ACC Teleconference: Randy Edsall

Maryland coach Randy Edsall answered questions from the media during Wednesday's ACC teleconference.


RANDY EDSALL: Well, we are excited to get the ball kicked off here in 2013 and thought that we have had a pretty healthy and productive preseason. Now looking forward to our guys going out there and playing on Saturday afternoon.

Q. Just talk about this FIU team, and they have a quarterback in Medlock who had a pretty good year last year, only two interceptions with 13 touchdowns and a pretty good running game. Just talk about FIU's offense going into the first game.

RANDY EDSALL: Well, you just basically said who their leader is there on offense in terms of Jake Medlock coming back, and he's an outstanding quarterback and one that's going to be playing in a different system this year, going to a more pro-style offense than a spread offense that they were in a year ago. They have lost some running backs. They have lost some receivers. But still, a very talented football team offensively, and a good, cohesive offensive line that's coming back. But everything on offense revolves around a very good quarterback in Jake Medlock.

Q. How is C.J. Brown looking this preseason?

RANDY EDSALL: C.J. has had a very good preseason. He's moving very well. He's throwing the ball very, very well. Very excited about the opportunity to get out there and start since that was kind of taken away from him last year due to injury but just been very impressed with how he's come back from his injury and how he's been running our offense and really, really eager and anxious to watch him go out and perform on Saturday. I think that, you know, he'll perform well.

Q. Talk about these opening games. Every year it seems like it's a tough game for Maryland to win, and last year you won by one point; what do you have to do on Saturday to not have that situation?

RANDY EDSALL: To me, whatever you've got to do to win, whether it's by one point or however many points it is. I just want to see us go out there and play to the best of our ability and go out and play a physical football game, play a game where we are not committing a lot of unforced errors, and you know, have our guys go out and have fun and play hard. If we do that, then we give ourselves a chance and you've got to be aware of all situations in an opening game. Plus with a new coaching staff at Florida International, there's no tape on them in terms of their schemes and what they are doing.

Again, a lot of their guys graduated and you don't see a lot of their guys on tape that are going to be in there two-deep. Again, there's a lot of uncertainty but the bottom line is we have to take care of ourselves and our guys have prepared well and we have to be ready to go out there and play on Saturday.

Q. I noticed you shuffled some things around on your offensive line in preseason practices. How does the group look now that you're in game preparation mode?

RANDY EDSALL: I wanted to make sure that I got our five best guys out on the field and whether it's guys that were guards or tackles, and basically we moved Michael Dunn from tackle into guard and those five, Mike Madaras, De'Onte Arnett, Sal Conaboy, Mike Dunn and Ryan Doyle have played well. We were experimenting all during the preseason with a couple of those guys, but most of those guys were entrenched in the positions they were in. It's a line that will continue to get better, and one that has worked well together so far. Again, the more that they are together, the better they will be, and they will know that Andrew Zeller will be the third guard for us, and then what we'll do is have Evan Mulrooney who has played before, can be a backup center, and then Moses Larose row has moved into the two-deep as a true freshman and do that. But hopefully we won't have any injuries and we can stay with those five all year.

Q. Piggybacking off that, with Michael Dunn, what has he done to elevate himself at the starting spot and what has he done over the last year, from walking on to scout teams and starting the opener for you guys?

RANDY EDSALL: I was impressed with Michael when he got here last year with his athletic ability and his ability to bend. He tried to work as hard as he could last year and just get bigger, stronger. He's a smart young man. And then in the spring, he showed us some more things and then this preseason over the summer, he worked really hard and he got added some more weight and added strength. And he's just gone out and won a job, based on his performance, based on his production.

For a young man that came in here as a walk-on and then showing what he did, it was easy for me to reward him with a scholarship, something that he's earned, and now we are looking forward to him going out and play. Just a young man that I think is just going to continue to get better with the more he plays and all the experience he'll be gaining.

Q. I've seen this term leadership council used with more and more teams. Curious how long you've been doing it and who you might have picked it up from and how you've tweaked it over the years.

RANDY EDSALL: Well, I've always kind of had a leadership council in the spring when we came back from winter conditioning and had guys we talked to and then of course, we picked captains from that. When I took a look at the makeup of our team this year, and we had guys in our winter conditioning program that were in that leadership council, so I took a look at us in the spring and said, we are going to be a very young team. We only have two senior starts on an offense and two senior starts on defense, and we don't have a lot of seniors, even in our two deep.I just didn't think that it was going to be fair for our team to have one or two guys lead a group of 105. I felt we needed more leadership. I thought by taking a person at each position, plus a specialist, and then also another young man that we added to the council here in the preseason, I just felt the more that we had, the better we could be. And again, it gets back to the makeup of your team.
As a coach, you look at it and you say, really, do you have a couple really strong personalities that can be captains for you, or do you feel because of your youth and inexperience a little bit, that it's better to have the leadership council. I just felt that we needed to have that leadership and then based on who practices the best during the week, those guys will go out and be the game captains for us.
The leadership council is who you lean on. So if I have got an issue, I can go to those guys and say, you have to get on this guy are your position. So you put a little bit more responsibility on them managing their position, and then also four or five guys managing the defense, and then you've got a group of 11 guys managing, really, the wholeteam.

Q. So the total number of players in the leadership council is, what, 11?

RANDY EDSALL: We've got 11, yeah. We have one for each position and offensive line, tight ends, running back, quarterback, wide receivers, and then D-line, outside linebackers, inside linebackers, secondary, have our long snapper representing really the special teams. Then we had a young man that the players came to me felt should have been added to the leadership council, and I agreed with them, so we added him this preseason, so we have a total of 11.

Q. What have you learned about your defense in this preseason that maybe you were wondering about going into August?

RANDY EDSALL: Well, I think the one thing is we have more depth on defense than what we have had before and we have got some guys that can really run. I think that we are going to be able to play guys up front that can help us, and just a group that's communicated a lot better this preseason.

Really, the second year into the scheme, I think really understand the scheme even better now than what they did in the spring. I've just been pleased with how they have worked and how they have really communicated and how they have kind of really come together as a unit and starting to really understand what their responsibility is and understanding what everybody else's responsible ties are and how they fit and just making sure that they take care of doing their job.

Q. Anything you're still kind of interested to see how the defense plays on Saturday?

RANDY EDSALL: I'm anxious to see how everybody plays on Saturday. It's the start of a new year, and I'm anxious to see how they run around and hit people and make sure that they don't give up any easy plays or things along those lines, so, yeah, I'm anxious to see them play.

Q. More depth in the defensive rotation on the line -- have you got an idea of how many guys they are going to use in the rotation and how that's going to work out?

RANDY EDSALL: You know, I've got an idea in terms of how many guys we would play and we'll sit down tomorrow and talk more about it as a staff in terms of how we might rotate guys in there.But again, I think, you know, with our defensive line, we could possibly have six to seven guys that could play in there for us, and you know, we'll wait until after we get done practice today and see how guys practice and see where we are from a health standpoint and make some of those decisions and determinations tomorrow before we go to practice and really practice how we are going to substitute for the game on Saturday.

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