Steve Addazio

And in that corner… The Boston College Eagles


It’s time for Boston College. No traditional opponent has done a better job playing the spoiler against Notre Dame than the Eagles. Whether you harken back to 1993 or prefer the turnover-plagued, green-jersey debacle of 2002, Boston College has been there to celebrate some of the most misery-filled moments in recent memory.

The Eagles walk in a woefully lopsided football team. They’re among the worst offenses in the country. They’re the opposite on defense, one of the best statistical units in the country.

In Steve Addazio’s third season in Boston, many hoped that the former Temple head coach and Urban Meyer’s old offensive lieutenant would be able to reboot the scoring attack. Instead, Addazio has coached college football’s version of a four-corners offense. Outside of the 100 points the Eagles scored in non-conference cupcake wins over Maine and Howard, Boston College hasn’t scored more than 17 points, doing that only twice.

Joining us to talk Boston College is the Eagle in Atlanta, Bill Maloney. With B.C. relegated to the role of spoiler amidst a really disappointing season, Bill took the time to talk about the state of the program and if he sees another shocking upset in the cards.


Last we chatted, I think we both knew the consensus was that 2015 was going to be a trying season. Just three wins later — even with a very good defense — that’s certainly been the case. It’s Year Three of the Steve Addazio era. How are you feeling about things?

Not good. My expectations were rather high for this year. I thought that with Addazio overachieving with someone else’s scraps and leftovers meant that as he got his own team, he would thrive. Injuries hurt the offense as well as youth, but I don’t feel like the season and many games were managed well.


Staying on the offensive side of the ball — what’s going on with the quarterback position? Who should the Irish expect to prepare for? And does it matter? We knew the departure of Tyler Murphy was going to hurt, but how tough has this been?

I think (freshman John) Fadule will get most of the snaps. Smith and possibly even Flutie could play if Fadule is disastrous. I think it matters in the sense that Fadule has shown the ability to pass the ball that the other two did not.

It has been tough, but also very frustrating. I don’t think Addazio nor his OC Todd Fitch adapted to any of their QBs skill sets.


Let’s flip to this defense. To me, it’s really impressive that the Eagles manage to be the No. 3 team in the country from a scoring perspective—especially with an offense that’s unable to protect them. It looks like Steve Daniels is having a monster season. Matt Milano as well. Harold Landry and Connor Wujciak are wreaking havoc in the trenches. Is there a weakness to this defense? And have they played an offense that’s been as explosive as the Irish?

The only emerging weakness are the DBs. Both starting DBs — who were awesome — are out for the year with injuries. The team that was most similar to ND’s offense was Clemson. They were able to challenge the DBs and make big plays downfield. BC needs to stop that this weekend.


Wake Forest laid a pretty nice blueprint against Notre Dame last weekend, keeping the football away from the Irish by dominating the time of possession. They couldn’t score in the red zone and gave up a Pick Six. Do you expect Addazio to devise a similar game plan?

That is Addazio’s plan regardless of the opponent. I think you will see more the same this weekend.


Is it safe to call this game the biggest one of the season? Postseason hopes are gone. A rival comes to town—to play a home game. There’s a great chance to wreck a very good Notre Dame season. Is that what it comes down to?

With nothing to play for, this game becomes huge. I think Addazio could use the goodwill that would come with a win and it will help legitimize his “rebuilding” narrative.


You’ve been writing about Boston College football for a long time. I was thinking back to the decision to fire Jeff Jagodzinski after he interviewed for an NFL job. It got me thinking about the chaotic decade Boston College football has had. The move to the ACC. The changes since Jags. Not just at the head coaching position, but at AD as well, with Brad Bates taking over in 2012. What’s your take on the state of BC football and maybe through a wider lens, the athletic department in general?

A lot of that chaos was a result of our former AD. Brad Bates is more mild-mannered and deliberate, so there has been less chaos, ruffled feathers and controversy. Both his big coaching hires are still in the too early to tell stage, so everything seems fine.


Last one (I promise): BC doesn’t need to be a great team to beat Notre Dame. What’s your confidence on the Eagles—wearing 1984 throwbacks while the Irish wear green—pulling off the upset?

It could happen, but I don’t have a lot of hope.

Irish offense ready for another stout defense


A week after being held to their lowest yardage total of the season, Notre Dame travels to Boston to take on the nation’s best statistical defense. Yes, Boston College is a three-win team. But that’s courtesy of an imploded depth chart at quarterback and an offense that makes anemic sound like a compliment.

But the Eagles play defense. Stout, tough, aggressive defense. Giving up just 236 yards per game and under four yards a play, Boston College is giving up a relatively insane 2.1 yards per carry and just five rushing scores on the season, both numbers the best in the country.

The Irish will welcome C.J. Prosise back after missing last weekend. But after freshman Josh Adams was held to gains of less than two yards on 10 of his 17 carries last weekend, Prosise will have a major challenge as he looks to cross the 1,000 yard mark on the season this weekend.

Brian Kelly knows about the challenge the Eagles present. This is Notre Dame’s seventh Top 40 defense they’ll face this season and likely the best of the group. Boston College defensive coordinator Donnie Brown has built another dominant group, doing it behind productive players like Steven Daniels, Harold Landry and Matt Milano—largely anonymous to Irish fans until they’re wreaking havoc in Notre Dame’s backfield.

