Oct. 11, 2011
"Well we have a tremendous challenge ahead of us this weekend. We go from the number 13 team in the country to the number eight team in the country. A team that is averaging 35 points a game and 472 yards per game. A defense that is very aggressive and athletic. We need to make sure that we have a good week of practice. We need to get everything down and then go out there and play consistent on Saturday night. We are looking forward to the opportunity. We look forward to getting better. Hopefully that will take place this week and then on Saturday night."
On the quarterback battle:
"We are very fortunate that we have two outstanding quarterbacks here. The thing is that it's great to have our depth at the quarterback position. We would like to have that at every position. We are going to evaluate the quarterback position just like we do everywhere else. We will evaluate it and then come Saturday night we will make a determination as to who will be our starter this week. That might help us from a standpoint of Clemson not knowing who to prepare for."
On A.J. Francis' play against Georgia Tech:
"I thought that he played better. From watching the way he had been practicing we could tell he was going to play better in the game. He played well and now he has to continue to work to get his game to a higher level."
On Gary Crowton coaching from the booth rather than the sidelines:
On junior defensive tackle Joe Vellano:
"I just felt that it would be better for him to be up in the booth. We switched for the Towson game. It allows him to see everything and gets him off the sideline. It can sometimes be crowded on the sideline. He can take everything in and he has more room up there."
"I have never seen a performance like that out of a defensive lineman against the triple option. What makes Joe (Vellano) so good is his intensity and love of the game. He loves to compete and he loves to work. He has a motor that never stops. He has made great improvements since the beginning of the year. He has really taken in the techniques that Coach Gattuso has given him. He has done a great job as a captain and leader as well. Joe plays hard. He plays every play like it is the last play he will ever play."
On Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd:
"He is very athletic and a good thrower. Watching him on film he gets rid of the ball very quickly and gets it to the people that he is supposed to. I am very impressed with what I have seen out of him on film. He can run the ball, throws the ball well and plays at a high level."
On senior offensive lineman Andrew Gonella:
"We are going to miss him on the field. Just sitting here today talking with him it was a joy. When you get a chance to sit and talk with him, his whole attitude and what he represents, what he stands for and how he approaches life are impressive. Even though at this point his career is over those things bring a smile to my face. He comes into the office and he is ready to go play right now. He told me a story that he wouldn't let the doctors put him under until he heard the final score of the game. That is what we want as a leader and captain. He will be missed. It is up to all of us to pick up the slack. He will be with us all of the time and still be a vocal and inspirational leader for us. I am just glad to have him back. He has some surgery ahead of him but he is a very special man in my opinion."
On the play of the freshmen:
"I think collectively the thing I like is they have gone out and competed. They aren't hesitant like you would expect out of guys playing for the first time. There have been some mistakes but I like that they are going full speed, and they aren't getting flustered if they do make a mistake. They have learned to just play one play at a time and move on after each play. I was impressed with Alex Twine with what he did against Georgia Tech and their triple option. I have been pleased with how they have approached practice and the games.
"If you are a back up you have to be ready to go and Alex Twine was when he got the call. With how he practiced during the week I wasn't surprised that he went out and played as well as he did. We want our guys to work hard because as a backup you never know when you are going to get the opportunity. The guy we have go in to replace someone we expect to play as good as or better than the person they are replacing."
On the implications of the Clemson game on the ACC race:
"This is huge and it's a conference game. We are 1-1 and both Clemson and Wake forest are undefeated in the conference right now on our side. This is a situation where we can't afford to get two games down. We have a lot of work to do to get a win this weekend."
Junior Defensive Lineman A.J. Francis
On the play of fellow defensive lineman Joe Vellano vs. Ga Tech:
"It was incredible. There were a lot of plays where I'd beat my block and I'd come off and Joe would just run right by me and I was like `What was that?' I knew we were both making a lot of tackles, but I had no idea Joe made that many tackles."
