The “It will be beautiful” gem Boston College coach Steve Addazio fed the Internet after the Eagles lost to Virginia Tech two weeks ago was sound-bite catnip to a fan base that perpetually, and often times deservedly, keeps him under a microscope.
It was a perfect purge of pent-up frustration after a loss for the fourth time in five games. It was received as a delusional from the outside looking in at a BC team that seemed as if it might go winless in the conference for the second time in three years.
But inside the Eagles’ locker room, Addazio’s words about a possible upset of Louisville echoed off the walls.
“We love Coach Addazio and we know that we have such a great, tight group of players and we’re crazy close-knit,” said linebacker Ty Schwab said. “We really do play for each other, as cliche as it sounds, we do play for each other inside that locker room and we play for the coaches, we love the coaches. It’s a great coaching staff and we have great players and we all play as one.
“Having played such close games, hearing the same things after the games like, ‘We were right there, we were right there, if a couple more things went our way, a couple more stops on defense.’ We were so close and playing so well that we were bound to break. We were due a win. We were due. We all believed in it and he preached it all week, ‘This is our game.’ We all just felt what he was feeling as well.”
Addazio wrote a check — one he’s been writing since he came to BC five years ago with a five-year plan — and with a 45-42 win on the road against Louisville, the Eagles cashed it, keeping alive their hopes of reaching a bowl game for the fourth time in five years.
The win was by no means a panacea for the season, but it was a shot of affirmation for a team that desperately needed it.
“A lot of people called it an upset, but going into the game, we had all the confidence in the world,” Schwab said. “We were like, ‘We’re going to go win this game.’ We have that every game, too. We’ve played some really tough teams and we’ve played some damn good football. Like Coach Addazio said last week in his press conference, it was a matter of time before we broke out. We all have his back and we all knew and we all had these things in the back of our mind as well that we were going to break out eventually.”
The win slightly titled a half-empty glass to half-full as the Eagles hit the backstretch of their schedule, starting with a 5-1 Virginia team on Saturday in Charlottesville.
The Eagles’ offense piled up 555 total yards against Louisville (364 on the ground) and scored 40 points in an ACC game for just the second time in school history.
“Confidence is boosted,” said running back Thadd Smith. “We can play with anyone in the nation, I feel.”
With the offense riding some momentum and the defense facing a pocket passer in Kurt Benkert, the Eagles (3-4, 1-3 ACC) have reason to believe there will be a confidence carryover against Virginia (5-1, 2-0).
“Week by week, you’ve just got to change and adapt,” Schwab said. “It’s part of the game. It’s kind of fun, I look forward to it. I think it’s fun playing against different things all the time. It makes you a better football player and it teaches you to adapt, because not everything is going to be clear skies and perfect.
“I think it’ll be better for our team that we’re facing a non-dual threat quarterback, because we’ve been beat a couple times on having a dual-threat quarterback. So now that we’ve got a guy who sits back in the pocket, we can get after him a little bit and I think coach will put us in position to have a great chance to win.”
Despite aggravating an injury to his throwing shoulder against Louisville, quarterback Anthony Brown took all the No. 1 snaps in practice this week and likely will be under center Saturday.
“[The injury is] something I’m not used to,” Brown said. “It’s actually helping me mature, because it’s making me learn how to take care of my body better or even prepare my body a lot better and from here on out, I’ve just got to keep preparing and rehabbing my body with treatment.”
Whether the Louisville win was season-shifter or a stopgap remains to be seen, but the path to six wins is still a treacherous one.
“I still don’t think we’ve played our best football,” Addazio said. “And I think that’s ahead of us. And obviously each week you’re hoping that that week is going to be the best game that you’ve played.
“But they’ve got a great mind-set, a great mentality, and this is a team that’s excited as heck for every game. And we just got off the practice field and had a great day today and look forward each day to improving.”Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.