April 21, 2012
"The guys had a lot of fun out there today, and they had the chance to go out there and play the game again with their teammates. Overall I thought we've had a really good spring. I thought they guys have done a really good job since January, getting started doing all the things we need to do to be better come August. I'm just very, very pleased with what took place."
On quarterbacks C.J. Brown and Ricky Schultz:
"I thought - first of all, C.J., I think he had a good spring. I know he's picked up the offense very well, and again, he's getting more comfortable with each practice that he has. I just look forward to him continuing to work and do the things necessary to even be better when we come back in August. There are things that all of us have to work on, and he'll be working over the summer, but I was pleased with his development this spring in terms of what he did.
"Ricky Schultz, as I've said, is the MVP of the spring. Being out there, it's just nice to see him go and have some success today. He won't be with us any longer, but it's good for him to get out there, and help us in the spring. We'll welcome [incoming freshmen] Perry [Hills] and Caleb [Rowe] to the family in June when they get here, and we'll move forward."
On spring practice:
"It's been great. Since January, there's been a renewed vigor and enthusiasm in terms of everything we're doing. I think it was evidenced, for the guys that came here and watched us this spring and today, to see the camaraderie and the togetherness that you see. With the electing of the captains that the players elected, I don't think they could've had better guys. Just to hear them speak afterwards to the team, those are guys that do everything the right way. They've been leaders for us in our offseason program, as part of being the captains for their teams. We're just looking forward to continuing to get better and working hard. This group has really been grinding, since January, but they're embracing it. That's something they'll continue to do with great leadership from within."
On takeaways from the game:
"I took a lot of heat because some of those sacks probably wouldn't be sacks with C.J. in there. [The officials] blew a quick whistle a few times. They guys have really taken to the new systems; they've worked extremely hard to understand them. We knew coming into spring that I wasn't looking to be a finished product by the end of spring, and they'll do hard work over the summer. I was pleased with what they did, and now we'll go forward and take a look at what we do best and be ready to implement those things in the fall."
On special teams:
"That will be a competition when we get back here in August. Nick [Ferrara] wasn't out there doing anything this spring. [Nathan Renfro] showed some good things out there today, but he's also been inconsistent. That will be a competition in terms of who's going to be the punter, who's going to be the kickoff guy, who's going to be the field goal guy. That will all continue as we get back here in August, and we'll see where we are. You're always going to evaluate the scene. We've got a walk-on coming in, and again, if there's something we can do to improve our roster, we'll do that."
On the team's health:
"I think that's one of the big things in spring as a coach: You always want to come out without having surgical issues with any player. We've been blessed from that standpoint. Today, Darius Kilgo got a high ankle sprain, Marcus [Whitfield] sprained his ankle, but those guys, I would think, would be ready by the time we start at the end of May, beginning of June, with our summer conditioning program. Marcus Leak got a little bit of an elbow today, and [Clarence Murphy] I think it was either his wrist or his elbow. But really, the only guy who will have some surgery is Devonte Campbell. He has a sports hernia, and it looks like that'll take place not this week but the next week. He'll be good to go.
"Joe [Vellano] should be ready, if not by the time we start our summer conditioning program, at least by the middle of June. Kenny [Tate] is getting better. He should be OK as we move forward. Getting [Tyrek Cheeseboro] back, he's on schedule, probably a little ahead of schedule. Makinton [Dorleant], same thing with him.
"We're probably as healthy and as good as we can be coming out of spring. That's credit to [Director of Strength and Conditioning] Drew Wilson, and to the kids, as hard they worked in the offseason. They've bought into his program and what he's doing, and you can see it. We're more flexible, there are more things to be done with our core. When you do those things and go out there and play hard, you minimize your chances for injury."
On the freshmen:
"It's interesting to watch the evolution of some of those young kids who went out there and played last year. They had not too much of a clue as to what they were doing. They got thrown into something they weren't ready to do - we didn't have any other options. I take a look at Alex Twine. I see him out there and I think you can see a guy who's playing a lot faster. He is more experienced, he understands what he's doing. He's done the same thing as Cole Farrand. In two weeks of spring, he's out there flying around all over the place.
