In his first 22 seasons as a Division I football coach, all at schools east of the Mississippi, Steve Addazio never found his way onto the sidelines of Scott Stadium.
He has been to Charlottesville, though.
“I have, actually,” said Addazio, the head coach at Boston College, which visits Virginia on Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff. “My daughter, when she was looking at college, we went to Charlottesville.
“We stopped on the campus, which was beautiful. We went and saw the stadium as a parent.”
At the time, Addazio was an assistant at Florida, where he spent six seasons, the last four as offensive coordinator.
As for his daughter, Addazio said she settled on Florida.
“It was actually BC, UVa and UF,” he reported earlier this week. “Thank God, Florida [as an in-state school] was a little more cost-effective.”
So, Addazio doesn’t have much feel for the game day atmosphere at Scott Stadium but he has some help in that aspect.
“I am getting the lay of the land from Jim Reid,” he said.
Reid, who is in his second stint as BC’s defensive coordinator, held that position at Virginia from 2010-12.
Reid also was the head coach at two programs in Virginia, Richmond and VMI.
As the defensive coordinator at Virginia in 2010, Reid was on the losing end of a 17-13 final with the Eagles in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
Boston College has won all five of the previous meetings between the teams and the Eagles (3-4, 1-3 ACC) come into Saturday’s game on a roll, having upset host Louisville 45-42 one week ago.
The Eagles put up a whopping 555 yards in total offense, including 364 on the ground, with 6-foot, 240-pound freshman Algiers Jameal William Dillon leading the way. Dillon, who goes by A.J., carried 39 times for 272 yards and four touchdowns.
Dillon, grandson of the first African-American football captain at Notre Dame, actually was committed to Michigan before decommitting last December, indicating at the time that BC offered an opportunity to play earlier and more often.
One week before BC’s game at Louisville, Dillon had carried 10 times for 35 yards against Virginia Tech. His only 100-yard rushing day in the first half of the season was when he carried 25 times for 120 yards in a 28-8 victory over visiting Central Michigan.
However, Dillon clearly has the attention of a Virginia defense that gave up a season-high 211 yards on the ground last week, including runs of 56 and 47 yards by North Carolina freshman Michael Carter in a 20-14 victory at UNC.
Virginia (5-1, 2-0 ACC) ranks 53rd out of 129 FBS teams in rushing defense, with a yield of 143 yards per game. They Cavaliers are 18th in total defense, allowing 312.8 yards per game, down from 446.6 during a 2-10 season in 2016.
“I would put it in the good — not great — range,” said UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall when asked about the Cavaliers’ run defense earlier in the week. “I thought we made some pretty significant strides and were playing well until the two runs against North Carolina.”
UVa remains unbeaten on the road this season at 2-0, with its only loss coming at Scott Stadium, where Indiana defeated the Cavaliers 34-17 before a crowd listed at 38,993.
The Cavaliers have had two crowds of 40,000 or more at Scott Stadium, with a listed capacity of 61,500, in Mendenhall’s two seasons as head coach. While homecoming this weekend will help with attendance Saturday, there also could be a bump in ticket sales due to heightened interest as well.
“I think, right now, there’s intrigue on the fans’ part,” Mendenhall said. “There’s the excitement of, ‘Is this real, what does this look like and can this be?’ We would welcome that support but, again, our guiding principle is to earn that support.”
Off to its best start since UVa’s 2007-08 Gator Bowl team was 7-1, favored Virginia would become bowl-eligible if it beats Boston College.
“It was interesting,” said UVa tackling machine Micah Kiser, who figures to go face to face with Dillon. “We go to UNC, we play a 1-5 UNC team and it was pretty packed overall. We’re 5-1, we have a chance to go bowling [and] this week is homecoming.
“Hopefully, we get close to capacity but, hey, the loyal fans who have been there mean the world to us. Half a season of success doesn’t really do away with five consecutive seasons of losing. We have to earn the right for them to come.”