Spenser Rositano, a soon-to-be junior defensive back on the Boston College football team, noticed something had changed on cue with spring practice beginning this year. The two stereos always blaring pump-up tunes in the football locker room were gone, leaving chatter between teammates the only noise in a room usually full of music.
It was a slight change in the eyes of many, but a much more meaningful adjustment for Rositano.
“We use to have two stereos on opposite sides of the locker room. Two different songs would always be playing; it was divided in a sense,” he said, “This year, both of the stereos are never used."
Things have changed in the locker room, and as a result, the team has become a more close-knit bunch.
“Everyone talks to each other now, no matter what year or position. That is just one of many different things this new coaching staff is doing to make us closer—make us a family,” Rositano said.
Becoming a more cohesive unit is one facet of team culture that Rositano knows has improved, bettered by every off-the-field occasions and meetings set up by head coach Steve Addazio or his defensive coordinator, Don Brown.
“We really come together when DB units or linebacker units or even the entire defense goes out to dinner,” said Rositano, “There is even a different vibe when we have team meetings.”
Although the mood off the field is carefree, things are very different on the football field. When the Eagles take the field for practice at Alumni, Addazio drills the concepts of intensity, execution and toughness into the minds of every player.
“We have a great ‘family environment,’ but when its time to change moods, guys really go at it in practice,” said Rositano, who had a career-high three interceptions for the Eagles last season.
They really need to "go at it" in practice, too. Addazio does not take under-performance or slacking off lightly, forming a military-grade system of discipline.
If anyone does not do their job to the fullest, there are always the inevitable up-downs that ensue.
"Coach really gets us going in the right direction," he said, "I remember, the first day of Spring practice, everyone showed up wearing different athletic gear. That changed pretty soon." Addazio wanted uniformity, so uniforms for non-contact Spring ball were soon ordered.
A rough-and-tough, intense man, Addazio knows what it will take to make BC competitive once more. His philosophy, complemented with defensive coordinator Don Brown’s aggressive schemes, leads one to believe something very special is brewing on the Heights—far different than last year’s defensive struggles.
Rositano noted that coaches are much more approachable and engaging, too.
“They always ask about our personal lives, how our family is doing—just the little things that make you feel closer," he said.
On the practice field the same sense of approachability exists. Whenever a mistake is made, Addazio flashes his uncanny ability to teach. Analytic in his critique and forceful in tone, he commands the utmost loyalty from his athletes, and he gets it.
“It is so different from last year in that the coaches bring so much energy,” he said, “If you make a mistake, it gets corrected right away. “
With the new coaching staff instilling so much enthusiasm and confidence into the program, it seems that BC football is not too far away from retaining its glory days--the Matt Ryan era which seems so distant after only winning two games last year, yet surprisingly close with the arrival of Addazio and his gritty, determined attitude.
Rositano, who aspires to be in the NFL one day, does not take any of it for granted, either. He knows that Addazio breeds NFL talent.
“Getting to the NFL is definitely a dream I have, but I am not focused on that now.”
When asked what he instead had his eyes on, he quickly replied, “August 31, Villanova.”
Photo Credit: Danny Wild/Flickr
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