Quotes from Head Coach Randy Edsall
“Well we’ve got a tremendous challenge in front of us this weekend, going down and playing Clemson, a top 10 team that is playing extremely well. Offensively they are a very talented football team. Tajh Boyd is playing extremely well, just throwing the deep ball well and making good decisions. He also pulls the ball down and runs hit. He’s got good speed and he’s surrounded by some tremendous wide receivers. DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, and then also Brandon Ford at tight end. Then when you put in there Andre Ellington at running back, he’s got a lot of weapons to work with, and their offensive line has come along and is playing really well.
“Defensively, we are going to face a defense that is tremendously athletic, has very, very good speed, outstanding linebackers, they’ve got an improving defensive front with some young guys that are just getting better. So to go down there in that environment, we are going to have to have a really good week of practice and preparation. I know our guys are looking forward to it and look forward to going down there and competing against Clemson this weekend.”
On the number of ACL injuries they’ve had:
“We’ve kind of looked at some things, and we don’t have any more ACLs [injuries] this year than what we had a year ago. I think the biggest misconception is it has happened in one position. I think that’s the problem. It has happened at quarterback. Because when you look at it, take C.J.’s [Brown]. C.J. was just running, and a lot of times, ACLs are non-contact injuries. We were talking today, [wide receivers coach] Lee Hull tore his ACL and he was just running when he was playing. And then you take a look at Perry [Hills], and he got hit from a block in the back. He had 300 pounds coming on him when his leg was planted and that’s unfortunate. Caleb [Rowe], he was just running. He was running out of bounds and then you know, he does get hit, he tears his ACL. And then [Demetrius Hartsfield] gets an ACL taken on a block and a guy gets into him.
“So, you know, I hear all of this stuff about strength and conditioning and turf, all of these things, and it’s unfortunate that these injuries happen, but that happens in the game of football. And I think that’s a lot of it. But [strength & conditioning coach] Drew [Wilson] is doing a great job in the weight room with our guys, but there is nothing that you can do to strengthen the ACL. The ACL is in a position where there is nothing you can do. We’re constantly, every year, wherever I’ve been, we’re always researching ways to try to do thinks so you can prevent, as much as you can, injuries. And we’re always on top of the curve in terms of finding out what people are doing. But some years you are a little bit luckier than others. And that’s really what it’s all about. We’ll just keep working at it. And Andre Monroe, his wasn’t an ACL, he had a knee injury. It is unfortunate, but I think a lot of it has been just because we had three quarterbacks that have ACLs, and its unheard of to lose not only three but four quarterbacks in a year, so I think it has just brought a bit more light.
On who has had surgery and who might be back for spring ball:
“That’s too early to tell in terms of who will be back for spring ball. C.J. has had his surgery. Perry had his this past Friday and that was successful. He was here today and they are pleased with what they have seen already in terms of how he came out of the surgery. Looks like Caleb will have his next Friday. And then Demetrius, we have to wait and see. He started to swell up the day after, and swelled up a little bit more today, so we will just have to see when that will be. I think his might be the following week. Or depending on how things go, they might do both Caleb and Demetrius next Friday. Devin [Burns] had surgery but his was a Lisfranc. And Marcus Leak already had his surgery. They had those over a week ago, and now they are in the process of doing the things that the trainers need them to do. I don’t think some of the rehab things have started yet because of the type of injury that they had but they will be starting as soon as the trainers know they can do those sort of things.”
On being 4-2 and then having so many injuries and the affect of the mood of the team:
“I’m fine. Again, I have been through things like this before. And again, I think what gets you through all of this is the fact that you have a philosophy and you build the team concept and guys understand that there is going to be adversity that strikes during the season. Probably didn’t expect this much adversity to strike. But again, it’s all in terms of how you approach adversity. And we have the mindset here that we can only control what we can control. When somebody goes down, everybody has to rally that much more around each other, and everybody has to do a little bit more themselves and go out and work a little bit harder and encourage the other guys.
