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Boston College kicks off training camp

Boston College football is officially back.

Under a sunny sky and 80 degree temperatures, the Eagles officially kicked off preseason camp Monday morning on Shea Field.

With just under four weeks until the season opener against Maine on Sept. 5, BC is getting down to football.

Head coach Steve Addazio is now in his third season at the helm, and this year’s squad presents unique challenges to the 29-year coaching veteran.

“It’s great,” Addazio said. “See the young guys out there, working on some fundamentals and getting back into football. It’s been fantastic. I’m really enjoying being out there and watching these guys. We’ve got some nice-looking guys out there, some nice athletic guys. We just have to get them geared in and fundamentally sound and going the right way.”

One of the areas of focus this preseason will be on offense, which must replace all five starting offensive linemen from last season, as well as the quarterback.

It’s a fact that Addazio has thought long and hard about, and how it will affect the team’s preparation.

“This will be the biggest changeover I think I’ve been around,” he said. “It hit me this summer. All of a sudden, you have to rethink everything you’re doing, how you handle everything … It’s just really different, the magnitude of it, the numbers of guys.”

Addazio noted that a key to preseason will be “A lot of development. How fast can some of these guys develop? How fast can you get some of these guys ready to be on the field? How fast can you get a two-deep offensive line working together? These are all the question marks.”

Despite the tacking the team will undergo this preseason, Addazio is still positive and enthusiastic about his squad: “But I think the athleticism, I like the attitude. There’s a lot of positives.”

FIRST PRACTICE COACH & PLAYER QUOTES (All Quotes Provided by Boston College Athletics)

BC head coach Steve Addazio

On getting back on the field…

“It’s great. See the young guys out there, working on some fundamentals and getting back into football. It’s been fantastic. I’m really enjoying being out there and watching these guys. We’ve got some nice-looking guys out there, some nice athletic guys. We just have to get them geared in and fundamentally sound and going the right way.”

On the goals for the season…

“Really simply, I keep the goals the same. Win the opener. You’ve got to get started in a positive fashion. Get bowl eligible, because that’s a real measuring stick. And then compete for a championship. Some people say to me, ‘You’re young right now, is that realistic?’ I think anything is realistic right now. I think that how fast this group can come together remains to be seen. You’ve got to keep your goals intact and see where you are from an experience standpoint. You really won’t have a good feel for that for several weeks when you get a chance to get the pads on and watch this thing develop a little bit. And even then, I still think this team, we won’t really know – until we get in live situations – what we’re really dealing with because it’s not really been seen before. We’ve got nothing to judge on. We’ve got a ways to go on that.”

On how young the team is…

“This will be the biggest changeover I think I’ve been around. It hit me this summer. All of a sudden, you have to rethink everything you’re doing, how you handle everything. I’m really worried about the emotional end of some guys, where their heads are at. There are all kinds of things you’re worried about. It’s just really different, the magnitude of it, the numbers of young guys.”

On the quarterback situation…

“Darius [Wade] came out of the spring as the starter but they’re all competing here right now. We’re looking forward to watching it unwind here. Again, I just think that I equate practices like today and tomorrow like 7v7. No one is hitting anybody. It’s pretty peaceful. Wednesday the shoulder pads go on and you start to get a little more feel from then on and from there you’ll get a better idea.”

On Darius Wade…

“In the spring, he had the best command of the offense. That’s simply it. He could function at the highest level. So to me, I like to come out of spring, if at all possible, you’d like to have a guy who comes out as a starter. Then you roll from there. That doesn’t mean you’re the starter for life. It just means you came out of spring, you’re taking those starting reps. He has to grow and continue to develop. Someone else could rise up and beat him out.”

On senior offensive guard Harris Williams’ experience…

“Harris has played a lot and everyone else really hasn’t played. Thank god we have a guy in there who’s been through it. It happens fast, it really does. We’ve got a ways to go. But I can tell by just being [with the offensive line] a short amount of time that the ability level is there. It’s just how long it is going to take to develop. It might take a little time.”

Senior LB Steven Daniels

On working with the younger players…

“Being out here with a bunch of younger guys, we’re just trying to find a way give them as much knowledge as we have. Those guys need leadership. So that’s what we’re here to provide.”

On what the defense…

“Guys have just got to go, beginning to end. Four to six seconds of tremendous effort. That’s what we preach and that’s what we have to do…We have a lot of experience and we’re just working as hard as possible. We know what it takes. When we think we reach the point that we know what it takes, we’re going to push ourselves a little bit farther.

On playing middle linebacker…

“I’ve definitely grown comfortable. All last year, being there, and just learning what to do and learning the ropes. My sophomore year I played Will and last year I played Mike, so I can play either, but I’m definitely comfortable playing Mike.”

On the first day of practice…

“There’s a bunch of excitement. Guys, from the end of spring until now, we’ve just been working out, looking at each other, doing combine drills and stuff like that. Guys are just excited to get out here and play with the football. Guys just want to go.”

Sophomore QB Darius Wade

On what he learned last season…

“I felt like I’ve learned a lot. Another whole year of experience, even in just practice, taught me a lot. It really showed me the speed of the game. The intangibles I have to have and the things that I need to work on, including reads and going through my defensive progressions. I felt like a whole year to sit back and learn was very helpful for me.”

On what he hopes to work on in the preseason…

“I’m really hoping to work on my efficiency with the passing game. I want to work on the little fundamental things that I know I need to work on. I know I need to keep working on my feet and becoming sound in that aspect of the game. That will definitely help me as I work towards the season.”

On his chemistry with the wide receivers…

“It’s pretty good. The good thing is that last year – being on the second team – I was able to get a lot of repetitions with them. A lot of the younger guys are now stepping up as the starters, ones who I’ve already been working with a lot. We had a good offseason this summer, just constantly working on chemistry and getting out there every day that we could. I felt like we were pretty sharp in some things. Of course, there are some things we have to work on. Especially the younger guys, given it’s their first time going up against a college defensive back. Getting off the jams and things like that, it’s going to take time, but I know they’re going to get used to it and they’re going to step it up.”

On the excitement of the first day of practice…

“It’s very exciting! This is something you always dream about. I know as the season is getting closer, my reality is that I have this opportunity. I just want to make sure I make the most out of it. This is a great time for me to get all my mistakes out now so that once the season comes, I’m won’t be making as many.”

Sophomore RB Jon Hilliman

On the focus of the running backs…

“We’re focused on running through contact. We’re an older group. We’ve got a lot of guys back with playing experience. So we’re just grinding and doing what we got to do.”

Impact of playing a lot as a freshman….

“I feel a lot older because of it, to be honest. It feels like I grew up a lot from last season. We were playing tough games on the road with that schedule. I kind of feel like I’ve been around the block, which I plan to use as one of my strengths this year.”