Oct. 31, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
Quotes from Wednesday's press conference in advance of Maryland's game vs. Georgia Tech Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
Head Coach Randy Edsall
"Another week, a different challenge for us as we get ready to play Georgia Tech. The option offense is something they're very, very good at. It will be a tremendous challenge for our team and our defense to slow down Georgia Tech. [They average] 300 yards rushing, 35 points per game, so we've got a lot of work to do this week to make sure we know our assignments.
"In terms of option football, you've got to have someone who can take care of the back, someone to take care of the quarterback, take care of the pitch. With the different offense schemes you see, its zone blocks and cut blocks and all those things. It takes a lot of work during the week to get it down and be able to stop them and slow them down. We're looking forward to getting out there today and working some more.
"Defensively, [Georgia Tech] has just gone through a coaching change. What they've done is simplify their defense from what they were doing before. The challenge we have is to put together a game plan that utilizes Shawn [Petty's] abilities to the best we can but also incorporate that with all the other abilities we have with our players on offense. That's something that will be ongoing as we continue to practice today and tomorrow, and we'll take a look at some more things and narrow that plan down as we go into the game on Saturday."
On limiting Georgia Tech's option offense:
"We did a good job of limiting points last year. I think they still had 370 yards or whatever it was. Again, I think the biggest thing you always have to do regardless of the scheme you play, everybody has to do their job. That's one thing: you can't be staring at things you're not supposed to be staring at. You cannot worry about someone else, you've got to make the proper read and make the block and take care of your responsibility.
"The toughest part from a defensive standpoint -- and that's why sometimes it takes a little bit of time -- is you're not used to the speed of the first drive. You're not used to the speed and precision because it's difficult if you don't run that speed for the scout team to produce that in practice. As much as they try to do a good job, it's just totally different. One thing that's always concerning to me when you play an option team is that the first series is very critical because you want to get off on the right foot. You tell your guys, hey, it's going to be a lot faster in the game than what we saw in practice, and you've got to get used to it from the beginning. You can't wait, and that's easier said than done."
On if they had practiced defending the option prior to this week:
"You always have your option responsibilities when you install a defense. When you put a defense in, you're always telling your guys, if you get the option, this is what you do. Again, our offense ran some of those things in the spring and preseason and even during the season. We see it, and it's much different than what Georgia Tech does, but no, we hadn't [practiced] it yet. We had too many other things to take care of."
On Shawn Petty at quarterback:
"Last week, when we knew were moving him to quarterback, we developed a plan for him to be able to go in and play if he needed to and to get him comfortable with some things. This week, what we've been able to do is take a look at some more things, we'll practice those and then take a look and see if he can absorb, digest and execute during practice. It's going to be a combination of what he can do, but we've also got other guys on the team that realize their skill sets as well. It's that balance we've got to find in terms of what's the best way to move the ball and score points utilizing Shawn, utilizing the other parts of our offense."
On how Shawn Petty is digesting the offense:
"That's always the toughest part. He played quarterback in high school, and I think he really feels he's a quarterback at heart. I think he's really looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and play. He's excited, and we're excited for him. He wants to go out and play really, really well. It wasn't like he's never played the position before.
"The biggest thing is terminology. Depending on the style of offense he played in high school and what we're doing, it's just getting the numbers down, what we call plays, the reads. I've been impressed so far with what he's been able to handle, and we'll see where that leads us in practice today and tomorrow as we head into the game."
On the timing of finding out quarterback Caleb Rowe's injury:
"We got on [the injury] faster than we normally do, due to the impending hurricane. During the game at Boston College, in the second-to-last play, when he scrambled out of the pocket to the sideline, he went down and kind of felt his leg buckle. I saw as he rolled there and started to get up that he had a cut on his shin. As the true competitor that Caleb is, he just said there was nothing there and got up and was OK and went in for the last play.
"On Sunday morning when he woke up, he couldn't get over here and we had to send someone over to get him. He was stiff and sore, and he came over and [head trainer Wes Robinson] took a look at him. He didn't have real good news, and that's when I said, we need to get him to a place now to see if we can get the MRI. We might not be able to do it Monday because there might not be any place open due to the hurricane. So Dr. [Craig] Bennett came in and took a look at him. He came to me and told me he thought it was a torn ACL. I mentioned something to the team, that it was a possibility that Caleb might not be ready to go. Once we got it confirmed on Monday from the MRI, I told Shawn, `Hey, you're the guy, be ready to go.'
"You just feel bad for Caleb because he was playing well and getting better. He's got talent, and now he's got a little bit of a setback. He'll be OK; he'll work hard on his rehab and be back stronger. Now Shawn gets his opportunity, and we're all behind Shawn. We're going to go with Shawn, and he's the best guy we've got to lead the team. I think he'll do a good job."
