Feb. 16, 2012
LIKE! Maryland Football on Facebook
LIKE! Maryland Athletics on Facebook
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley and defensive coordinator/secondary coach Brian Stewart sat down with the media last week for their first lengthy interview session since each was hired in the offseason.
This week special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Lyndon Johnson and running backs coach Andre Powell, who are both entering their second seasons, visited with the local media.
The pair sat down Wednesday afternoon in the Gossett Football Team House.
Special Teams Coordinator/Outside LB Coach Lyndon Johnson
On the kicking and punting situation:
"Right now with Nick [Ferrara] in recovery, the duties will be handled by Nathan Renfro and Michael Tart. Mike is a guy who has had experience doing both, he was able to jump in the NC State game and get some reps kicking and punting. For Nate, it will be a little more of a transition, he's not been a field goal guy, more of punting and kickoffs so we're get some reps at that this spring. Those guys have been working on it all winter, and right now on their work out days I have them working in all three phases. I'm going to rep those two guys this spring and see how it works out with them."
On correcting last season special teams' mistakes:
"I took a hard look at everything. Obviously, on kickoff coverage we've got to do a much better job. I've got to do a better job. We've got to do a better job executing as well. As a program, we just have to improve a lot. I took a look at personnel, took a look at what we were doing and what we can change. In the spring it's hard from a special teams standpoint to make a lot of changes because you don't have as many bodies out there. We don't do a ton of full unit stuff. A lot of this stuff is going to be mainly in [preseason] camp, when we have some more bodies out there and when I can get into some full unit stuff. There will be some changes, obviously there's things I've got to look at."
On Nick Ferrara's recovery:
"From what I'm being told, he should be ok for preseason camp. Obviously, he won't be out there for spring. The last I was told he was ahead of schedule. If he can get out there and be full strength kicking by the early part of June, I think he'll be fine. From what I have been told by the doctors, that's pretty much on target."
On how the 3-4 defense helps special teams:
"Usually, the linebackers, tight ends and fullbacks are the core of your special teams. Those are numbers that where we were limited last season. It's going to be a great change for us. It might be a year or two because right now for example the WILL linebackers were guys who were playing defensive end last year. How much effect will they have on special teams from the get go? I don't know right now. But now as we move forward with this recruiting class, that's kind of the mind set, getting more of those guys that are athletic, that can play on the coverage team. That will be a big part of the change, having access to more names on the list."
On the starting kick returner:
"The position's wide open. Tony was the starter last year, Davin Meggett was a guy who was out there. So I've got [Justus] Pickett back who has some experience, we've got some young kids that were returners in high school. Once again, that's probably going to be the biggest part that we'll work this spring, the returners. To be honest, I'm going to take every skilled guy and throw them back there and find out who can catch because we weren't happy with the production we got from special teams last year, so everybody is a candidate."
On Nick Ferrara's struggles last season:
"Personally, I think Nick's got a lot of upside to him. I think he has good leg pop. Obviously, that injury hindered him a little big. I give Nick a lot of credit; he fought through it the best that he could. Once he's 100 percent, I think he has enough leg to do kicking and punting. Will he do all three this year, I don't know."
On the new offense:
"I like it. Really and truly, there's only so many different plays you run and a lot of things in Mike's [Locksley] offense are similar things we did last year and similar things to what I've done before. The biggest things in terminology, the same thing Mike calls apples, we called oranges last year. It's just a matter of terminology and getting kids to focus their eyes where they're supposed to be focused."
On a lack of options in spring practice:
"I don't have that many options. You just concentrate on what you've got. I've got two scholarship tailbacks and a walk-on tailback and we're going to focus on those guys to get them as good as they can be. [Justus] Pickett played last year and did a good job, made very few mistakes and he's got talent. [Brandon] Ross is a talented guy who didn't play, obviously. At fullback, you have [Tyler] Cierski and I think Cierski as a chance to be a good football player before it's all said and done and you've got Jeff Hernandez who tries hard and I think is evolving into a leader and somewhere he will find a place to help us."
On incoming recruit Wes Brown:
"I think Wes has a lot of talent. Wes is a big man and he's got length. Thomas Jones had that type of length, C.J. Spiller had that type of length. That's the first thing that jumps out at you with Wes, he's long, which means he's probably going to grow. I wouldn't be shocked if his senior if he's not 220 pounds plus. Wes has got all the intangibles, all the measurable, but the thing that Wes has that, I think may be a little better than some of the guys I'm coaching right now, is route running abilities and ball skills and that's going to lead to great matchup problems with linebackers."
On the next step for Justus Pickett:
"I think the thing that Justus has to do is I think he was so contentious about not making mistakes, it made him play slow at time. That's the biggest thing, now you know what to do, get it loose and just go play. The other thing I would like Justice to do is put on more weight. If he's a little thicker in the lower half he'll be more durable and be able to play more physical."
On incoming recruit Kenneth Goins:
"I see Goins being more of a fullback, maybe a short yardage back. The thing that impressed me about Kenny on video was how fast and how hard he played. Coaches use that term "motor", he had a motor. He just went, went, went. He's a selfless kid. His role was not a role where he would get a lot of numbers and he just blocked his butt off, ran the ball very well when they gave it to him and just did what they asked him to do. He brings toughness to our backfield."