"I think A.J. Hendy, making that move to outside corner, has been pretty beneficial for him and us. Even a guy like Marcus Whitfield, he got hurt. You see all those young guys who played, you see them make that step this spring in terms of playing faster. You can't teach experience. You only get it by being out there on the field, and they got thrown right into that fire. Offensively, you look at Justus Pickett. He's a different running back now. ... Sometimes you have to suffer when you play young guys out of necessity, but it pays off, and that's what's going to happen with those young men."
On his improvement over the course of the spring:
"I had a few key aspects of my game that I wanted to improve on this spring. I had to stay low, use my hands more, use more leg drive and I was able to improve on all those things, in addition to being able to read the defense a lot better. I'm going to keep improving in every area."
On the running game:
"Throughout the whole spring I was pretty pleased with the run game. Whether it be in two-back or one-back, all the running backs have been working really hard and been hitting the hole hard. That's one of the things Coach Powell has been emphasizing is hitting the hole hard and staying low. We've improved in those areas big time and it really showed today"
On the defense's performance:
"Today I think the defense came out and played really well. In the first half, the offense was making a lot of plays. We didn't back down, we came back, fought and it was a close game in the end but the Red Team prevailed. I think the defense came together today."
On the transition to the new defensive scheme:
"Overall, I think the defense is doing really well. A lot of guys know what they're doing on the defensive side of the ball as opposed to being out there thinking all the time. We know what we're doing and it helps us play better when we're just out there playing and having fun. Overall, we've got a feel for this defense and we're going to keep getting better at it."
On the offense's performance:
"It felt good to go get out there and have some fans in the stands and get out and compete. We didn't have a strong second half the way we wanted to finish. It happens, but we'll move on and get better in the summer."
"We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties and some of the guys weren't on the same page with signals. We came out strong, we had a first half, developed a big lead, we just didn't come out in the second half with the same mindset that we needed to and we weren't able to finish. That's on me and on the offense and we have to pick that up because that can't happen."
On using the spring to move on from last year:
"I think it's a great first step. A lot of the guys want to put the past in the past and springtime was a way to move forward and just get going. You're not going to completely forget it but you want to get a better taste in your mouth. Everyone's bought in and we're moving in the right direction right now."
On his improvement during the spring:
"I felt the spring treated me well. I got a lot of exposure to the playbook and just learning the offense before camp rolls around. I feel like I learned a lot this spring, and the goal is to just keep getting better."
On the opportunity for playing time:
"I'm anxious but before game time comes around I just want to make sure that me and my teammates are on the same page, so when we do play that first game, we're on the right direction toward winning."
On the game's outcome:
"The whole offense is really competitive so of course we wanted to win. Going into halftime we were up, but when the refs call two-tip sacks, you have to get pretty upset. We didn't rally as much as we should have in the second half so the defense came back. As a result, we're going to have to take our beans and franks on Wednesday."
On the defense in the second half:
"The running clock killed us. That's the strong thing for the offense. So when the clock is running, next thing you know you have three minutes left in the third quarter and you've only run three plays. They didn't run anything different. They just got themselves fired up and we couldn't answer."
On the changes in the offense:
"At the beginning of the spring we were coming back from injuries. We had guys with experience, but we weren't a solidified veteran offensive line. Some guys stepped up this spring. I think for the most part we have a pretty good idea how people are doing. We have to have a really good summer and work on some techniques, but I am really proud on how the guys fought. We don't have a lot of depth in the offensive line right now. We have a lot of freshmen who have stepped up and have had a good spring too, so I am pretty optimistic going into summer camp."
Senior Defensive Lineman A.J. Francis
On the sacks:
"Honestly, probably three of them C.J. [Brown] would have made the guy miss. Those sacks just prove we were coming [on the rush] and we have to give credit to the whole defense. It makes you really think about how good we can be because arguably three of our best players on our defense - Joe Vellano, Kenny Tate and Darin Drakeford - weren't in the game. It really shows how good this defense can really be."
- Terps -