Edsall Talks Terps on Media Day

Below is the transcript from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall at the Big Ten's media day July 30:

Below is the transcript from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall at the Big Ten's media day July 30:

Q. Just in terms of talking about the switch on defense from 3-4 to 4-3, how do you see that improving Maryland's defense going forward this year?

COACH EDSALL: Well, when you just mentioned those stats, that's one of the reasons why we made the switch, because we weren't real successful as we would have liked to be in really, a hybrid 3-4 defense. So when you take a look at our personnel, we felt that our personnel would be suited better in the 4-3. And now what happens is that, you know, we can get Yannick Ngakoue to put his hand down, and I think he'll even be more effective playing on the edge.

But really more from a personnel standpoint, we felt it would be better for us. We made a move where we took Cavon Walker and moved him from linebacker to a defensive end. We've got big guys up front with David Shaw and Kingsley Opara and then Quinton Jefferson coming back and Malik Jones and Brett Kulka, kids that we registered last year. So we felt we had a little bit more depth, and we were more able to do the things that we felt our linebackers and defensive linemen were able to do and that's where we want to be able to attack downhill a little bit faster than we did before, get those double teams off the defensive linemen. And that singles people up. Plus it gives us a chance to be a little bit more aggressive on defense, which is what we want to be able to do.

Q. Coach, you're returning a cornerback, Will Likely, here in 2015. How do you expect him to elevate the play of your secondary?

COACH EDSALL: Well, Will is one of those rare and unique young men. You know, he's just got some special attributes about himself. He might be 5'8", but he plays like he's 6'4".

But the thing that Will does, Will brings a presence to the defense and to the secondary, one of hard work, one of preparation, and somebody that's got to find a way to be successful.

The thing that I've really liked that I've seen happen for Will is Will has been a lot more vocal since the season ended. He's taken on more of a leadership role with our team. And the players respect him. I don't know if I've been around a guy that's so competitive. You see what he does for us on special teams as a punt returner, as a kick returner. You know, he's very valuable. But the other thing is he's a very humble kid. But his leadership, his work ethic really rubs off on everybody else in our program.

Q. Coach, can you tell us a bit about Daxx Garman, the transfer from Oklahoma State for the quarterback. How do you feel he's progressing and fitting in at Maryland?

COACH EDSALL: The good news about Daxx is we just found out two days ago we had to submit a waiver for him to be eligible, and the waiver was granted. So we now finally cleared that last hurdle. So Daxx is eligible, ready to go. But he's a young man that went to Arizona first and then had the coaching change and then went from Arizona to Oklahoma State. Started games there at Oklahoma State, won games. Very smart. Very cerebral. Throws a very catchable and accurate ball.

And so he's coming in, and he's challenging Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills for the quarterback job. But the thing that I like about him, he's an experienced young man. He's a young man that won at a very high level. Came from a very good high school program. And somebody that has adapted and fit in very, very well, you know, with our team.

And the one thing at our quarterback position, we basically had three guys in Caleb, Daxx, and Perry who have won games in a power five conference. So at least we have experience, and it's going to be neat to see the competition unfold here in the preseason.

Q. You've got some extremely talented recruits in the DMV to UMD movement. In your opinion, how is the movement going? And what does the future of the movement look like?

COACH EDSALL: The one thing that I think that has helped our recruiting is by being in the Big Ten. The exposure that we've received since coming to the Big Ten, I think, has been instrumental with recruiting. I think because of what we've been able to do with our total program not only just on the field but what we've been able to accomplish in the classroom, the things that we've been able to do with our players from a holistic standpoint has really resonated with the folks in the DMV area.

The one thing that I always knew is that, that area, the DMV area, was very talented. When I was at Connecticut, we recruited that extensively, and we had some really good players from that area.

So the one thing that I've always known from a coaching standpoint, the more that you can keep kids in your region at home that fit what you're looking for, the better opportunity you have. Because sometimes the further away you have to go, the more difficult it becomes.

But we've been able to get kids in our program that are excited about where they're from. They're excited about doing something for their home state, their home area. And you know presently some of the young men that we're recruiting have really taken that to a new level for us.

I think in this day and age of recruiting, the more you can have your recruits recruiting the other recruits, you know, it's a big advantage and especially if they know each other, they're from the same area, they played against each other. They have that respect and admiration. And they know, hey, anything that we want to accomplish with our college career, you know, we can do it close to home. And we can do it by their families and friends.

