Quotes from Spring Preview

TSR caught up with several Maryland football players to discuss the optimism headed into the spring.

Senior defensive lineman Joe Vellano:

Q: How do you like the new scheme?

Good, a lot of guys are playmakers on the field that want a lot of pressure. I think our front seven has a lot of game experience now. It's going to set us forward.

Q: How has life changed for you up front in a 3-4?

I'm going to be playing the 3-tech, as well as probably a little nose, and then I'll play the 5-tech a little too but I'll always have a guy outside me so I'm not the technical end. Good fit for me, just a little change here and there you've got to get used to.

Q: What jumps out about Brian Stewart, your new coordinator?

He's played with some serious players and he knows how to really get guys in positions to make plays, and we've got a lot of those guys. He'll just be coaching and say stuff like 'You know this could change depending on who we're playing or scouting reports,' so I like that he's a big film guy and stuff is going to change every week.

Q: How tough was it for you to see players like Danny O'Brien and Max Garcia leave the program?

It's tough. Great players are good guys. It's just one of those things where with different situations guys have to do what they have to do. We've moved on as well, really, and are just getting ready for next year and focusing on us.

Q: Are the guys that are left ready to go and prove this team?

Definitely, Coach Stewart and Coach Locks are great guys off the field and good motivators as well. Coach Stewart is a really upbeat guy, early bird and all that…he really just wants to get on the field as well. The biggest thing with us is just getting this defense down. We've got to hit that hard off the field as well, looking at the playbooks.

Q: Does the 2-10 record just go out the window now?

You have to do that, really. You just have to move on, it is what it is. Every year is a new team. I love those guys to death, but there's new guys coming in, other guys moving out. New players, new team, and I think everybody just really wants to get that taste out of their mouth and the best way to do it is just get back out on the field.

Q: You were all-ACC this past year, but which points of your game are you trying to improve on?

Really just tackles for loss and sacks. I really want to increase it, and the best way to do it is playing a lot of plays and selling out knowing there are guys who can rotate in.

Q: C.J.s mindset right now, do you see a new air of confidence or comfort?

It's more comfort now without someone always on his shoulder, worrying about one bad pass. He can kind of get all spring to run with the ones, all summer to work on his own, and preseason stuff. It's kind of a new system as well for [the offense]. We've just got to really hit hard for the next five weeks and fine-tune it.

Senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield

Q: What do you like best about this new defense?

The aggressive style. It's definitely different from what we played last year.

Q: What do you think about Brian Stewart?

I like Coach Stewart; he's been very enthusiastic so far. I can't wait to see how he is in practice.

Q: How did the whole offseason competition foster more camaraderie and responsibility?

I'm all for how we did offseason. It's so much more competitive around here, between stuff in the weight room and in the classroom. There's so much stuff that we do as a competition and I think it has helped the team a lot. Even though we're competing against each other I feel like it has brought everybody together.

Q: What are the key points of emphasis for improvement in your own game?

I just feel like I have to play faster, all the time. I feel like I ended the season pretty good, so I need to play like that consistently throughout the whole year.

Q: Who is a younger player you think can really breakout this spring?

I think Jeremiah [Johnson] is going to have a real good spring. I know a lot of people might not know who he is but I definitely think he's going to have a good year.

Q: How does the team recover when you lose someone like Danny O'Brien?

For myself, I'm real close to Danny. He's one of my good friends, but when things like that happen you can't really dwell on them. You just hope for the best for that person and just move on. You've got to look at the brighter side of things.

Senior tight end Matt Furstenburg

Q: Talk about the new offense, and how it plays to your strengths.

Coach Locksley came up to me the other day and said, 'You want to catch 70 balls?' And I said yeah, so I guess it's going to work to my advantage and hopefully so. But we'll see in spring ball.

Q: How is it similar or different to last year?

Every offense is very similar to each other; it's just different scheme aspects the offensive coordinator puts in. I haven't totally understood it yet, but we'll find out more in spring ball.

Q: How is the overall look and feel of the offense now with Locksley?

He's just a down-to-earth guy but he knows what he wants, and he wants to win. He knows the tools to get it and knows his offense has had a lot of success but has also been bad. It all depends on the players we have so he's really building the offense around the athleticism and the best players we've got.

Q: What's the feeling like when there's only one scholarship player on campus and what's your confidence level in C.J. taking the next step?

It's tough for one quarterback to take the reps but we do have another quarterback coming in for helping with spring ball, so that's going to be a big help for him. He's taking the leadership role on great, just leading the offense and leading workouts that don't deal with coaches. He wants to win just as bad as anyone else here.

Q: Have you seen a difference in attitude or comfort level with him knowing that he's now 'the guy?'

I think he's got more of a confidence level, but I don't think he's letting back at all. It's not stopping him from achieving what he wants to achieve.

Q: What do you need to do better at tight end to take the next step?

I can always get better at blocking. I need to be more physical, and focus on catching on the ball. Limit my drops, I would say. That would make me a smarter player.

Q: After the 2-10 season the team is on to bigger and better things. Is there a renewed confidence?

Yeah, I think so. Two new coaches, so I think people have thrown last year away. We're focusing on the 2012 season.

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