“That’s really what you have to do. You have to stay close and you have to stay together. I think that’s probably been the truest measure for this group, you can see that they are a team. They are not individuals. They believe in themselves and they believe in each other. They want each other to do well, and it’s like it’s a test. I told them when we lost Caleb, ‘This is just a test. The good lord is just testing us to see how strong we are and how much we have as a team. And are we going to stick together?’ Those are the kind of messages that I send and I tell our team about. That nobody, regardless of what happens, can pull us apart, or have us deviate from what we want to accomplish.
“All we are going to do is go out and give our best effort each and every day and do the best we can, and that’s all anybody can ask of us. And that’s what I’ve been most impressed with. They haven’t batted an eye. There’s nobody walking around this building feeling sorry for themselves, nobody saying ‘What if,’ or ‘If this didn’t happen.’ They’re just saying, ‘Okay, what do we have to do today to get better? What do we have to do to win?’ It’s like our mantra: all in, all games, all season. Everybody has taken heed to that.”
On what he’s better able to do with Shawn Petty in practice this week:
“We’ll find out as we continue to go through practice the next three days. We have an idea on what we want to be able to do with Shawn and the rest of the guys on offense. We’ll go out today, tomorrow, and Thursday and practice that and perfect it, and then head down to Clemson and go play them.”
On how Demetrius Hartsfield’s spirits are:
“I feel bad for any of the guys that get injured. I have seen the work they have put in to get themselves out on the field and to play a game that they truly love and then have it taken away. But that is part of the way that the game is played; there are no guarantees. Yesterday, when we got the news back from the MRI, he [Demetrius Hartsfield] asked what he needed to do to get back and to get better and get healthy. Demetrius is a guy who is very even-keeled. He is not a guy who shows a ton of emotion, so he was not sitting there feeling sorry for himself. I know he is disappointed, and was playing really well. L.A [Goree] needs to step up and fill the role that Demetrius was playing on the field, but we still have a void when it comes to the leadership that Demetrius provided. We need someone to take that role over and be a leader. From a spirit standpoint, he is disappointed but he is handling it the best way he can. He understands that he needs to move on and focus on having surgery and working hard to get himself another opportunity to play football down the road.”
On how the injuries will affect future recruiting:
“I think that because of some of these injuries we have the opportunity to play some guys, maybe a little earlier than we would have liked to, but it helps our teams because it gives them experience. I do not think it is going to affect our program negatively in any way, because everyone is brought here because we think they can play and they can contribute. Some guys may have had their number called a little earlier than others, so now some of the guys that got hurt have to be able to fight to get themselves healthy so they can get back and play. It is just one of those things where we get knocked down but we have to keep going forward.”
On the challenges of playing so many first year players:
“We have played 26 guys who are getting their first in-game experience. The challenge with young guys is that they will make more mistakes. The only way they will get experience is by playing. You can go over things in practice but the only way they will get better is by seeing things on the field at that speed. Everyone is going to get much better the more they play. By the time these guys are seniors, they are going to be so much better than they are right now. Experience and speed of the game are the toughest things for freshmen to come in and adapt to.”
On what L.A Goree does well:
“L.A is a guy who is physical. He will come downhill and attack you. It was good to see him bounce back from his injury. He has experience from playing on special teams.”
On what he saw from Shawn Petty after watching the film:
“I wished he would have protected the ball a little bit more and we did not turn it over. I think he was a bit jittery to start the game, which is expected. I think he was more concerned about whether he was getting rushed than just letting the ball go. Once he got through the first half, I thought he settled in a little bit more. With the interception that he threw, he will know next time to put a little bit more air under it instead of just trying to fit the ball in there. In terms of executing, we did not have any delay of games or any illegal procedures. He did a good job of getting us in and out of the huddle and I thought he made some good reads. He missed some, but given the situation, with only seven practices I think he did a good job. We just need to get him better for this week, because with the speed and athleticism [of Clemson] the game isn’t going to get any slower.”
On comparisons between Sammy Watkins and Stefon Diggs:
“I think they are both very talented and explosive players. Sammy [Watkins] is a little bit bigger and thicker than Stefon [Diggs] but both of them have the ability to make plays in the return game and as receivers. I just hope Stefon makes more plays this week than Sammy makes against us.”
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