Randy Edsall's Fireside Chat

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Here are the news and notes from Randy Edsall's weekly Fireside Chat Nov. 13.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- It seems every week now Terps right guard Andrew Zeller's name is popping up on either game captain, flag bearer or game ball lists for Maryland football.

Nov. 15 he will be the Terps offensive captain as 6-3, 3-2 Big Ten Maryland welcomes No. 10/12 Michigan State to Byrd Stadium for the 8 p.m. "black out" game before an expected sellout crowd, Maryland's second of the season.

And like the Terps offensive line, which still had some growing up, physically maturing to do heading into the season, Zeller has made strides, and big ones, each week, Edsall said on Nov. 13 at his Fireside Chat at the Gossett Football Team House.

"He's gotten better, he's gotten better," Edsall said. "He's working at it. I think he is playing with a lot more confidence now, and I think that's what happens when he's playing as much as he has and doing what he is doing. He's putting in the time and the effort and you see it paying off for him, which is good because he is a really good kid. A really good kid, one of the hardest workers that we have."

Edsall is also pleased that his starting five up front has stayed healthy and intact, knock on wood, all season, and has held up despite some adversity. The Terps still haven't been able to muster much of a ground attack, though pass pro has been solid. Zeller, a 6-4, 300-pound junior, chose Maryland over a group of schools that included both Oregon and Michigan State. You may not find a more "all American" type guy than Zeller, a country guy/'road grader' from Pennsylvania whose life ambition is to be a U.S. Marshall.

And this week of all weeks the Terps' trench-men are going to have to hold up against the most physical defensive front they have faced all season in MSU's Top 10 defense and No. 2 takeaway unit.

Joining Zeller (offense) as game captains for Nov. 15 are L.A. Goree (defense) and Jermaine Carter (special teams).

Meanwhile, Edsall named as scout team players of the week Joe Marchese on offense, Avery Thompson on defense, and Eric Roca on special teams.

Flag bearers for Nov. 15 are Matt Robinson (United States flag) and Wes Brown (Maryland state flag).

And as everyone knows by now, the Terps will be wearing Under Armour 'black ops' uniforms.

On another topic, Edsall said all the true freshmen that have played this season, including receiver Juwann Winfree and linebacker Jesse Aniebonam, have begun to see the game slow down for them and make more strides.

"You can see the difference as the season goes on," Edsall said of the rookie crop. "And when you talk to them they will tell you the same thing, that things have slowed down for them. And again, the amount of reps they are getting, the amount of coaching that they are getting day after day after day after day, you can see the productivity, see the confidence. I think that's the biggest thing for those guys, it's the confidence that builds up playing. And also having some success."

Edsall said it has reinforced what they saw in the recruiting process "both as players and people. And they are all guys that want to work to get better. And [defensive tackle] David Shaw is another, you see him getting better with the time that he has been in. Those are going to be the guys that are contributors as they continue to grow and develop. And again, it's hard, really hard for freshmen coming in."

Edsall said the Terps schedule won't change much given the first night game, as he is "a creature of habit." The only difference is a walk-thru at Byrd on Nov. 15 before the game to get them up and out and the hotel and not sitting around all day. That will be followed by some meetings, Fellowship Service, pregame meal and then leave the hotel at 5:30 p.m. for the game.

Edsall said they have followed the same bye week schedule as they did pre-Iowa, while he enjoyed hitting the recruiting trail during the time off. Edsall attended three high school games last weekend during the bye.

"It's always good to get out, good to go and see the different venues, different communities, and how football is perceived or how they get behind it in different areas," Edsall said. "I was at three really good rivalry games that were well attended, intense, and really fun to watch. That was a good thing, and it's neat to be able to do that. And it breaks the routine up for us as coaches instead of being in your office game-planning and everything else all the time. I enjoy that part, I really enjoy that."

Meanwhile, Edsall said sophomore tight end Andrew Isaacs had successful knee surgery two weeks ago before the bye week, and is off crutches already. Meanwhile, corner Alvin Hill will have shoulder surgery today. He had knee surgery last month.

Off the field, both tight end P.J. Gallo and Zach Dancel made Big Ten district all-academic honors last week.

"Those two kids, they do a good job, a good job in the classroom," Edsall said.

Edsall also lauded Shawne Merriman for his annual coat drive, which will take place Nov. 15 at Byrd, while he said both A.J. Francis and Dexter McDougle have checked in to attend the game.

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