Sept. 11, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
Quotes from head coach Randy Edsall and players in advance of Maryland's home game against Connecticut Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Head Coach Randy Edsall
"One thing we need to do is just continue to make strides with our young guys. I thought we made quite a bit of strides from week one to week two and now what we have to do is continue to do that. I think one of the things you take a look at is - using Perry (Hills) as an example - the first week he had a tough week and the next week he bounced back and was ACC Rookie of the Week. With all of our guys, what we are striving for is to make improvements from week to week and work to get better. That's what we're going to do. We need to have a good week of practice. We're playing a very tough opponent. When you take a look at their defense, they have seven seniors who start on defense and five of those guys are fifth-year seniors. They're third in the country in scoring defense and total defense and first in the country in running defense. Offensively, they're starting to hit their stride a little bit. Lyle McCombs is a very good running back: shifty, quick. Nick Williams is a receiver who can make plays. Geremy Davis is making plays for them. They have two very good specialists in Chad Christen and Cole Wagner and a dangerous return man in Nick Williams. We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We're a work in progress. What we want to do is progress this week and get better. The way you do that is you go out and prepare the right way each and every week. I'm sure our guys will be ready today to do that. We just look forward to the opportunity on Saturday."
On playing Connecticut Saturday:
"It was a game that was on the schedule [before I got here]. I just got off the phone with the Connecticut media. I'll tell you exactly what I told them. Connecticut, the state of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut, is a really special place for me and my family from the standpoint that my daughter graduated from UConn and my son got all of his schooling in the state of Connecticut. I was fortunate that [former UConn athletic director] Lew Perkins and Phil Austin who was the president, gave me the opportunity to be a head coach. I'll always be indebted to the people from the state of Connecticut and the people of the University and most especially Lew and Phil for the opportunity that they gave me. And then you throw in Governor John Rowland and Tom Ritter who was the speaker of the house who came up with the funds to have Rentschler Field, to be able to build the Burton Family Football Complex and the Mark R. Shenkman Training Center and to give us the opportunity to do what we did there. As I said, I'll be forever thankful.
"I was very proud of what we accomplished at UConn. When I say we, I mean the assistant coaches and all the players and the fans and everyone who played a part in it. It's one of those things when I came here - this is where I grew up. Watching games here, going to basketball camps here, and being a Baltimore fan my whole life with all those sports teams. The one thing, if I had a do-over and this is something I have to live with, I wish I could have talked to those players in person. But the circumstances in our profession is one that didn't allow that. As I said, that's something that I have to live with."
Oh having Matt Robinson and Isaac Goins back:
"It'll be great to have those two guys back out there. As I've said, experience is a great teacher. Having Matt out there and the experience that he has is only going to benefit us. Issac came here in the spring but he has some experience under his belt as well. He's going to aid us in our defense and benefit us."
On the challenges with teaching young players:
"You always have to remember not to get ahead of yourself, and that's the challenge that we have as coaches. We have to take the blend of experience that we have and mesh it with the youth that we have. But we have to be smart because some of those young guys aren't as experienced. It's all about repetition and teaching the young guys and helping them progress."
On his relationship with current Connecticut players:
"You really can't have a relationship with them because of NCAA rules. Once they graduate I'll talk to them, but as far as the current players go, you really can't have a relationship with them."
On if he expects Saturday to be "weird" in any way with seeing his former players:
"This week is really no different to me than any other week. It's just game three on our schedule. I haven't done anything different up until this point and I'm not going to do anything different from here on in. There are some people that I'd like to see after the game to say hello to and wish them well, but I am going to continue to focus on my players, the University of Maryland players all week."
On Connecticut's defense:
"They're playing really well on defense, but again what I think you have to do is be very sound and fundamental in terms of what you have to get done; your players have to go out and execute. We are going to just put a plan together that we think will make us most successful against that defense."
On his involvement in the scheduling of this game when he was at Connecticut:
"It gave me a chance to come back home and play a game down here. When I was at UConn, I thought that it would be a good game for us from a standpoint of recruiting down here, but also the standpoint of just getting down to this area."
On what he learned at Connecticut that he will bring to Maryland in terms of building a program:
"Whenever you're involved with building a program, you have to be who you are and you have to stick to a philosophy, a philosophy in terms of what you want to do and how you want to do it. And then you implement it to be successful in, what I consider, all three phases of a program: academics, football, and developing maturity as a person."
On if he sees a lot of similarities between this year's Connecticut and Maryland teams:
"Both team's defenses are the strong suit and both team's offenses are working on getting better. And both teams have had some turnovers. That's the biggest thing for our team, to eliminate the turnovers. But we also have some things to work on defensively. We can't give up big plays."
On Connecticut being able to rack up sacks:
"They do it in a couple of different ways. Trevardo Williams is their defensive end and he's fast -- very, very fast. They'll try to get pressure with four or five men. They'll do a straight rush, they'll use secondary guys and linebackers -- they get their sacks in a lot of different ways. When you take a look at their front four, they have a lot of experience. They really have some athletes with some quickness. They've also got two fifth-year seniors in the corners. So they feel pretty good with their cover ability and their speed, so they are taking advantage of what they can do best."
On if he thinks Maryland has turned the corner as a program:
"I think that we've turned the corner a little bit from the standpoint that we are out there competing for 60 minutes -- we've won two games in the fourth quarter, basically. We still have a long way to go, but the energy and attitude has been good. Hopefully we won't have any other injuries, but as of now we are moving in the right direction. The more that these young kids play and the more that the older guys continue to make plays and mentor the young guys, the better we will do. If the team keeps the mentality that `as long as I do my job there will be times that I will make plays, or what I do will free somebody else up to make a play,' then we are really going to progress quickly."
