COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Quotes from Tuesday’s press conference at the University of Maryland celebrating the 50th anniversary of Darryl Hill becoming the first African-American to play at Maryland and in the ACC; and quotes from head coach Randy Edsall’s weekly press conference.
Kevin Anderson, Director of Athletics
“This is a very special time for me because if it wasn’t for pioneers like Darryl, I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair today. There are many people in this room, outside of this room and that play on this football team that have that deep appreciation for someone like Darryl in terms of what he did in trying times and becoming the man we all know. Darryl’s success isn’t only on the football field but in business and he was a very good student as well.
“Not too many people live a lifetime and display the kind of courage Darryl has demonstrated not only at that time but throughout life and where he is today. We all have a strong appreciation for him.”
Randy Edsall, Head Football Coach
“From a coach’s perspective, one of the things that you always tell your players is to believe in who you are and have a belief in things you want to get done but also be a leader and blaze a trail where no one else has gone. Here’s Darryl who is that person who stood out here for Maryland and the ACC and to know he blazed that trail for other people to have the opportunities to go to school in the ACC and play football and get a great education is something that goes down in history. As the head football coach at Maryland, it’s great to have him as part of the family. That he can teach our guys and talk to our guys about what he did is very significant.”
“First let me thank Kevin [Anderson] for letting me do this and creating this event and taking our great athletic program in the right direction. Kevin has done a tremendous job and the future is rosy and bright. I have to commend Coach for a tremendous victory Saturday and we are on top of the ACC and I can’t be more proud of the football team this year. I think this is a team that’s persevered against all odds and have come out on top and the future is bright there too. I would like to thank Zack Bolno – the SID at Maryland – too, for putting this event on. It’s a tremendous effort by him.
“I want to thank my teammates personally. Tom Rae, John Langton, Joe Mona and Bob Everd. They’ve all been supporters and I tell you what back in the day when times were tough without this team I never would have made it.
“Maryland took the lead in the nation in terms of taking the walls of segregation down from sports. Before Maryland brought me here and if you were black and you lived in the south, you could not play for your home team. When I came along I was the first varsity athlete to receive a scholarship in any sport at any major university in the south. So it was a big deal. Things changed. The good thing is they changed rapidly.”
“My career here was a memorable career and one I’ll never forget.”
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Head coach Randy Edsall
“We’ve got a tough challenge coming up Saturday against North Carolina State here for Homecoming. You see a team there who has a quarterback Mike Glennon who’s playing very well for them. They have a big offensive line. They are a team that is running the ball well and throwing well with good skill athletes.
“We are going to have our hands full defensively and again a big aggressive pressure defense we seem to face every week and I think we are getting better at that. Our guys will be ready to get back out there today and we’ll see how some of these guys perform who got nicked up last week and hopefully they’ll all be ready to play.
“One thing that is really interesting and what stood out to me is when you look at Perry Hills in the fourth quarter. He’s 24 of 35 for 390 yards and two touchdowns. So when the game is on the line he is performing at his best and again, very pleased about that.
“Also we have very high expectations about what we want to accomplish and I know for us to continue to get better and move forward we have to eliminate a lot of those explosive plays against us. They’ve been playing hard. I just thought last week for a little bit that we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. It’s something I know that will get cleaned up this week. Our guys have been playing hard and competing. We had two opportunities that I thought we really had to put the game away. Those are things as we continue to move forward and head into the second half of the season we need to get better at. Again, one thing is we are overcoming some of those things because of how hard we are playing and the effort we are giving for 60 minutes.”
On developing a knockout punch:
“I just think it is execution. If we just throw and catch the ball, the plays are there. I think it all comes down to focus and concentration. You might lose focus for a little bit and you miss those explosive plays.”
On where becoming bowl eligible ranks in his goals for the season:
“I haven’t addressed that with our team at all. We have our goals that we have each and every year. The prizes that you have when you play this game are, first, winning your conference, and then if you win enough games, you get to a bowl. And those are things that you hope for each and every year. But to me, you can’t look at the big picture until you address the small things first. You win a game, you put it in the bank, and you gain interest. We have four wins, but four wins aren’t enough to accomplish what we want to accomplish. But all we need to focus on now is NC State and this weekend.”
On the urgency of improving the running game to keep winning:
“We know that have to continue to work on it and improve. We can’t do any more than what we are doing in terms of practice time. When it comes down to running the football, to me it is very basic. It’s coming off the line of scrimmage, it’s the offensive lineman blocking the guy against him until the whistle blows, and the running back getting the ball. Maybe we are going to be a team that has to throw the ball to set up a run. But we do have to run the football and we won’t give up on it.”
