Feb. 23, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
Leading up to spring practice, which begins March 10, each member of the coaching staff has or will take part in an interview session with the local media.
Offensive line coach Tom Brattan and defensive line coach Greg Gattuso sat down with the media Wednesday afternoon in the Gossett Football Team House.
Brattan is entering his 12th season on the Maryland staff, while Gattuso, who was promoted to assistant head coach in the offseason, is starting year two.
Next week, wide receivers coach Lee Hull, tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator John Dunn and inside linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski will visit with the media.
Defensive Line/Assistant Head Coach Greg Gattuso
On his role as assistant head coach:
"I was a head coach for 12 years and I've handled a lot of issues on and off the field, so it helps Randy out with some things. I was an assistant head coach in my past, and I didn't have a lot to change in my duties, but Randy has some things that I've already started to do for him. It's good, it's something I like to do and the more I can help the better."
On defensive-line depth:
On Joe Vellano:
"You hate hearing this from coaches, but it's a fluid thing. I think we're pretty set inside with A.J. [Francis] and [Darius] Kilgo fighting it out with the thought that Joe [Vellano] can go in there. It will be interesting to see how Andre Monroe handles playing on the edge. Playing against 6-foot-6 guys when you're 5-foot-11 is a challenge, but he showed last year that he's got the ability to mix it up and be physical. Joe and Andre have earned going into spring practice as the starters at end. After that, it's always going to be a production thing. I think that it will be very interesting with the back-up positions. I believe that the switch to the 3-4 has made stronger as a defensive line."
"He's an interesting kid because when you look at Joe on the surface he's not a really tall, long guy so he doesn't have those things that you look for. What he is, is an incredibly good football player. He's got a great motor, he works hard. I think the kid's a brilliant football player. The hardest thing I have with Joe Vellano
during games is to quit asking me questions on the sidelines. He'll come off the field and he's got literally 20 questions that I have to go through with him about what's going on. He's a brilliant football player, he's a pleasure to coach. The thing that holds guys back is a lot of guys have the ability and a lot of guys have the brains, but not everybody has the fortitude to play every play like Joe Vellano
does. That's what makes him a great player. His God given ability is good, but God gave him a heart that is gigantic and that's what makes the kid a good football player and that's why I'm so confident that he can play anywhere that we need to play him."
On players taking the next step:
"There's a couple. I think that A.J. Francis is a young man that I've challenged and he's got to work his way into being a great football player. He has ability, he's smart, but it's a big spring for A.J. Darius Kilgo has great ability, but he needs to step up and show he wants to be out there. We are a major work in progress in a lot of areas. We need to be able to match that Joe Vellano concept with the rest of our defensive line. I'm seeing progress in that direction from a lot of these guys. We pretty played well as a unit down the stretch and I think we are going to continue that this spring."
On Justin Anderson's ability in the 3-4 defense:
"He has the physical size, the length. I love long defensive linemen and when you're playing against a guy whose 6-foot-6, and he can touch the other side of the room because his arms are so long. That's the guy who you have to defeat to get to the quarterback. It's hard to get around those guys when your short armed and you don't have a lot of power so a guy like Justin Anderson has the physical attributes we're looking for. So he's a guy who I'm intrigued with. This is a big spring for him."
On Isaiah Ross:
"He's on track, running, working out. He's frustrated, because he's not in the physical condition that he wants to be in, but that's coming. It was a big blow to us losing him last year because you just don't take guys who have game reps and leadership abilities out of your defense and expect to do as well. We need Isaiah back and I'm excited to see him and Justin Anderson out there because it makes us a better defensive front."
On new defensive coordinator Brian Stewart:
"I like him. It's hard to come into these situations. It's tough getting dropped in. He's been great to work with. I've always had the same opinion on defense, that it's not just about one aspect. We're going to put pressure on our opponents and that doesn't always mean 10 guys coming. We're going to make the offense feel the heat whether it's real or perceived and I like that mentality. The defense is one that has been successful at the NFL level and the college level and it's something that fits our personnel very well. It's been great working with him and he's a great guy."
On the player's adjustment to the new scheme:
"I don't think this is going to be a hard transformation. I think there's some similarity and carry over for them. I don't think it's going to be a big deal. I think our kids are hungry for this right now. I like the simplicity of it and to me, you see different offenses every week and you see so much speed that simple isn't always bad. I find terminology is the hardest things to teach, so if the transformation there is simple, then the kids get it quickly. I think that things we're going to do are going to translate quickly. We have consistency in the coaching staff; the techniques we are using are universal so I think it will be a very smooth transition."
On replacements at left and right tackle:
"We've recruited well here in the last couple years. I like our young guys. Justin Gilbert comes back; he was our starting left tackle two years ago. Whether he moves back to tackle remains to be seen. I like the athleticism of Ryan Doyle. We've got Andrew Zeller, Jake Wheeler and Nick Klemm. We'll be fine. Obviously, they don't have the experience, but that's what I'm here to give."
On Justin Gilbert:
"He's pretty versatile. You've got a starting left tackle that played three games two years ago and was pretty athletic. He's gifted. It's taken a little time to get the rust off. I think he's got the ability to play guard. He played center when he first came here."
On players moving positions:
"I don't think so. Bennett obviously has played guard and I think he did a good job. Sal Conaboy never played center before he came here. It isn't like they're all pigeon holed and can only play these things. We have some flexibility."
On Bennett Fulper:
"He's invaluable. First of all, he's All Academic ACC second year in a row. Quiet leader, been in the fray, has seen different things. It's invaluable from an experience standpoint."
On the incoming freshmen getting playing time:
"Historically, the guys who have played here as freshmen, have played in the NFL. That's Stephon Heyer, that's Jared Gaither, that's Bruce Campbell. I don't think there is a more difficult position to play early that the offensive line, just given the maturation process and the speed and complexity of the game. That doesn't say that Mike [Maderas] or Nick [Brigham] couldn't do that, it's just difficult. We'll see how quickly they grasp things and grow into their bodies."
On Josh Cary:
"I think Josh had a heck of a year. I think Josh is a youngster who has come in here and has had the MO of the walk-ons here and has really worked to maximize his talents. I think he falls in the same mold as a Paul Pineger and an Andrew Gonella."
On De'Onte Arnett:
"Real excited about De'Onte. Once he kind of figured it out, you can just see his athleticism. The game that he starts against NC State, it's not real clear what he should do, it's kind of in a gray area and all of a sudden he's on the guy. I don't know in the past if we had been able to do that with a lot of coaching, I think he has a lot of athletic ability."
On Mike Locksley's scheme:
"After a while it's just blocking [for the offensive line]. Obviously, it's a good scheme. Mike's had success. It's very logical, very systematic. I think we'll have a pro offense with spread principles."
On having a mobile quarterback:
"I think it allows you to cover up for some ills you have up front. I don't know if it's really much different. I think it allows you to do some different things on offense that you normally can't do, particularly with C.J's [Brown] athletic ability. That's a weapon back there."