Oct. 9, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Quotes from head coach Randy Edsall's and players in advance of Maryland's game at Virginia this Saturday.
Head Coach Randy Edsall
"It will be good to get back out there and practice this afternoon for Virginia and the guys are looking forward to it. We know we have a tough challenge going down to Charlottesville for the game on Saturday. We see a talented team in Virginia and we have to prepare well. I like how our guys are competing and how they are finishing, playing hard for 60 minutes and winning games in the fourth quarter. We've lost our games by a total of 13 points. That bodes well but we must continue - especially when we are playing all the young guys we are playing - to be patient and understand there are going to be mistakes. We have to go out to work today and rectify those mistakes on all three phases. That approach is what we are going to take this week and work to get a little better. We have a quarterback who is very tough and when you look at it, when we needed to make drives in our games in the fourth quarter, he's stood up tall. That's what you look for in a quarterback. There are things we have to approve upon with Perry (Hills) as well. When the time came in the games we have won, he's stood up and made those drives he's needed to make and I think that says a lot about our quarterback."
On what the running back corps needs to improve on:
"It's just a matter of getting better with guys and their footwork and hat placement and running backs making sure they're reading their keys correctly in terms of who we are reading whether it's a one technique or the three technique or a five technique. It's just that consistency part with everybody. We have to push on the line of scrimmage, we have to get movement, we have to sustain blocks and receivers need to get in sometimes and dig people out. Backs need to make the right read. I think when you take a look at the offensive line, we're going through some growing pains there with those guys playing together and meshing. Add to that the young guys who are still learning and those are things that take some time. We need to keep working at it and get better at it. We need to be able to run the football because I want to be a physical team."
On what makes Demetrius Hartsfield good and what he is like off the field:
"I think that the biggest thing with [Demetrius] is that he puts the time and effort into studying the game and watching film. He wants to be good, so he will do what he has to do physically and mentally to make himself better. Off the field, he's just a really quiet guy. He's a great guy to be around. Never gets too high, never gets too low, very steady. I see a big difference in him from last year in the knowledge and the confidence that he has been playing with. He understands the importance of practicing hard. Watching him practice, you can tell that he is very competitive and wants to win."
On which direction they're going in with the running backs:
"That's one thing that we are going to look at again this week. I have some ideas in mind about the direction we want to go in, but we have to see how the guys go about their business and how we practice."
On how much of an influence Bennett Fulper his on the line:
"We expect a lot out of him. He's an experienced guy that all of those guys on the line can look to. He's a guy that should be helping them out with the little adjustments. He really helps Mike out on the left side with the experience over there. He is a guy that who played center but we moved to guard because we felt he would be stronger there. He works hard in the weight room and is a smart guy. But again, he has to do a little bit more than everyone because he's like the shepherd looking over the flock."
On whether or not he'd like to play multiple running backs:
"I'd like to have it where we'd have three guys: two that would carry the bulk of it and maybe a third as a specialist for those certain situations that come up in the game. I think that we are getting closer to that and hopefully we'll have something like that worked out going into the game on Saturday."
On if he is looking at avenging last year's loss to Virginia:
"We have been able to avenge two; we were beat by Temple and Wake Forest last year but we beat both of them this year. We weren't able to do that with West Virginia. You have the past there to look at, but I just want our guys to go out, play hard and execute to the best of their ability. If we practice the right way, go out and compete for sixty minutes, and play hard every play, then we will give ourselves the opportunity to win at the end of the day. Every week we are just trying to get better at what we do. We are trying to minimize mistakes and improve fundamentally and with technique. We talk to the guys about certain things from past games, but ultimately, what has to happen is we have to go out and earn it during the week on the practice field. Then we will be able to put ourselves in a better position and beat those teams that we didn't beat a year ago."
On who they might see as QB for Virginia, and if there is anything different between Michael Rocco and Philip Sims:
"You really don't see anything different in terms of what they do offensively. You watch film and see what Rocco does in there and then what Sims does in there, and you don't notice much difference in their offense. They are pretty much the same type of guy. I've read some things the past week and they are expected to change some things up with their running or passing games, but again, I think that they have a bit of a dilemma. They've got two quarterbacks down there and how do you decide who plays because it might affect the outcome. You might have guys that are in the Rocco camp and some that are in the Sims camp. So they might have a bit of a controversy themselves in terms of playing time. We will make sure that we are ready to defend Virginia, regardless of who the quarterback is."