And then I think we're fortunate because of where we're located, being eight miles from the nation's capital and the opportunities that that presents for our kids to do internships, to take advantage of helping to set their life up after football is a big advantage. And it's really resonated with the young people that we're recruiting.

Q. What was the biggest thing you or your coaching staff took away from your first time through the Big Ten? COACH EDSALL: Well, I think that we found out that it was really a lineman league. That you had to be able to win in the trenches if you were going to be successful, week in, week out, year in, and year out.

We found that the one thing is that there's very passionate fans. Always knew there was good coaches and good players in the Big Ten. But I think from the standpoint for our players, it was just the physicality and also different from the ACC where, again, it was more of a lineman league so to speak.

And I don't mean that there's not skilled people in the Big Ten. But there, you better be able to control the line of scrimmage if you're going to give yourself a chance to win.

Q. To go back to recruiting, how much momentum have you been able to find off of the Penn State win from a year ago? And why do you consider that program to be your rival? COACH EDSALL: Well, I think the one thing is in terms of any time that you beat teams from your area or if you beat a team that you haven't had really particular success against -- when you're 1-35-1 against a program that you played consistently, you know, through the '60s, the '70s, the '80s and those eras, to be able to go and beat them in Happy Valley for the first time and the first time you've ever beaten them there and also the first time since 1961, I think it showed kids in our area that we can compete with them and we can win.

And I think kids look at that. High school kids look at that. And Penn State has always had a niche for being able to come down to Maryland and take players up there. And that's one of the things that we knew if we wanted to get some recruits, we'd have to beat them on the field. It's no different than when I was at Syracuse.

At one time, Syracuse dominated Penn State. And then all of a sudden, there was a stretch where Penn State dominated Syracuse. And we beat them two years in a row, and it helped us with recruiting. So any time you can beat teams on the field, it helps you in recruiting.

And then the second part is just I think the proximity between the two schools. You hope that that can develop into a rivalry because I think those things are good. But again, those things do take time. But the only way that you can create a rival is by beating teams on the field. And that's what we know we have to do if we want to try to have rivalries in the Big Ten.

Q. Coach, what's it like for you guys to have a weapon like Brad Craddock in a sport where kickers sometimes can be a liability for college teams? How big is it to have a guy like that with NFL ability already?

COACH EDSALL: It's great to have somebody like Brad who is consistent as he is. But then also it's -- sometimes it's a little -- it could be a little bit of a crutch for the head coach in terms of making those decisions because you know you've got a guy that can put the ball through consistently. But you might have a feel that, hey, you can -- you can go for that two yards or three yards or one yard or whatever. And you might be able to get it. But gets you thinking sometimes because you've got Mr. Automatic on the sideline.

But the thing that I think is neat about Brad is the fact that he came here as a punter from Australia and then worked very, very hard to become a kicker. And then to become the best kicker in the country is a tremendous story for him. And then just -- you know, the thing that's really interesting about him, the best leader that we have on our football team is Brad Craddock.

And to share a little story with you because to me that's what it's all about, it's all about the student-athletes, but Brad came to me after last season and said to me -- and we have a leadership council at the University of Maryland. And I take one player from each position and take a special team’s guy.

And he came to me and he said, Coach, he said, I want to really head this leadership council up. And he said, I know we can be a lot better. So we had sat down.

And I told him, I said, You come to me with who you feel can be leaders on our football team and get accomplished the things that we want to get accomplished. And we had a couple meetings.

But, really, I mean, he and I agreed just about on every one except I think maybe one guy. And then I kind of put it in his control to take care of business and do those things. And I meet with them during the season once a week. Met with them in the off-season maybe every two weeks.

But I tell you, in 17 years as a head coach, I've never had the leadership that we have right now on our team. And it's all because of Brad Craddock and what he's done. And last year he -- we were talking what he was doing. And I went in front of our team and I said, you know, some of you guys need to go and sit down with Brad and talk to him in terms of how he was able to transform himself the way he did. And he came all the way from Australia not knowing anybody. And Yannick Ngakoue, our outstanding defensive end, went and spent three hours with Brad and gained knowledge from Brad. And then that started to spread and to permeate to where we are now. So not only is he a great kicker, he's a great person. He's a great leader.

And I'll tell you one thing: He's a very, very special, special person.

TerrapinTimes Top Stories