Boston College quarterback Darius Wade is preparing for his first year as a starter with the Eagles. I had a chance to catch up with him to ask how he has embraced his new role, and what he is doing to prepare for a big season.
How have you taken on your new leadership role as the starting quarterback this offseason?
Wade: It’s definitely been an adjustment. Heading into spring, it was very different from being the young high school freshman that no one expected anything of and to now have the pressure and weight on your shoulders to step up and be the guy. It was added pressure, a lot more eyes on me this spring, coaches paid more attention to anything good and bad I did. Coming out of spring and going into summer, now is the time you as a team develop and gain your chemistry going into the season, so it’s been a challenge to try and step up to that leadership role and continue to get these guys behind me and move things forward.
You mentioned the pressure in the spring. How did you handle that?
Wade: It made me want to step up to the plate even more. I know it’s real. When I make those mistakes, if I don’t correct those now, those could happen in a game. It’s not you made a bad play in practice, it’s you could have cost the team the game. I came out of spring a lot more confident, with a lot more knowledge football-wise and a lot more chemistry with my teammates.
Coach Steve Addazio has mentioned your passing abilities. How will you help Boston College open up the offense?
Wade: I definitely pride myself in being able to throw. As a quarterback, that’s why you signed up for the position. I want to play off my strong suits. I have the ability to run, but I really want to just be able to spread out the field with my arm and make all the plays the coaches are asking of me. Having a lot of young receivers and a lot of young skill-position players, last year taking reps with the first and second team, I am still throwing to these guys. I’ve already established some chemistry with these guys, so it’s been an easy transition to keep working with them. They’re used to catching my passes, they know how to run routes. I feel good going into the summer.
Not only are you young, but your offensive line will be young, too. How do you think the offense has developed in the offseason?
Wade: Overall as a team, we’ve been developing very well. The offense is going to find ways to improve. We have a lot of young players, which isn’t an excuse. We’re young, so all of us are working hard to push ourselves and trying to get to that next level. Not that many of us have that live game experience. We’re trying to be in film room, especially me, to be ready for game-speed tempo.
What have you worked on to prepare yourself to start?
Wade: Not having played, everything is going to be new, so I’ll have my first away game I’m starting, my first home game I’m starting. I’m learning how to be an ACC starting quarterback, whether it’s how I carry myself on the field, off the field, in class. I’m learning how to be a professional at this level because I know if I do that, once the season comes, you have the pressures of wins and losses. I’ll be able to handle it. I won’t get rattled or flustered. I will stay poised and make the plays asked of me to help this team win games.
What appealed to you about playing for coach Addazio?
Wade: Coming out of high school, I always a good kid academically. I knew BC was the best academic school in a great conference. I saw the depth chart and where I could make an impact early. It was my best option to excel as a quarterback, as a football player and as a man in general. I was aware of coach Addazio’s offense when he was at Temple. My dad works in Philly, so I’ve been to plenty of Temple games before and was able to see it first hand with him as a head coach. I liked the passion he brought, and the intensity that he wanted all his players to play with and his toughness. I never saw myself as that pretty boy quarterback. I always see myself as a gritty kind of guy. That was someone he had in Tim Tebow, a great leader, fierce competitor, a gritty tough guy. That’s who I want to be like, so I felt he could bring that out of me and help me get to that level.