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Addazio: National title possible at BC

NEWTON, Mass. -- In his sometimes-thunderous introduction to the Boston College community, new head football coach Steve Addazio said all the things you would expect.

He's dreamed of being in this position all his life, he said. There's no place like BC, no place like Chestnut Hill on a football Saturday in the fall.

Addazio declared that he's here for the long haul, which had to be reassuring to Eagles fans with memories long enough to remember back past the Frank Spaziani era to Jeff Jagodzinski and the chaos that has ensued since the latter left after just two seasons to pursue bigger ambitions.

When questioned after his opening remarks about just what the long haul means to him, Addazio left no wiggle room.

"I want to be here and finish my career here," he said. "This is where I want to be. I have a home up in Cape Cod. I'm in New England. I'm at the most wonderful place I could possibly be at. I couldn't be more clear about that."

The big man paused, then turned a bit where he stood and went on.

"You can ask that lady in the red jacket right there," he said, gesturing to his wife, Kathy, seated in the front row.

"It's not red," she replied, drawing laughs from the room.

"In that maroon jacket right there," Addazio said, correcting himself as the laughter continued.

When the room quieted down again, the line of questioning shifted to something else Addazio had said in his remarks. Something you might not have expected, knowing the situation at the Heights at the moment: that you can win a national championship at Boston College.

"I think that any time you're at an institution like this," he said, "which has great tradition, has a beautiful campus, has a great education, in a city like we're in, in the city of Boston -- you can recruit, you can build, you can compete and you can win a national championship.

"It's been done. It's been done at a lot of places. That's the job, that's the mission, that's what we strive for. I've been in a couple of those. I've been there when that confetti comes down, and the feeling and elation and all the hard work that goes into it. There's absolutely no reason why that can't be accomplished at Boston College."

Heady words, indeed, especially coming as they do on the heels of a 2-10 season (which followed a 4-8 season, which … you get the point).

When he was pressed further, in one-on-one interviews, Addazio clarified. He isn't saying the Eagles will win a national championship, he's saying he believes it's possible they can.

"Can you? Absolutely you can," he said. "And I'm not coming in here as some bragging coach, 'Oh, yeah, we're gonna go win the national championship.' That's just not my style."

The task at hand, Addazio knows, starts with simpler ambitions.

"Where are we right now as we stand here?" he asked in his remarks. "We're currently not playing in a bowl game. We're disappointed. We're hungry.

"I talked to the team earlier before we came in here. I said to the team, 'As you sit in that chair I hope there's a disappointment. I hope it hurts. I hope there's a hunger. I hope there's a drive. I hope that you understand that you came to Boston College to win championships. I hope that fuels as we start this offseason workout program. Because we're all striving for success, and we're all competitors.'"

Linebacker Steele Divitto said part of the new coach's message to the players was, "Trust in me and I'll trust in you."

Addazio didn't just set out some lofty goals and leave it at that. He told the Eagles what he believes they'll need to do to achieve them.

"How are we going to get there?" he asked. "With a great offseason, by pushing each other, by pain and sacrifice, by strong will, a tough spring and a great summer, leadership by our seniors and a foxhole mentality. That's my job. We're going to have the toughest offseason we've ever had with winter conditioning and spring football because by pain and sacrifice you build bonds.

"And we're going to build a great chemistry, and we're going to feed off that hunger that's in everybody's belly and that disappointment. We're going to drive. That's what we're going to do. That's going to happen -- step by step."

It's clear the new coach has a vision for the program he wants to build at Boston College, and if Wednesday was any indication he should be able to communicate that vision well.

Where exactly that vision will lead, remains to be seen. But it sure had to sound good to Eagles fans.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.