Oct. 2, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Quotes from head coach Randy Edsall and players from Tuesday's press conference in advance of Saturday's home game vs. Wake Forest.
Head coach Randy Edsall
"Well it's good to be going again this week after having a bye week. We were able to work on some things that we needed to do. Offensively we worked on things such as ball security and third-down situations. Defensively, trying to make sure we are doing our job playing coverages and getting back to where we can create more turnovers. We could also improve our tackling and our third downs defensively.
"It was good to get the week off and work on those things and get better. It also gave us a chance to get a little healthier for this week. Right now the only guys that are ruled out for this week are C.J. [Brown], Andre Monroe, and Nick Ferrara, so we will see how everyone else practices this week and see where they are by the end of the day on Thursday.
"We have Wake Forest coming here, offensively led by Tanner Price who is a very good quarterback. It is unfortunate for them that Mike Campanaro won't be playing. He is their leading receiver and he is a young man from here, who went to high school in Maryland. He is a good football player who was having an excellent start to the season. He will be replaced by Terence Davis. Josh Harris, their running back, is very good. Defensively, they play a `50' front, so we will see some of the same pressures we have seen. [They have a] very active defense and also a defense that is led by their linebacking corps. We have to have a great week of preparation and work really hard to get better and that is what we plan to do starting today."
On what led to his decision to make Andrew Zeller and Mike Madaras starters on the offensive line:
"It is stuff that you see in practice and you see in games. Just by taking a look at some of the things that transpired in the games and in practice this past week, I felt that this was the best move for us, as a team, to be the best that we can be. This was a move precipitated based on what I saw out of Andrew and Mike, and I thought it gave us the best opportunity to be better."
On playing two freshmen in Zeller and Madaras:
"They are only going to get better. If you take a look at them, one is a true freshman and one is a redshirt freshman. But, they are athletic, they play with a physical toughness, and they are guys who play to the whistle. They will get downfield and make blocks and do the things that I expect out of an offensive lineman."
On what positives he can take out of the loss to West Virginia:
"Every game you take good things from it and you discuss that with your team and continue to improve in that area. I think the biggest thing is that we are competing. We are competing hard for 60 minutes, and we are getting good effort. One thing we have to go back and work on is that we have to capitalize on our possessions, especially when we get in to the plus side of the territory. One of the things we have to do defensively is we cannot get down on the big plays given up. If we do that we can make ourselves better and that is part of the things we have to do on a weekly basis to get better. We cannot keep turning the ball over offensively and we have to minimize those big throws on defense and we have to create those turnovers. We have not created enough turnovers defensively in the past couple of games."
On getting Stefon Diggs more involved offensively:
"That always depends on who you are playing but we want to try to get all of our guys involved that give us a chance. Stefon is a guy who has the ability to make plays and, again, he is just a true freshman so we want to bring him along at a pace that is good for him and good for our team to make sure that we do not overload him to the point where he cannot be as productive as his abilities would allow. There are things that we have looked at to try to get him a little bit more involved. He has been involved, but we are extremely fortunate that we have some other guys on our team that can make things happen as well."
On Diggs' maturity level:
"That has been one of the most impressive things about Stefon, with regards to how he has handled himself and how he has been a leader on and off the field. You have to be there to really see it. When we are on the sideline and the offense is not on the field, he is cheerleading, He gets the idea that you do anything you can on a given play and when that play is over, just let it go and move on to the next play. He does not let things linger. He is a quick study. If he makes a mistake he is going to come over and tell me exactly what he did wrong. You can correct him and then he is going to go out and give you everything he's got on the next play, which is exactly what you are looking for in other players."
On how much he'll change the gameplan with Wake Forest's Michael Campanaro being out:
"I'm sure they will just plug somebody in to do a lot of the same things that he has done. Maybe not so much in terms of handing the ball off and the speed sweeps and those sort of things. In the passing game they have somebody that can go in and play that position. He has 38 catches so far, so he has been the guy for them. Last week, Terence Davis went in and had career-high catches, so after the first quarter, when he got hurt, they had some other guys step up."
On whether he tells the team that starting conference play represents a new opportunity:
"We play non-conference games, but one thing that we want to be able to do is do well in the conference. We start off at 0-0 and we have our first conference game. All of the games are important, but the conference games are even more important, because they determine how well you do in your conference."
On how much pass protection and Perry Hills getting rid of the ball quicker was emphasized over the past week:
"Every practice that is something we have to get better at. A lot of it is the fundamentals and technique up front and part of it is also Perry's job to get rid of the ball on time. That is something that we are going to continue to work on and get better at and we have to get better. One of the things we told Perry is if you are going to be hit so much you need to make sure the ball comes out on time. We need to make sure we get in to the proper protection so we can help save him from some of the hits that he is taking and not have them affect him."