On Tuesday, Kelly talked about Notre Dame’s struggles against a good Wake Forest defense (a group that managed to beat the Eagles 3-0). And if you think the Irish looked at that game tape and immediately wanted to get into a rugged ground war this weekend, you obviously haven’t been following Brian Kelly for that long.

“I would say that we just have to be probably a little more aggressive. I thought we were a little conservative at times,” Kelly said, when asked about the offensive struggles last weekend. “Probably a little more aggressive in the areas where we’ve been pushing the ball vertically. So we’ll get back to being more aggressive offensively.”

That vertical passing game will have chances against a Boston College secondary that’s a bit beaten up. Cornerback Kamrin Moore is done for the year. True freshman Taj-Amir Torres will likely start, with corner Isaac Yiadom banged up as well.

That leaves the Irish hoping to find ways to get yardage in chunks, even if that’s been hard to do against the Eagles.

“I don’t think you can make a living with this team or win or score enough points just trying to stack three-yard runs against them. It’s going to be a long day,” Kelly said. “They would hope that that’s the way you kind of play the game. We’ve got to try to find explosive plays.”

Notre Dame remains No. 4 in CFB Playoff rankings

Bill Hancock

Notre Dame remains ranked No. 4 in the College Football Playoff race, surviving a week where pundits expected two surging Big 12 teams to close the gap. Yet the Irish’s 21-point victory over Wake Forest—not to mention their body of work for the season—kept them comfortably above a narrowing pack behind the lead group.

The biggest win of the week belonged to No. 7 Oklahoma, who beat Baylor last weekend, the Bears falling from No. 6 down to No. 11. Stanford was the other big loser of the weekend, dropping from No. 7 to No. 11—now needing what might be divine intervention (not to mention a win over Notre Dame) to find its way into the final four. The Pac 12’s chances also went up in smoke when Utah lost to Arizona.

While Temple was bumped out of the Top 25 after getting beat by USF, Notre Dame’s victory over Navy looks better each week. The Midshipmen are up to No. 16, courtesy of an impressive strength of schedule and a lone loss to the Irish. Oregon’s victory allows the Big Ten to claim a non-conference Top 25 victory as a collective conference, No. 9 Michigan State’s best win of the season.

While the Irish will take on a three-win Boston College team, other Top 10 opponents play significant games this weekend. No. 1 Clemson gets their chance at Wake Forest. No. 2 Alabama is playing through a virtual bye week, a game against Charleston Southern essentially a scrimmage before the Iron Bowl. No. 3 Ohio State faces a real challenge, taking on No. 9 Michigan State in Columbus before heading to Ann Arbor next weekend.

Oklahoma, the week’s big winner, has another test with TCU set for primetime in Norman. That’s a week before traveling to Stillwater to take on No. 6 Oklahoma State, essentially a conference championship game—and the Big 12 hopeful a playoff game at the same time.


Fenway Park is ready for the Shamrock Series

Shamrock Series

Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series has done a lot of great things. But none may be greater than bringing the Irish football team to Fenway Park.

Since beginning the Shamrock Series in 2009, Notre Dame’s annual neutral site home game has served as a barnstorming tour of sorts, inspired by the days of Knute Rockne. And while we’ve seen some great locales—playing the first college football game in new Yankee Stadium, the same in the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, it’ll be tough to top the transformation of baseball’s most iconic stadium.

Here are some photos that have been swirling across the internet in the past few days. They’re all pretty exciting.

Heading to Boston to take on Steve Addazio’s Boston College Eagles, the Irish will be a home team in enemy territory. That’ll likely be drilled into the Eagles’ head, a three-win team that should see this as an opportunity to (once again) ruin a special Notre Dame season.

Notre Dame is wearing green, unafraid of any of the history that comes with that color choice against BC. The Eagles will throwback to 1984, a tip of the cap to NBC announcer and former Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, who’ll be in the booth on NBCSN on Saturday night.

Notre Dame looks to win their tenth game of the season against one of the nation’s best defenses, their first time to that win total since the 2012 season, and just the third time in the last decade.

Irish get commitment from 2016 RB Deon McIntosh

Deon McIntosh
Property of Sun-Sentinel

Notre Dame’s 2016 recruiting class continues to grow. On Monday, Florida running back Deon McIntosh committed to the Irish. The 5-10, 175-pounder chose Notre Dame over offers from Miami, North Carolina, Tennessee, Penn State and many others.

A speed player who rates as a three-star prospect, McIntosh is the perfect complement to fellow Floridian and running back commitment Tony Jones. He also could play in the slot as a receiver, the type of skill and speed talent that can help restock the Irish depth chart at either running back when C.J. Prosise and Tarean Folston depart or slot receiver, where Amir Carlisle exits at season end.

McIntosh took to Twitter to make the announcement official:

With a big on-campus recruiting weekend for Senior Day and a class that looks closer and closer to filling up, McIntosh talked about the decision-making process that went into pulling the trigger now.

“The great tradition they have in football and being a good school in academics,” McIntosh told Irish247’s Tom Loy. “My parents are happy. I’m happy. I’m ready to be in a gold helmet.”

McIntosh has long been on the Irish recruiting board and took a visit to South Bend for the USC game. He was recruited by running backs coach Autry Denson, who went into the Fort Lauderdale area and pulled out one of the smoother all-purpose backs in a talent-rich area. He’s the 18th commitment in a 2016 class that has the chance to close very strong.

Here’s a look at McIntosh’s junior highlight tape.