On Matt Robinson and how big it was to lose him for most of last year:
"Matt is a really smart football player. He is a guy who grasps things very easily and he is also a leader out there for us. He is somebody who has the physical capabilities to play in the passing game but also play in the running game. He is a hard worker, he is conscientious, he wants to do things right all the time, and he wants to win. When you take all of that off the field, you have a void. I was sitting there the other day and I was watching the film from the Temple game and I saw the play where they threw the flag on Eric [Franklin] for the personal foul, you can just see the enthusiasm that he and Kenny [Tate] had when that play took place. That is what you need. We missed that when Matt went out. He's eager, he's hungry, and he's ready to go, so let's just hope that he is healthy through the rest of the season."
On what led him to take Matt Robinson to Temple, since injured guys don't usually go:
"Well he practiced last week, and I needed a babysitter [laughs]. I needed someone to babysit Sean Davis, and he would mentor Sean on the bus ride up and room with Sean. I needed to have that "big brother" effect, so that's why I took him. I knew he would be back this week and ready to go, so I just wanted him to be up there on the sidelines."
On his feelings leaving Connecticut and if this game validates his decision to come to Maryland:
"I follow them, because I got to know them, but you wish them well and everything except if you are going to play them. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they want to do in life and to me this is the third game on the schedule and it just happens to be against Connecticut. They are from the Big East, so this one is going to count just as much as the William & Mary game and the Temple game. That is what all of the focus and attention is on: to just get another win."
On ball security and if he expects Wes Brown to bounce back:
"Each individual coach works on different things in terms of the fundamentals and techniques of their position. We might do some more ball security drills this week than we did last week, but we haven't gotten to the point where we made Wes carry the football around campus and go to bed with it and sleep with it. But I do expect Wes to bounce back. He got a chance to watch some things on film and see why it occurred, and Wes, from what I know of him, will do his best to make sure those things don't happen again."
Senior Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield
On what Coach Randy Edsall can bring from his experience at UConn:
"He can definitely give us personnel information; any tips such as how somebody might play, things like that. But of course everybody gets better and changes things throughout so you never know until you get out there or actually watch film."
On UConn defensive similarities:
"It's actually interesting because I'm very good friends with one of their linebackers, Sio Moore. We're both from North Carolina so I talk to him every week. I already know they run a lot of the same stuff. It's kind of funny. I've watched them on film. I recorded the NC State-UConn game and I caught myself pausing it a few times."
On Connecticut defensive coordinator Don Brown:
"He's crazy, wired, and likes to get after it. Very enthusiastic. Coach Brown was always that kind of energized coach. He's definitely going to bring it. Especially knowing we have a freshman quarterback."
Senior Defensive Lineman A.J. Francis
On facing Connecticut defensive coordinator Don Brown's system and playing in it a few years ago:
"You knew he was going to blitz, even when it looked like he wasn't. He was really good at disguising blitzes and a lot of times it force quarterbacks to throw interceptions because he would think he figured out who was blitzing, then he throws it to a guy who's dropping. You have to make the right hot reads. It's going to be a big game for Perry. We're going to need him."
On if there's pressure with playing Coach Edsall's former team this week:
"It's really just another game. We haven't played UConn since I've been here. The biggest thing is you play Clemson every year, you play NC State every year, you play Florida State every year, you know what to expect from those guys. When you play a team like UConn for the first time, you don't know what to expect. You don't know how they play. You don't know how they block. The only thing you can take is on film. It's really big to come out and hopefully get this victory and go 3-0."
On if Coach Edsall told them anything about his former players:
"The only thing he's said is their defense is going to be coming hard. He knows they have some athletes on defense that are going to try their best to make some big plays."
Senior Offensive Lineman Justin Gilbert
On facing Don Brown's familiar defense:
"He runs a good defense. They're pretty good. There are a lot of similarities I've seen so far. We haven't watched film a lot yet, but I watched some yesterday on our off day. I have seen a lot of things we used to pick up on there. Coach Brown, he's a schemer so he's got some new stuff going on. I'm sure knowing that we've gone against him before, he's going to throw some stuff in there we've never seen. He attacks a lot, he pressures a lot with linebackers almost every play, so we have to be ready for that. He runs a lot of stuff that we see every week too. You'll see the USAs, stuff like that. He'll bring one linebacker at a time. Really the biggest thing is the pressure. He's going to bring someone almost every play, so we have to be able to pick that up."
On the possibility of being 3-0:
"We're not going to jump ahead. It would be great to be 3-0 but right now, we're going to make sure we get a good week of practice down. We're not looking ahead at anybody. As long as we get a good week going and go into the game as hard as we can, we'll be good."
Freshman Defensive Back Sean Davis
On the adjustments coming from high school to college:
"Coming from such a small high school, I never came off the field. I'm used to being on the field. Now, it's a big adjustment. Sitting down, taking mental reps is a big change for me. I would have to say I guess the mental reps are a big thing which make me get better as I get on the field, I don't mess up too much."
"We're confident but not cocky. Humble but hungry. That's what we say. Stay humble but be hungry. I think we have a very solid defense and defense wins championships. The defense is keeping us in there. We're not struggling, but we've had some adversity offensively with a lot of starters down and a lot of young guys playing and it's the same with the defense. It's brought us closer together and we have to be more technically sound in order to beat our opponents."