On preparing for Clemson's quarterback Tajh Boyd:
"He's a tough guy, he'll definitely be out there and you just have to get ready for him. There's a lot of scrambling quarterbacks that you play, and he's like a faster, bigger version of Geno Smith. It's not anything we haven't seen before, so hopefully we'll be able to come out and play with confidence like we did last week and play well."
On what impresses him most about Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd:
"The thing that impresses me the most is that he can throw the ball. There are a lot of guys that run as well as he does, that can't throw it as well as he does, and he can really throw the ball. He reminds me of like a bigger version of Russell Wilson in that aspect. I played against Russell for two years, and he was definitely tough to handle so I know we have to be ready to play this week with a guy of that capability."
On Clemson's offensive front:
"Well they play tackle-over, they put the tackle in the tight end spot and they try to confuse you with that. At the end of the day all their different formations really don't mean anything to the guys up front, because at the end of the day they're going to have five offensive linemen on the field. So we just have to be ready to play with whatever offense they have."
Junior Defensive LinemanJoe Vellano
On Andrew Gonnella's injury:
"I was right there. I saw it on the sideline. You know it's one of those injuries where someone goes down and you can actually see what happened. His knee went a direction it's not supposed to be, so that's just a tough break. He plays hard every snap, and Coach Edsall always talks about playing every play like it's your last, and Gonnella has done that all year."
On what Clemson does on offense to be successful:
"They run more of a pro-style up front, they're going to hit you and pound the ball at you. There's no doubt they can put up points. They have a lot of athletes over there and they have a big offensive line. It's more what we're used to every week; we kind of have to go back to our mentality and the way we play, so I think that's a positive."
On what the priorities of the defense will be:
"You have to fit your gaps, and you really have to knock guys back. They'll lay on you all day; they're kind of like Miami. Obviously they run some different stuff, but they're big up front and they're really good at pounding the ball at you."
On the play of Clemson running back Andre Ellington:
"Well if you miss him, you can't catch him. If you miss him early, he's going to make you pay. You have to get him on the ground. He's very fast and quick. He's not that big, but we played him last year and he's pretty good. They have a good quarterback, another good wide receiver, some good people up front, and a good tight end. "
Sophomore Offensive Lineman Josh Cary
On facing a ranked opponent for homecoming:
"We get pumped up every week, especially facing a great team like Clemson that's motivation right there. So everyone is fired up for this game."
On approaching the quarterback situation with a game-time decision for who starts:
"They're both extremely good players and we feel confident that either one can get the job done. They're both out there giving each other competition, and with every position that's what's needed."
On how tough Andrew Gonnella's injury is on the team:
"Yeah that's tough, especially because Gonnella personally he's a hard-nosed guy and you don't think he would get hurt. Even when he is hurt, he makes it seem like it's not that bad. So it's tough, but seeing him in good spirits is a positive and he's telling us to go as hard as possible and not to think about it."
On if the injury to Gonnella is a rallying point for the team:
"Definitely. I mean everyone wants to go as hard as they can for Gonnella, and everyone wants to go as hard as they can just to win. He makes sure everyone gets going and always wants us to go faster and he's still doing that now."
On the range of emotions over the weekend after learning his season was over:
"I mean it all happened so fast. One moment I'm on the field and I'm trying to pose a comeback against Georgia Tech, and then the next minute I'm not really quite sure what's going to happen to myself. But I was just kind of focused on the game at the time and right now I'm not really sure what's going to happen. Still a lot to figure out."
On if he has any concern on having to watch for the rest of the season:
"I believe in my teammates 100 percent and I believe in the team 100 percent and I think we've yet to play to our ability. I can't wait and I'm excited to see the day where we break out and show everyone who Maryland is and what we're going to be. I think we're going to reach some high points and I can't wait to see it happen. I think we need some more time to fall into the system and obviously there is no time to slow down and find your way. You just have to do it on the run, but I think every game we're making progress."