On Shawn Petty's personality:
"He is very laid back. He is very similar to Devin [Burns] in terms of his personality. He never gets very high or low. He is a steady ship out there. He goes about his business. He is determined and focused. He is an athlete. He wants to do well. His personality with the situation we are going into is probably pretty good. He doesn't get real excited or down in the dumps. He is just looking for the opportunity and looking forward to take advantage of it."
On the team responding to the injuries at quarterback:
"This is only the third or fourth time that they have gone through it. Our guys know how to handle it. They understand what the issues are. They have gone through C.J.[Brown], Perry [Hills], Devin [Burns] and now Caleb [Rowe]. We know that Shawn [Petty] is our guy so everyone has to rally around him. They are going to do that. In their minds he is a guy who can do the things necessary to help us win the game. It's not all on Shawn, he is just one part of this team. That's what happens when you have the team concept and mentality. It helps you get through obstacles that you have to overcome like this."
"Brian [McMahon] is a guy who will be ready to go. He is very smart, and picks things up very well. He would like to redshirt so he is hoping that Shawn can stay healthy. But it's one of those things that I told him if something happens you have to be ready to go. He said if that's what happens than he will be ready. It exemplifies his attitude towards being a team player and doing whatever he has to do to help our team be better."
On if Shawn Petty will stay No. 31:
"Yes he is. Brian McMahon will stay No. 87 too. Doug Flutie wore No. 22. It's an eligible number to play that position so we are going to keep them in those jerseys because we really don't have any other numbers to put them in. All of the other numbers are taken. It will be a little bit different. It will give everyone something to talk about."
On who would be the emergency quarterback:
"That's to be determined. You are jinxing me by asking me that question."
On A.J. Francis on and off the field:
"A.J. [Francis] is having a very good year on the field. He is doing a good job during practice and off the field. He is being a good leader even though he isn't a captain. We expect all of our guys to do their parts in being leaders. Just because you aren't a captain doesn't mean you can't speak up and say things. A.J is being vocal this year and I think that is helping us. He has been playing well. He has that personality that people will listen to. That is a big thing. What he is talking about and saying to the other guys he is backing up on the practice field with the work he is putting in and his production doing his job. We are pleased with what we are getting out of A.J. on the field as well as from a leadership standpoint."
On how Brad Craddock reacted to Saturday and whether confidence is his biggest issue:
"I don't think it is confidence that is his biggest issue. It's the consistency of technique that is his issue. Brad [Craddock] understands that if you aren't performing and other guys are than they are going to get an opportunity. The interesting thing is when we went out on Sunday and did PAT and field goal work he made all six or seven kicks he took right down the middle. That is what we have to see all the time. We will kick again today and again tomorrow. Right now the plan is Brendan [Magistro] will do everything through 35 or 40 yards and Brad will kick beyond that. "
"Brad is going to be a very good kicker. What we have to do as coaches is help and show him that. He has to perfect the technical side of kicking on a consistent basis. Just because you have someone else step up doesn't mean I have lost confidence in them and I haven't lost it in Brad. Right now he isn't being as productive as he can and we have someone else who through practice has shown they were being more productive. Brendan has showed he can do it in the game as well."
On how Brendan Magistro ended up at Maryland:
"He wanted to walk on. We had Nick [Ferrara] and at that point in time we didn't have Brad [Craddock] yet so we were looking to add a walk on for camp. What we saw on film and at our camps we thought he would be the guy that we would bring in for that."
On if Brian McMahon has a chance to play:
"I don't think right now I would go to Brian [McMahon], I would rather stick with Shawn [Petty]. They both have run similar types of offense in high school. Right now Shawn is our quarterback and it's not going to be a situation where we have a quick hook. I want him to stay healthy, go out and execute, have fun, and be a leader and the quarterback he can be."
Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley
On if he's ever seen a season like this in his coaching years:
"I can't say that I have, going through what we've gone through at the quarterback situation. But, like we talk about here, it's the next man up and we're going to find a way to prepare a quarterback to go out and come up with a game plan that's capable of executing and find a way to win."
On the challenge of playing different quarterbacks:
"I'd say it's been a little challenging, but each of the guys that have made the move to quarterback have come in with open mindsets, they both are football smart kids having played the position their whole life. Shawn grew up a quarterback as Brian did. It's like riding a bike a little bit, in that you don't forget some of the leadership intangibles. I've been really happy with how much they've been able to come in and just take the quarterback position and control the line of scrimmage. They've been very comfortable with doing those things, and I think that comes from their experience as quarterbacks."
