Terps Usher in 2013 Season with Media Day

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After arriving on campus Sunday afternoon, the Maryland football team held its annual media day on Monday prior to its first practice this evening.

The Terps, who have 29 workouts scheduled prior to the season opener against Florida International on Aug. 31 at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, spent the morning posing for team photos and meeting with members of the media to discuss the upcoming season.

After taking team photos to being the morning, head coach Randy Edsall held a press conference with reporters at 11 a.m., followed by media availability with the players including C.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, Cole Farrand, Jeremiah Johnson, Dexter McDougle, Matt Robinson and Brandon Ross.

In addition to the general media availability, Edsall, Brown, Diggs, Farrand, Johnson and Ross sat down for one-on-one interviews with the “Voice of the Terrapins” Johnny Holliday.

Quotes from Edsall, offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, defensive coordinator Brian Stewart and student-athletes follow.

Head Coach Randy Edsall

Opening Statement:
“I am glad to see everybody here. I am really anxious to get started later this evening to kick off the 2013 season.  The guys came back in good shape. I thought we had a very productive summer in all aspects. We should be in good shape as we head out to practice today.

“We are good on the injury front. There are a couple guys that will be limited as we start practice, but they should be good here in the next couple days. I am looking forward to it.”

On Brandon Ross’ improvement:
“I think the big thing with Brandon is that he’s just more experienced now. He’s got playing time under his belt. He understands the offense better, knows blocking schemes better. I think it’s the experience that he gained from a year ago and the added strength that he has through training that’s going to help him tremendously as we go into this year.”

On the competition between Brandon Ross and Albert Reid
“Both of those guys, we have a tremendous amount of confidence in. They did a lot of work. You love Albert. Albert works his tail off, does everything that you ask him to do, tremendous competitor, tremendous pride, great leadership. It’ll be interesting to watch those guys out there competing against each other and pushing each other.”

On Stefon Diggs’ improvement:
“Stefon is a special athlete. He has tremendous abilities and talent. The thing that separates him is that he’s a tremendous competitor. He’s a worker. He thinks that every time he touches the ball, he can take it the distance. The thing that I’ve seen out of Stefon is that he wants to get better with all the little things about playing the position. From a special teams standpoint, he’s got the ability to make plays any time he touches the ball, and he just needs to do a better job making decisions as a punt returner… He’s gotten bigger and stronger.”

On Stefon Diggs’ leadership role:
“We put him into a leadership position this summer and it’s something that he’s really embraced. I don’t think he’s ever been in that position before. That’s kind of the next step for him, because you never worry about what he’s going to do on the field, but now I think those leadership things are going to take him to another level.”

On being the last year in the ACC:
“We’re in the ACC this year and it’s the schedule we have to play. Our focus and our attention isn’t anything different than what it would have been from the two previous years. Our goal is to win our division, get to Charlotte and get to a BCS game. We’re not focused on anything other than trying to prepare ourselves to give us the best opportunity to win. Anything that we do outside of that is a distraction and doesn’t put us in a position to attain the goals we want to attain as a team. I don’t worry about how other people are going to react. The fans are going to boo you regardless when you go on the road. That’s only natural. As far as anything else goes, we’re focused on playing to the best of our abilities. We have a chance to be a very good football team.

On the freshmen:
“I’m anxious to see the incoming guys. It’s going to be how quickly do they learn, how quickly can they process and execute all of the things they’re going to have thrown at them in a short period of time. There’s a group of probably 10 of them we’re going to take a long hard look at to see if any of them can make an impact from a special teams stand point this year, and then if they can do that, are there some special situations offensively or defensively that they could fulfill a role in that regard.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley

On where C.J. Brown has made strides:
“I think obviously the mechanics and the things we have focused on from the time I got here. It’s just the fundamentals and mechanics of football.”

On Stefon Diggs last season:
“He was able to handle the pressure that comes with so much fanfare and was able to live up to those expectations somewhat. Obviously, we didn’t win a bunch of games so the individual part gets kind of lost. I was really impressed with the way he competed every game.”

On challenges facing the offensive line:
“I think the big thing is being in the same system two years in a row. Obviously, throwing some young players into the fire last year, those guys are going to be better. They did the things in the offseason to get stronger, bigger, and that’s the one position you don’t like to play young guys because you just can’t match up with the physical-ness that happens in the trenches.”

Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart

On Zeke Riser:
“The fact that he graduated already and still wants to play and then chose a place to play where he’s familiar, it tells you a little about his personality there.”

On Dexter McDougle’s progress:
“I think the best way to see it is what Dex has started to do this spring is make sure he’s always ready to go. I think that he’s a great talent, has good hands, and is a good blitzer. I thought his focus wasn’t always there and I thought this spring he did a good job focusing. If he keeps that focus, he’s going to be a pretty good corner.”

Senior Quarterback C.J. Brown

On reflecting on the 2012 season:
“It was good to be able to step back from the game and kind of see things from a different angle, a different perspective, and have a better appreciation for the game as well as developing more knowledge of the offense.”

On being fully healthy:
“I’m excited. I’m really excited to be back here with the guys and just to get back on the field to compete and do what I came here to do, play football.”

On expectations for Stefon Diggs:
“Sky is the limit. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s still young. He’s trying to perfect his craft. He’s one of those guys where you throw him a six-yard hitch and he can take it 80.”

Sophomore Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs

On last year:
“I didn’t put my team in the best position to win. I feel like I helped them, but we didn’t win games so I didn’t really help that much. It’s all about winning. People want to see you win. This year, we have no choice, we’re going to win.”

On summer workout:
“I’ve been lifting a lot; basically, just training with my quarterbacks Ricardo Young, C.J. Brown, and my receivers, just training a lot. Really just trying to get bigger and get ready for training camp.”

On working with C.J. Brown:
“I’m looking forward to it a lot. He’s back in full speed. He’s not in treatment anymore. We’re real versatile on offense.”

Junior Linebacker Cole Farrand

On stepping up after losing starters in the front seven:
“We’re going to be as good as last year if not better. A lot of people say we lost a lot of starters, but they’ve learned from last year and learned from the guys before them. I think L.A. Goree is an upcoming star. He’ll do great this season. I have high hopes from Quinton Jefferson and Darius Kilgo. They’re both great defensive linemen. We’ve got Andre Monroe and Keith Bowers. I think we’ll have a solid defense.”

On Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil:
“He’s definitely a sight on the football field. He looks like a big monster out there. He’s huge. He can get it done all around the field.”

On how the leadership council has affected the team:
“The attitude of the team has definitely changed. People are holding each other accountable. It’s benefiting the whole team.”

Senior Defensive Back Dexter McDougle

On the advantage of having continuity on the coaching staff:
“Seeing a new system every year is kind of hard. When you’re under one system for a year you learn and understand what’s going on more. We’re all on the same page. There’s a lot of excitement.”

On what makes the defense successful:
“It’s accountability and knowing that your brothers are out there. He is working for you and you want to do the best for him. If you do that, plays are going to be made.”

On head coach Randy Edsall:
“You want to have everyone on the same page. If not, the chemistry is going to be down. Everyone’s ready to play this season. We believe in coach Edsall, we believe in what he wants from us, and we know that it’s proven to work.”

Junior Linebacker Matt Robinson

On the position change:
“I am moving from strong safety to outside linebacker.  I am pretty familiar with it because I have been playing behind it for the last two years.  I just had to get a little bigger and get used to playing in the box.  That is going to be a little bit of an adjustment.  I have blitzed in the past and feel like I will not have too much trouble adjusting to it.” 

On this team’s defense replicating last year’s standard:
“I think we have always had a great defensive program. Defense is something we look forward to. That has always been our strong suit. Defense has pretty much carried us the last couple years. I think we have always wanted to continue that and be a dominant defense. That is how our mentality has always been. We are a great defense.”

On preseason expectations:
“I want to make myself a better player. I am moving to a new position so I am trying to get accustomed to that. I think once I put the pads on I will start getting use to the physicality as a linebacker. I am trying to make some plays and hoping I get a feel for things.” 

On all the team’s injuries last season:
“It was just a fluke that happened. We have to look forward to this year with everyone back. We are looking forward to having a great season and hopefully winning an ACC championship.” 

On defensive keys this season:
“Running to the ball and pursuit. Coach always talks about ball disruption. Getting turnovers is going to be a key for us. We need to get the offense the ball as much as possible and stop the run. Our main objective is to stop the run.”

On being excited to be back from summer:
“I think everyone was tired of the summer workouts. Everyone wants to get back to play football and be together. We are a close knit group.”

On being healthy:
“It feels great staying healthy. I feel great and look forward to helping contribute to this team. I hope I can continue to stay healthy.”