On Wake Forest linebacker Justin Jackson and what makes him special:
"He is a guy that comes off the edge. He is one of those positions where they can rush him or drop him. He is athletic and he has good speed. What you have to do when blocking him is you have to use good technique because he has the ability to bend and he knows how to rush the edge. He is somebody that we have to be concerned with."
On whether he sees a difference between the true freshmen now as opposed to a month ago:
"I do not see the big wide-eyed look in their faces like `Wow, what is going on?' I think they have started to settle in and know that they are good enough to compete at this level and win at this level. You see them starting to compete and believe in themselves and start to grasp everything that they need to grasp and you don't see them having that overwhelmed look in their faces that they did about five or six weeks ago."
On Perry Hills' progression:
"I know he was a little sick last week. He was in here watching film and getting coached up in the meetings. It will take some more time with individual drills on the field with continuous technique work and the fundamentals of playing the position. It was all good work and it was getting him more comfortable with him timing with running backs and receivers. We had a chance to work on it so we will see if he improved as we go into this week."
On Kenneth Tate's play:
"I thought he had a good presence for us in the West Virginia game. I thought he went in there and did a good job. You could see he was a little bit rusty. But just his presence and he made plays and did his job. There's a sense of calmness with everyone else when he's out there when you have a guy that's very talented and very smart and has seen a lot of things so he can react to it and maintains his poise and composure. The challenge for me going forward is that fine line of continuing to bring him along but also to make sure he doesn't get too much work and too many plays where it could hinder him for the next week."
On how valuable fullback Tyler Cierski is in varying formations:
"Anytime you can be multi-dimensional in terms of formations and personnel groupings it's an advantage for you offensively. That makes the opposing defense spend a lot of time. If you have to eliminate one or two of those personnel groupings from your offense now the defense has a little more time to hone into some of the things you are doing. Having Tyler back is a benefit. When you get into your short yardage and goal line things you have that kind of blocker you want. It helps us because it makes us more diverse."
On the way the ACC handles injury reports:
"I get tired of being asked about injuries and all those things so to me it's easier just to put it out there the way we do. I like it. I just wish every conference would do it, but that's the problem with college football. Even though the NCAA is the sanctioning body, every conference has their own set of rules on how they want to do things. In the NFL everyone does it that way. I just wish all the schools would do it. I put it out there even when we play non-conference games to get it out there because it is what it is. Why try to hide anything?"
On the turnovers committed by the freshmen this season:
"To me the only thing you really can do is do ball security drills during the week. You try to coach your guys up the best you can to make sure the quarterback is making the proper reads and throwing the ball on time. We work on guys' pass blocking techniques so we don't give up the blindside sack in the strip. That's always the tough one when the quarterback doesn't see it coming."
On injuries early in the season forcing young players into action:
"My philosophy has always been you play the best guy regardless of them being a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. When I coached in the NFL with Jacksonville, I started rookies there. To me the job of the coach is to determine who the best guys are and put those guys on the field regardless of what year they are. The more you can create competition amongst your team, the better you are going to be."
On whether he'll redshirt Nick Ferrara:
"There hasn't been any discussion on that. I'm not sure yet if Nick will be back for the season... He has time off. They told him he needs to have rest so after that we'll see where he's at. I'm just waiting to see what the doctors tell me. The day before the West Virginia game, they said he had a three-week period where they didn't want him to do anything. So after that, we'll see."
Senior defensive lineman A.J. Francis
On having an extra week to prepare for a team like Wake Forest:
"Wake Forest is always known for gimmick plays and they are always known to throw one in there. Against North Carolina, they threw a running back pass. They always keep you on your toes. You like to have a couple of weeks to prepare for guys like Wake Forest and Georgia Tech."
On Stefon Diggs' performance so far this season:
"Stefon is unbelievable. I have never played with anybody like him. He's one of the best players I've ever seen, let alone played with. He does things on the field not a lot of other people can do. A lot of the plays he makes - there is no other word for it than unbelievable. He's a great player. There's no way around it. I've only seen two or three players my whole career that can do things like that."
Senior offensive lineman Bennett Fulper
On beginning ACC play:
"Now being in conference play that means a whole lot. It's kind of like starting a new season and we'd like to get it kicked off against Wake Forest."
On Mike Madaras and Andrew Zeller:
"Both of those guys are really blue-chip guys, very hard workers, athletic and they have been progressing ever since camp started. I am looking forward to playing next to Madaras this week and Zeller getting a lot of reps."
Senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield
On Wake Forest's rushing attack:
"It's one of the things they do well. They try to get a whole lot of motion and change of direction type of plays to confuse you. The biggest thing about playing a team like that is staying on your assignments, staying on your man because they are trying to get you out of your assignments."