On how Shawn has picked up concepts:
"Well regardless of whether Shawn, Brian, or whoever the quarterback may be, we're always going to find out what they can execute, it's not about what we know. We've been very conscientious to make sure we figure out what they can execute, tailor it to what their skill set is, and find ways to get it called. We've always done that with whoever our quarterback has been. Again as I said before, I've been very pleased with Shawn and Brian both with just how much they've been able to understand football concepts. What we have to do now, today is a big day for us being able to get out and implement some of the game plan, some third-down stuff and red-zone stuff. Today we'll see how it looks and come back in tonight and see what we can call, what we can't, and what we need to change."
On the play of Caleb Rowe:
"I thought Caleb did a pretty good job from the standpoint of he gave us a chance to win. I think also when you go back and look at the tape, he made a lot of freshman mistakes, which is to be expected. Anytime you have three interceptions in a game as I told Caleb and as we talk about on offense, you're not going to give yourself too many opportunities to win ball games. With two of the interceptions being plays that he's been coached not to do those things I think he understands that. But, for a guy for his first start for some of the things we were able to do, you go in and throw the ball 42 times, with a true freshman, he had a pretty good grasp of the game plan. I was pleased with how he handled it, and we need to continue to work on it."
On practicing despite the hurricane:
"We were able to get some work in yesterday, our base game plan stuff. We were able to get a lot of the run game stuff done."
On how the team is handling the QB injuries:
"From the offensive standpoint, one of the things we talked about Sunday as an offensive unit was regardless of who our quarterback was as a coaching staff, we're going to find a way to put a plan together to give us a chance to go into the game and win. We may have to have a few guys step up, maybe take a little more on their plate, but we're going to give ourselves a chance, we're going to put a plan together that best fits whoever our starter is at quarterback and we need to go and execute it. Our big thing this week is we have to be very productive on first and second down. It's been very tough for us all year long to keep us out of third and long situations. We have to go out and find a way to get more yards on first and second down, and have manageable third-down situations."
On Shawn's personality:
"Well I know this, this is about as big as a smile I've seen on his face all year long. I've seen him on the other side on the scout team when you're yelling at him for not giving you the look you need. Every time he comes in the meeting room and every time we've had a chance to sit down and meet, he's got a big smile on his face and he's taking great notes. He's into being a quarterback, and I think for him and for us it's probably a benefit, because I know and I'm sure Coach [Edsall] has talked to you about it, this is something he really wants. He wants to prove he can play quarterback at this level even though we recruited him to be a linebacker. I love that, because now I know he's going to put everything into being prepared and put everything to going out an executing. You can work a guy that wants to."
On the run game:
"Again, we're going to do whatever it takes to win the game. With the run game, I think some of the reasons we've been able to run the ball is we've been able to make some plays out on the perimeter with our screen game that come off of the run. That's something we weren't necessarily efficient at earlier in the year. It's always great when you can count on having a guy back there that has the ability to make something out of nothing and be able to win the one-on-one battle. Our running backs when they load the box up, they have unblocked guys. Wes [Brown] has shown the ability to make that guy miss or run over a guy. I think Wes has been a benefit of some of the change at the quarterback position that has given us different skill sets to allow us to do some things."
On the offensive line:
"It's a work in progress getting some guys healthy up front, but I've been pleased with the guys that have been here that have played the last couple of weeks. I think we've kind of settled in a little bit. The big thing with a guy like [Evan] Mulrooney is when you have a young quarterback like last week with Caleb, a lot was put on his plate in terms of getting him protected and all the identifications we have to make from a communications stand point. He's a smart guy that understands it and he did a great job last week from keeping Caleb from taking too many shots. I've been pleased with the way it's coming, but we still have a lot of work to go up front. Those guys know it, and we need to continue to be creative in how we do things offensively to take advantage or help us find ways to move the ball."
Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart
On how Georgia Tech will attack Maryland's defense:
"It's not necessarily the Maryland game per se, as it is their plan of attack. They have a plan if you're at an odd front, and they have a plan if you're an even front. They want to run certain plays to the shade, and they want to run certain plays to the three technique, so they have a very distinct plan, and if you overplay certain things they have a counter for it. They run their offense very well, it's a very efficient offense."
On slowing down Georgia Tech's offense early in the game:
"I think that's the most important thing. The very first 12 plays versus anybody is tough, because those are scripted plays as you know. Against an offense that you're going to see once a year, the speed is incredible. There's no way you're going to catch up to that speed until game time. You can't get your scout teams to do it, you can't get your offense to do it unless they run it at that same speed. The motions, the wingbacks and all that stuff... The speed, it takes you a second or two to get caught up."