On looking at last year’s game vs. NC State:
“We look at it as a coaching staff, but there is not that much you can get from a year ago. This team is a different team, so we focus on what this team can do. You can go back and you can see how things were a year ago, but my focus is what NC State is doing this year. It’s not always good to look in the past. We need to focus on moving forward and hopefully getting a win this weekend.”
On what makes NC State quarterback Mike Glennon special:
“He’s your true, pro-style pocket passer. He’s tall, so he can see over the line of scrimmage. He has a good arm and can make all of the throws. They’re going to stretch you vertically and horizontally. And he has a pretty good release. He’s a very well rounded player with experience. I think that when you look at him from a pro-prospect, he’s probably the best guy that we face all year long, no disrespect to Geno Smith.
On taking away positives from the offensive line’s performance against Virginia:
“I think that there were a couple of guys on Virginia’s front four that played better than we saw on film and made some things happen. But sometimes, people are going to try to take stuff away. You don’t want them to take away as much as they did but that happens in the game of football. You find a way to make plays in other areas to overcome those deficiencies that you have in one particular phase. I thought that the guys up front held in there pretty well in terms of doing things that we needed to do. And we still ended up going down and scoring some points in the second half. It is just a consistency situation. With the offensive line when you have young guys rotating in and out, you don’t get that kind of consistency that you need. I think that the offensive line needs to move forward and get better so we will keep drilling them as coaches and they will keep working on the practice field.”
On what he saw from NC State in its victory over Florida State:
“I saw them come back and beat Florida State. They played very hard and shut Florida State out. They made some plays, and blocked a punt and played very physically. I have known Tom O’Brien for years and Tom is a good football coach. His teams are always teams who are very hard-nosed and physical and they will be very fundamentally sound. You are in for a street fight and a physical game for 60 minutes. That is what you are going to get and that is what Florida State got. They never backed down, they gave themselves a shot to win at the end, and they capitalized.”
On whether NC State’s victory over Florida State got the attention of Maryland players:
“We didn’t start focusing on NC State until Sunday. Our players are just kids, so they do focus on what is going on, so they got a chance to watch those things. I am sure they have our attention. However, if we want to be the kind of team that we want to be, it should not take someone beating somebody else to get us motivated. That is not what I am looking for with this program. I am looking for us to be excited and motivated to play football regardless of who the opponent is. Our goal is play to the best of our abilities, play hard, and execute our game plan.”
On how to attack NC State defensive back David Amerson:
“Hopefully he will get hurt and won’t play. I’m just kidding, but all jokes aside, he is a good football player. He is a very good corner. It comes down to our coaches and receivers to look at all of his tendencies. But we are not trying to beat one guy, we are trying to beat 11 guys. He is a very good football player and we have a lot of respect and admiration for how he plays and he will be one of the best we will face all year, but we do have to worry about everyone, and not just him.”
On if he is happy with the production of the freshmen:
“It is hard to sit here and say that I am happy. We are 4-2 and we want to be 6-0, especially when you look at some of our mistakes. However, I am happy with how we are progressing. They are nowhere near where they can be and where they will be as they go on in their careers here at Maryland. With freshmen you will still have those moments where you scratch your head. But the thing that has been the most impressive to me with all of these young guys is their competitive nature and the leadership. You do not see them get down. They are able to, if something bad goes wrong, they can shake it off. That is tough for young kids, to let things go. But these guys can make a mistake and go out and make up for it. Look at Perry [Hills]. Even with all of his mistakes, when the game is on the line, look what happens. Look at Stefon [Diggs] and look at Anthony Nixon. Anthony Nixon got his second start and got a pick very early in the game to set up a score for us. They are coachable, they listen, and when something goes wrong, they can just move forward.”
On A.J. Francis’s progression on and off the field:
“With A.J. Francis, I see a guy who has really bought into what we want and is taking the lessons he is taught by Coach Gattuso and working on those things. I see a guy who has worked a lot harder and has gotten himself in really good shape. He has a great sense of humor and is very charismatic, but the attitude that he has this year is so different and is so much better. A.J., right now, is playing well and he needs to continue to play well for us to be successful. At first, I think we did not see eye-to-eye on everything, but he understood there was going to be change. There was change and he embraced it and I think he sees the benefits of what we are doing and how it has advanced him and his game. I give him a lot of credit, and its big for us to have a guy like A.J. step up and play the way that he has played and to be the kind of leader he has been. We just need him to keep getting better and I think he can take his game to an even higher level than it is right now.”
– Terps –