Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley answered questions from the media on Wednesday, before the Terps season-opener against Florida International on Saturday.
Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley
On the backup quarterback job:
"It's been kind of one of those things that's been day-to-day. You would love to come and say that someone's just the clear-cut guy. Coming out of camp, I'd say they've both had their moment… that's Ricardo and Caleb. It's something we'd like to try to figure out sooner rather than later. We'd like someone to step up and maybe take ownership of it and we've haven't gotten that. We've gotten some inconsistent play out of both those guys and they both do certain things well. Until one of them shows the consistency necessary to be the No. 2 guy, we'll have to go with both those guys and use them in a fashion that utilizes their skill sets."
On if quarterback Perry Hills is 100 percent recovered from his ACL injury:
"I'm not the medical staff, but I saw Perry at 100 percent last year and it's safe to say that I don't think he's back to where he was at the point prior to his injury."
On if he's concerned about the backup quarterback spot:
"No, we've got to get C.J. [Brown] ready to play. Caleb's [Rowe] played in some games. Obviously, Ricardo [Young] hasn't played in a meaningful game at the college level, but he's a veteran guy who's been in a few different systems. We've got a guy like Perry who started six games for us. I'm not that concerned over whom that guy is, I'm concerned we haven't had a guy separate himself. Any one of those guys is capable of going out there if something were to happen to C.J., but we want to put the best guy out there and right now we don't know who that guy is if something were to happen to C.J."
On Brandon Ross being named the No 1 running back:
"Brandon's a guy who last year was the No. 1 guy prior to being injured. I do foresee him and Albert [Reid] taking meaningful reps. In this day and age, having just one guy be the tailback is not the norm, but I think Brandon has made some plays for us. Graded out, we also feel like we have a 1B in Albert who can go out there. I think Brandon will be the first guy you see run out there with the one offense, but I'm sure you'll see a lot of Albert Reid as well."
On how running Brandon Ross has progressed:
"The big thing with Brandon is that there's a lot more of a comfort level in the system. I think last year he was a guy that made a lot of mistakes and even though the abilities were there, you didn't know if he'd be in the right place. I think now the consistency of the same offensive system two years in a row, he has a grasp of it and it's kind of taken away the thought process that went on last year. Now he's just out reacting. I think that can be said for all the guys. Being in the same system two years in a row, there is a familiarity and a comfort level. You're seeing some of these guys play faster."
On fullback Kenneth Goins:
"Well, we need him. Obviously with the situation at fullback with [Tyler] Cierski being out, we do like to utilize the fullback in our system. We feel like Kenny has done some things. He's a multi-purpose type guy who gives us the ability as a runner, as a blocker and as a pass catcher. We're going to need him to step in and play big with Tyler being out."
On how the new personnel affects the play calling:
"I've been of the opinion that you do what your personnel allows you to do. We're going to put the five best skill players on the field outside of our offensive line and try to find ways to get the guys that have shown us they have playmaking abilities. Last year, I had to call plays based on the personnel and I'll do the same thing this year.
"You find out each year. Last year, we had three veteran tight ends, guys that had played a lot of football, and we had personnel grouping that took advantage of having that. This year, we'll see once we start on Saturday where we are, but we feel pretty confident and comfortable we'll put our best personal groupings on the field and then continue to find ways to call plays to get the playmakers the football."
On how teams will game plan for wide receiver Stefon Diggs:
"I would say most defensive coordinators want to try to make you, as we like to say, left handed. They're going to figure out who your strengths are and try to defend against those. I think one of the beauties of this year is we feel we've got a bit more balance to where we have some other skill players. Not that we didn't have those guys last year, but we have an influx of talent that allows us to spray the football around and still get that same type of playmaking ability that we got out of Stefon last year.
On having the same coaching staff as last season:
"I think continuity is the key to any successful program. Across the board, if you look at all the great teams, teams that have been successful year in and year out, it usually starts with the continuity of the head coach being in place. I know for us on the offensive side of the ball, not having to come in and teach my system to the coaches and then have them go out and teach it to their players. Now there is a familiarity with how I call things, how the system works, and it made it a little easier from an install standpoint. As far as gelling, we're all professionals. I've got some experienced guys in the room. Some guys that have coached football at the top levels and it's great to have different resources to reach out and lean on when you game plan. Each guy has some ownership in what we do."
On the coaching staff being in close quarters during preseason camp:
"I wouldn't say get sick of each other. There are some times where we get moody and you need your personal space. We work it out through. It's a great group and they all get on well."
On the two freshmen tight ends:
"Obviously, one of those guys has been with us from start to finish with the install and the other was a guy we moved over midway through camp, Derrick Heyward. I think they both have some talent. Obviously, Andrew [Isaacs] is a bit bigger and comes in more physically ready to go out and help us, but I think Derrick Heyward has a tremendous upside as an athletic, long, tall athlete. He catches the ball well, runs really well. I think they both have bright futures."
On his confidence level with the offensive line:
"We're going to put the best five guys out there on the football field. I've got confidence in [assistant coach – offensive line] Tom Brattan that he's going to find a way to put a unit out there that'll be able to execute the plan that we put in place. I think those guys have worked well together. We feel like we've gotten some continuity where we've had the same five guys, but it's still a work in progress. I like the way it's coming along up front."
On whether they made an attempt to get more athletic on the offensive line:
"You always want to be athletic up front in most offenses. I don't know a lot of guys nowadays that don't want the big guys that are athletic. Moving Michael Dunn inside definitely increases our athleticism. To have a guy that has a tackle skill set play guard allows us to do some things from a movement standpoint. We feel like his move to guard was predicated on trying to get the best five and putting them on the field. Tom [Brattan] and Coach Edsall have done a great job of figuring that out and moving the pieces to try to give us a chance to go out and win."
On making sure wide receiver Stefon Diggs doesn't press:
"I think that's always the coaching point with your playmakers is that you've got to allow the game to come to you. Don't try to do too much and take what they give you. He's just got a special knack for making big plays out of little things. That's a natural given talent that he has and as a play caller, it's great to have a guy who can take a base play, make a few guys miss, and take it the distance. You don't want to under coach it or over coach it, but I think there's something that you take from a guy like Stefon is ‘Hey, let's make sure that we're making the routine play and not hurting the team by trying to do too much. Let's take what the defense gives you and if you have the opportunity to make that play better, then do it.'"
On the biggest surprise from preseason camp:
"It's so hard for me to say that right now just because I'm in game mode from the standpoint of game planning, but I think there's a number of guys. Michael Dunn, a former walk-on, who's probably going to start his first game as a guard. Obviously, he's done some things well. I've been happy and pleased with the way C.J.'s [Brown] progressed. Having Nigel [King] step up and the Deon's [Long] of the world come together, it's too hard to say which one guy has been the biggest surprise, but I'm pleased with the way it's coming along. We still have a lot of work to do up front. We have a lot of inexperienced players on the offensive side of the ball that we've got to use every minute up until game time to get ready to play."
VIDEO: Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley
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