On how the defense played on Boston College's game-winning drive:
"I think when you look at a game, and obviously that last part I've looked over many times, I think that the main thing is you have to do what you're supposed to do all across the board. We run our best coverages, our best run stunts and our best pass stunts. Man-to-man we have to do what we're supposed to do, do our job."
On what impresses him the most about Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington:
"What impresses me the most is his vision before the snap. I think he does a good job of having a pretty clean idea of where he wants to run at. Whether it's the option, the dive, or the mid-line, he has a pretty good idea. He looks at our leverage and knows whether he wants to pitch it, or whether he wants to keep it. So I think he's done a good job for them in that stance."
On senior defensive lineman A.J. Francis:
"You know A.J. has done a great job for me, so I can't speak for how he was before. But I think he's done a good job of buying in, playing hard, and playing big. I think he's done a good job of just playing to his size. I think that's a testament to him and him wanting to be a good player, and doing the little things like watching the tape and knowing his opponent."
On if the 3-4 gives the defense a better opportunity to get to the points of exchange:
"It's one of those, `I'll find out Saturday.' I like to think so, but Paul Johnson has seen so much and you know all the [military] academies are 3-4, so it's not like I'm a surprise. I know he's going to be well prepared, and he's going to have his play selection."
Freshman Wide Receiver Nigel King
On transitioning to starting:
"Not much has changed. Coaches have always told me to practice like I am starting so now that I am starting I am doing the same thing. I am trying to step up now and make plays."
On his first career catch against North Carolina State:
"That catch was a pretty big deal in that game. At the time when I caught it I thought we could still win it. It was a big deal since it was against North Carolina State which is my hometown school. It changed how I felt and got my confidence up. I felt pretty good after that."
On preparing for Georgia Tech:
"We are approaching this game just like any other game. We are evaluating their defensive backs and it's pretty much the same game plan as any other week."
On sitting out last season:
"Last year was one of the tougher years of my life. I had never sat out of football before. I had been playing football for at least ten straight years. Sitting out last year was tough. It was hard for me to get up and go to class and come to study hall and do everything because it felt like I wasn't on the team. I had to force myself to get through that because I knew one day it would be over and I would be with my teammates."
On coming back to football:
"I think I took a big step from where I was in the spring. When I came back in the spring my technique wasn't that good. I had to get used to running routes again. Now I am back to my normal self and everything is pretty good now."
On the mentality of the team:
"We want to try and stay focused. We have some guys who have some dings on them but everyone knows what we have to do to get to our goal. I was around for the 2-00 season so everyone wants to go to a bowl.
Freshman Offensive Lineman Evan Mulrooney
On the team's reaction to Caleb Rowe's injury:
"It was tough to see Caleb [Rowe] go down. It really hurt because of the type of person he is and the energy he has. To see him go down it took the wind out of our sails. Everyone is still looking on the bright side. [Shawn] Petty is a good player; we will be fine."
On Shawn Petty:
"The way [Shawn] Petty shows himself is great. He is very mature for his age. He handles himself very well. He has been taking what Coach Locksley has been saying to him and taking it in stride. He is getting better and better. He is a great guy to be around and we all have a lot of confidence in him."
On the team's mentality:
"We are still looking on the bright side of things. We are looking at the week ahead of us and striving to be 5-4. We aren't focused on anything other than that, just this week and the task at hand."
On the running game:
"We have been practicing and focusing a lot on it. Individually we are working on technique and powering guys out of the hole. The running backs are starting to click with getting the reads down and their confidence. They are getting a lot of experience and it is helping them out a lot. We are all trying to get better."
On Wes Brown:
"Wes [Brown] is a beast, I love blocking for him. He gets out there and he had some big long runs against NC State. He runs around and over guys. He is hooting and hollering. It is great to see a young guy stepping up like he has. He goes out every week and practices very hard and come game day he is ready to rock."
On his comfort with Shawn Petty:
"This week he has been the guy. I have taken all of my reps with him. Last week I had some reps with him taking snaps and getting ready. I feel comfortable with him."
Senior Defensive Lineman Joe Vellano
On Shawn Petty:
"He was pretty good just behind some of the older guys at linebacker. I have seen him throw the ball and he can do that. It's just getting the mental part of the position. They are coaching him up hard getting him ready."
On how quickly Petty has been forced to adjust to quarterback:
"It happened so fast but what are you going to do. He has to adapt and step up."
On the last drive against Boston College:
"We have been playing things that we know. We have to get off the field at the end of the game. We have to close them out and not let it get to that point. We have to show up every week and it doesn't matter who we are playing and what their record is."