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Addazio: 'We gotta do more [live tackling]'

Fresh off the field after a two-hour, full-padded, full-contact scrimmage, with blades of grass still stuck to his stout neck, Myles Willis said something sure to score points with his coaches.

“My sights are narrow on getting ready for the next week of camp. I know UMass is in the future, but right now I’m just thinking I know the things I need to work on and I’m ready to get back out there,” the sophomore BC running back said on Saturday. “I wish we were going at it again today. I wish we had a two-a-day, so I could get back in there and keep working hard.”

With a week’s worth of camp crossed off the calendar, it’s safe to say the Eagles were ready to see some game action -- even if it was only the first scrimmage of camp, and even if they might not all agree with Willis that Saturday should’ve included two sessions in the sun on Shea Field.

Steve Addazio, had he stuck around to hear his young running back speak, would’ve appreciated the sentiment.

“This is the takeaway I will give you: This team, this program, this year -- we gotta do more [live tackling],” Addazio said on Saturday. “I’m not gonna be able to get away with one or two shots of tackling. Not gonna happen. We’re too young.”

The plan, then, will include more sessions like Saturday’s. The Eagles will likely strap on the pads and play full speed again on Tuesday.

“We all know what the risks are going to be: I could limp into that first game with a bunch of injuries; it might happen,” Addazio said. “But you know what? Big picture? I gotta do it. So, my takeaway today is that we gotta do more of it, which I didn’t do last year.

“We’ve got to tackle. We’ve got to play the game -- the real game, with tackling, cutting, officials, penalties, coaches off the field because they have been driving the team and now all of a sudden no one is driving and you’re out there and you have no personality.”

The action on the field Saturday was a mixed bag. The defense clearly had the upper hand early, scooping up a couple of balls the offense put on the ground and standing up strong on goal-line drills. But the offense gained some momentum as the day went along, Tyler Murphy made a few nice throws and as a group Ryan Day’s charges left the field with a sense that they’d begun to jell a bit.

And while the outing confirmed Addazio’s beliefs going in -- that the defense would be ahead of the offense, that the team is young and needs game action badly and that there will be young mistakes aplenty, at least early on -- that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I kinda enjoy watching it happen. It’s good,” Addazio said of the slightly sloppy play. “[Because it means there’s] a lotta meat left on the bone. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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