On what concern he has about Virginia:
"Offensively, they are going to run the football. They have good people there to run the ball. Perry Jones and Kevin Parks are two seasoned guys that run very hard and give them multiple looks from a personnel standpoint, especially with Darius Jennings who is their leading receiver. They have athletes that can make plays and they have a big offensive line. Two tackles are very good, and Morgan Moses is very good. They are rotating four guards in there. Because of the multiple personnel looks you have to be careful with what you do. Defensively, they are a team that is going to bring pressure and they are sound and solid up front. I have been impressed with Steve Greer, their middle linebacker. I have been watching him make a lot of tackles out there. They are going to play zones and bring pressures and they are going to bring both backers off the edge and bring coverage. You just have to be able to execute and if you do that you have a chance to stop them. And if you do that, you have a chance to put points on the board."
On how Joe Vellano has played:
"I think Joe is playing a lot better this year from a fundamental standpoint. He might not be making as many tackles as he did a year ago but he is playing better this year. Because of what Joe is doing, other guys are being freed up to make plays. I think the biggest difference between last year and this year is that he is a better fundamentalist and is using better technique this year. I think he has listened to Greg Gattuso, his position coach, and he is understanding how technique is a big factor in terms of how well you can play and how it make you a better player."
On the differences this year with the defense:
"Anytime you are successful, it is because, number one, everyone is buying into what you are doing and believes your philosophy and that everyone can do their job pretty well. The reason we are having the success that we are having is that our defensive coaches are preparing our players very well and the guys are really preparing themselves on the practice field and watching film and then taking all of the things the coaches are giving them so that when they go out on the practice field they are practicing that way. One of the things I talked to the team about after the game in the locker room is that defensively we are playing with a lot of confidence. We have some moxie. That is what we need to get on offense. We have to play with more confidence on offense. You get that by going out and practicing the right way. I think that is what the defense is doing; they are enjoying themselves and they are having fun. They are doing all of the things they are being asked to do and they are going out there and executing at a high level."
On if it is a major difference that this team is competing for 60 minutes:
"I don't like to look back, but we did not play for 60 minutes [last year]. When you have the chance the play the same teams this year that you played last year, you can watch some things on film and get a feel for the game. If you take a look at the game last year against Virginia, we went up 13-7, then it became a 14-13 game at halftime and I think we lost 31-13. To me, that is not finishing. That was one of the things we talked about during the offseason, and we need to learn how to finish and how to compete for those 60 minutes. So far, through our first five games this year, we have seen that. However, we have to do a whole lot more to elevate our level of play to our high standards on both sides of the ball."
On the rivalry with Virginia:
"In terms of Virginia, they have played us second most among teams that they have played. It is a built-in rivalry in the ACC because it is the one game we are going to play every year with someone from the other division. We are bordering states and we compete for the same kids in recruiting and a lot of the kids know each other. So, to me, it is a rivalry and it is one of those things where there is a bit more meaning to it. "
Senior offensive lineman Justin Gilbert
On the focus for this week's game:
"Same thing as every week, find our identity. Every week our biggest thing is we want to establish a run game and establish a passing game. We'll work this week. We have a bunch of great running backs to get those guys going and get the offensive line ready and what we are looking at front-wise and hopefully get a lot of yards on the ground."
On pass protection:
"The biggest thing is the blitz pickups...having young guys on the line and a young quarterback making `Mike' points. Each week we are getting better and better at that. I know last week we were a lot better at picking blitzes up and coach Locksley has put it on me and (Bennett) Fulper and Sal (Conaboy) to start calling the blitzes out and helping Perry out a bit to take another thing off his mind."
Freshman defensive back Anthony Nixon
On being high school teammates with Perry Hills:
"It's great. It's fun to know someone is here with me. He and I have a little connection even though now it's on the opposite side of the ball. I spent the night over at his house every night after the game and the next day he'd drive me to watch film. When he committed, I wanted to know someone when I came down here so I came down here with him."
Senior defensive lineman AJ Francis
On the Maryland/Virginia rivalry:
"There are a lot of kids who play on our team who are from Virginia and kids that play on their team from Maryland. When I was in high school, eight guys I played with or against went to Maryland or to Virginia. There are rivalries going back all the way to when we were 15, 16, and 17 years old. It's a pretty big game and you come here, the fans let you know it's a big game. You get here, you play the game and you understand why it's a big rivalry because they don't like us and we don't like them and that's just how it is."
On conveying the significance of the rivalry to the younger players:
"If you saw the YouTube video of us singing the fight song after the Wake Forest win, it cuts off when I'm about to say, "Alright, that's a good win but it's time to move on to Virginia." As soon as the Wake Forest game was over, the focus shifted to Virginia. It was the next game on the schedule and one of the biggest of the year."