BOSTON (AP) — Seven wins hasn't been enough to get Boston College coach Steve Addazio any job security.
At least he's used to it.
The Eagles won seven games last season for the third straight season, and the fifth time in Addazio's six years in Chestnut Hill. After some discussion about whether he would hold on to his job, the high-energy coach received a two-year extension and another chance to try to lift the program from among those barely achieving bowl eligibility into the upper echelon of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"We all know how hard this conference is, on the side we're on, so we can figure out what that means moving towards winning a championship," Addazio said at the team's media day. "So once you get bowl eligible at six (wins), the rest of it kind of speaks for itself. If you want to contend for a championship, (and) where that's going to be."
Boston College was coming off — yes — a seven-win season last fall when it opened with three straight victories to climb into The Associated Press rankings for the first time in Addazio's tenure. They were 7-2, ranked as high as No. 17 and had a chance to earn a spot in the conference title game when they played Clemson on Nov. 10 on national television.
The eventual national champions won 27-7, sending BC into a three-game tailspin that landed it in the First Responder Bowl. (It was canceled because of bad weather.) Then, the Eagles had four players drafted, including guard Chris Lindstrom, who went 14th overall to Atlanta. A handful more are in NFL camps as undrafted free agents.
But among those returning are running back AJ Dillon, last year's ACC preseason player of the year, and quarterback Anthony Brown, both juniors. Addazio said the program that has had 16 offensive linemen drafted in the past decade is going to be even better up front than last year.
"We lost a couple of really good players," Addazio said, noting that tackle Aaron Monteiro has caught on with the Dolphins. "But we're going to be seven or eight deep up front, and we're super talented. I'll make this statement right now that you'll see down the road we'll have five or six of those guys will be NFL players."
Here are some other things to look for in Chestnut Hill this season:
After a freshman year during which he ran for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns, running back AJ Dillon missed about a month with a left ankle injury last year, and wasn't the same dominating force (1,108 yards, 10 TDs). Dillon is healthy now, and that could be a problem for opposing defenses.
"I do think there's a hunger there to succeed," offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian said, "And that's evident in his work ethic."
Dillon carried the ball 300 times as a freshman, and only 227 in 10 games last year. Addazio said he thinks David Bailey, another 200-pounder, can take some of the pressure off the No. 1 back, as can tailbacks Travis Levy and Ben Glines.
"If he (AJ) is healthy, he's going to carry a huge load. That's what great tailbacks do, but we will be conscious and pick and choose," Addazio said. "We have more than one home run hitter in the backfield."
The Eagles have new coordinators on both offense and defense this season.
Bajakian, who will also serve as quarterbacks coach, is taking over from Scot Loeffler, who is the new head coach at Bowling Green. Bajakian spent the previous four seasons as QB coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the last three as a mentor to Jameis Winston. He had previously worked as offensive coordinator at Tennessee.
Bill Sheridan will be the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, taking over from Jim Reid, who remains on the staff as the defensive ends coach. Sheridan had been an assistant coach and DC for four NFL teams, most recently with the Detroit Lions.
After opening last season against UMass and Holy Cross, the Eagles get right into the ACC schedule with Virginia Tech on Aug. 31 on the new ACC Network.
"We're playing an elite team in our conference on opening day here," Addazio said. "It doesn't get a whole lot better than that. So there's a sense of urgency about our preseason camp realizing how much of a short time it is before we get started."
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