Whatever one’s feelings on the hire of Steve Addazio as Boston College football coach, which is doubtlessly still coming as a shock the morning after, the deed is now done. It will very soon be time for Addazio to prove to the fans and his employer that he was the right hire.
The problem here is, as I think about what to say here about expectations for Addazio at Boston College, in reality, I do not know what to think. I had a greater degree of certainty in specific other candidates, whether they had been a head coach or not, but with Addazio, I can honestly say I do not know what the next several years will look like. Will his reputation as a good recruiter yield noticeable results? Will his passion for football, which I don’t think anyone disputes, fire up his team and create a new culture at Boston College? Most importantly, will he win?
Steve Addazio is a motivator. He is the kind of guy, if reports are thoroughly accurate, that players have enjoyed playing for and they hold him in high regard. None of that matters if he doesn’t win.
Will he? Again, I don’t know. His time at Temple was a mixed bag, and it was only two years at that. Florida fans rejoiced when he left as offensive coordinator. And yet, media types have almost universally hailed this hire as a home run and can’t understand the reaction of Boston College fans when they were fed more exciting names and a far more exciting vision for the program; instead, most are taking a wait-and-see approach rather than diving in head-first to optimism. Addazio caught most everyone on the outside by surprise, and many of the fans did not consider him as being in the mix because they thought BC was going in a different direction. Some weren’t sold on him as the guy who could return BC to prominence, and other simply thought better candidates were available. We will never know what went on in those meetings and phone conversations, and now, it doesn’t matter anymore.
To get in the good graces of the fans and stay there, he has to win and prove that he’s going to turn this thing around. It has to be more than fiery locker room speeches: he has to actually do it. It is probably fair to expect that Addazio, true to form, will motivate his team, but this is not even about Xs and Os or getting the players to run through brick walls: it is about rebuilding a program from the ground up. Almost everything about Boston College football needs to be fixed in Sunday through Friday operations, not just on Saturdays. If he is a success, all of us who overreacted on Tuesday, myself included, will owe Brad Bates and Addazio an apology. If not, well, it’s too disturbing to ponder.
In my gut, I do not think Addazio will crash and burn like Frank Spaziani. As a matter of fact, I do think Addazio is a better coach than his predecessor, but his predecessor destroyed a program that won back-to-back ACC Atlantic titles in only a few years, so it doesn’t take special talent to be better. But what is Addazio’s ceiling? Is it TOB-esque 7 or 8 wins a season or does he actually plan on getting us to the Orange Bowl? I know the media’s expectation of Boston College is the former, but does Addazio feel the same? Can Addazio turn us into a team that not only coasts to 6 wins and plays in fourth-rate bowl games, but strives to win its conference?
I don’t know, but we will find out. If you ask me, I do think Boston College will make bowl games under Addazio eventually, but how much higher than the Olive Garden Never-Ending Pasta Bowl in Tupelo every year? That is how we will ultimately measure his tenure. Your local and national media will be doing backflips for us if we win seven games a year and tell us it’s the best we can do, though our question over the next few years will be if that’s the best Addazio can do. One would hope his sights are set much higher, and that he can deliver on what I’m sure will be promises of a fully-restored football program.
The concerns of the fans are noted, and I’ve felt them, too. Regardless, he is the coach now, and he has my support. Not only do I wish him well and hope he succeeds, I hope he’s the best damn football coach Boston College has ever had. Our players deserve nothing less and after years of wanting a coach replaced, I want to be able to have Addazio’s back. Whether or not he does all that remains to be seen, but he has to hit the ground running.