it aims to move to 3-0 on the young season. The Eagles will host the Jayhawks on Friday night at 7:30 p.m., and with only six days in between games, head coach Steve Addazio stressed the importance of both getting going right away while simultaneously keeping tabs on the fitness of his team.

After rolling to a 45-13 win over Richmond on Saturday, Addazio had his team in early on Sunday morning to review film, then Monday shifted into a physical practice. The rest of the week is far from set in stone, as the team’s coaching staff works with implementing the game plan and managing workloads. 

“When you have these short weeks, you’ve got to get going right away. You can’t spin your wheels on Sunday, for example,” Addazio said in his weekly press conference on Monday. “The next piece is the physical piece of this.

“You’ve got to have some feel of your own team. We didn’t play a night game, and our players weren’t on the field for 70 snaps, but on the flip side of it, I want to make sure we’re fast on Friday night.”

The Eagles do largely have the benefit of two weeks without a major injury under their belt. The lone holdout from the depth chart is linebacker Isaiah McDuffie, who remains week-to-week, but Joe Sparacio has filled in admirably in his absence. BC also enters the game against Kansas with a well-rested running back room, as no player cleared 20 touches against the Spiders. 

So, with plenty of confidence, BC will welcome in a reeling Jayhawks (1-1) team that just dropped a 12-7 game to Coastal Carolina. It was an ugly loss, and one that displayed a woeful offense—quarterback Carter Stanley averaged just over five yards per attempt with two interceptions, and Miles and the Jayhawks quickly pivoted to the run game. They found some success there with star running back Pooka Williams Jr. totaling 99 yards and Khalil Herbert adding 82, but it was rendered ineffective late as the Chanticleers started loading up the box late.

BC opened as 21.5-point favorites, and for good reason. Kansas’ defense hasn’t been bad in the early going, garnering a 48th overall ranking in ESPN’s SP+ metric, but it’ll have its hands full with the Eagles’ 23rd-ranked offense. Throw in the fact that the Jayhawks have the third-worst offense in the FBS, and it could be a long game for Miles & Co.

One thing is for sure: It likely won’t be up to par with the legendary Florida-LSU bouts that occurred when Addazio was the offensive coordinator for the Gators and Miles was overseeing two national championship appearances and one title with the Tigers.

“He makes college football fun in a lot of ways, not just with that, but just with personality and everything else,” Addazio said after looking back fondly to his SEC days. “[He’s] been in a lot of big-time ball games, and certainly one of the great coaches in the history of our game. No doubt about that now. He gets his teams ready to play.”

Addazio was with Florida from 2005 to 2010 in a variety of roles, serving as an offensive line coach, assistant head coach, and offensive coordinator. Miles, meanwhile, was the head coach of LSU for 11-plus years, starting in Baton Rouge the same year Addazio got his start in Gainesville. In total, the pair’s teams met six times over that span, splitting the games at three apiece. 

The most notable game? In 2007, Miles and the Tigers erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit, went 5-for-5 on fourth down attempts, and beat the eventual Heisman winner in Tim Tebow, 28-24. Another worthy contender is 2010, in which there was the fake field goal from the Tigers that led to the game-winning touchdown—and the ball, which wasn’t supposed to hit the ground, took a perfect bounce that got LSU a first down.

“I’ll never forget it, watching on the sidelines, and it was on the ground,” Addazio remembered. “When it hit the ground, it could have went this way or this way, and of course it rolled, like they got the first down like that, but he’s always got some trickeration in his bag.”

The Jayhawks, who managed a lone first quarter touchdown last week, might need some of that trickery again on Friday night—especially if they’re to keep up with an Eagles offense that has put up 80 points in their first two games.

Featured Image by Orlin Wagner / AP Photo

September 9, 2019