Editor's Note: After a three-week homestand that included games against North Carolina, NC State and Louisville, Clemson's Tigers will be back on the road for the first time since the Florida State game when they play at Boston College on October 18. Eagles coach Steve Addazio talked about what his team accomplished during the spring and its prospects for the season in the following interview:
Boston College coach Steve Addazio
On spring practice: "We felt that we had a productive spring ... several new faces ... little bit of lack of depth as many people are experiencing, but we had a productive spring and we got a lot accomplished. We feel like we're building chemistry on the team for next season and establishing a good foundation. I felt strong about what we got done."
On the team's objectives and take-aways from the spring: "Well, there are several things. First off, it's our second year in the program, and continuity with just knowing the calls and the system was a big advantage. I thought we reestablished our offensive line. I feel like we have the opportunity to have a great front, again, which I think was really important to us. The physicality, the toughness was still established in the spring.
"On defense, I thought we were so much more multiple this spring and were able to pick up where we left off and take more steps as compared to a year ago when we just basic vanilla because we had just gotten in here. So, I'd say we're further ahead schematically.
"We're further ahead in terms of how practice should go - in terms of toughness and the tempo and the way we want things handled. Then we watched some really good young players really evolve. We watched our line jell together. We watched our linebackers really take a look at some guys who had a really good spring and some pass rushers. We felt that our two running backs had an outstanding spring. We utilized Josh Bordner in a position switch and some of the young receivers started to materialize, so there's a lot of things that happened positively."
On development of new personnel at the quarterback and running back positions: "Tyler Murphy, James Walsh and Darius Wade were here for spring. Tyler established himself as the starter. He's a veteran guy. He's a guy that has been in the heat of the battle. He has a lot of experience and has tremendous pocket presence. He throws the ball well. He's obviously very dynamic with his feet, and we felt great about his spring. James Walsh continued to grow as a redshirt sophomore and Darius Wade is a really talented, young player who came here mid-semester. We just think his future here is outstanding. He'll be a guy that will be able to contribute this year for us. He's got a great future and he's a heck of a player. So, we feel really good at the quarterback position.
"The two tailbacks - Tyler Rouse and Myles Willis - had an outstanding spring. Those are two guys that love ball. They love to compete. They're all about excellence in every piece of their life and they were very, very productive this spring."
On diversifying the offense: "We're probably going have the ability to be more diversified on offense. We were pretty two-back, come-down-hill-at-you last year. We'll never lose that identity, but I think we'll have some ability to have more option and more shotgun in our game. The areas we felt we need improve on were the receiver group, we need to make more plays there."
On improving the defense: "In the secondary, we need to challenge more balls and do a better job at getting off the field on third down. I think these are all things that we worked on and felt like we improved."
On the experience Florida transfer Tyler Murphy brings to the quarterback position: "You're talking about a guy that has been in the heat of the battle. He's a veteran, experienced guy that has been a starter in the SEC. Obviously, I'm familiar with him - I recruited him. I coached him. I knew him well, and he's pretty comfortable in terms of our program. Our weight room ... our practices ... our terminology ... it's not a foreign animal for him. He had a great spring. He came up from Florida, as did Ian Silberman. Ian had a tremendous spring and solidified our right tackle spot. Those are two guys with a lot of experience that I know very well and it has been a great transition both are really going help our program."
On replacing two accomplished linebackers: "Mike Strizak, Sean Duggan, Josh Keyes have all stepped in there. Matt Milano is a kid from Florida that came up and started out as a safety that we've kind of knocked down to that nickel-sam, sam-linebacker kind of guy. We feel great about these guys. They're all different positions. I just rattled off a will, a mike, a sam.
"Steven Daniels was a starter for us and he's coming back, but he's been out this spring due to injury. We had a great spring developing the depth there. I thought it was quite productive. I thought the guys did a great job."
On replacing five of the front seven defensive starters: "It's always a concern. You just rattled that off there and I had to count it off in my head. We feel very good that we have a lot of returning guys. We played everybody last year. The guys that are coming back - Brian Mihalik, Truman Gutapfel, Malachi Moore is now back in the swing. He was out last season.
"And then of course Mehdi Abdesmad who got hurt against Florida State and was arguably our best defensive linemen last year. He got hurt against Florida State missed the entire rest of the season. He didn't practice in the spring, but he'll be back in the fall. We feel like we have a bunch of really good players up front."