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October 3, 2012

Randy Edsall

RANDY EDSALL:  Well, we're coming off a bye week where I thought that we were able to address some of the issues that we needed to address after the first four games, and looking forward to playing a really good and well‑coached Demon Deacon team here on Saturday.

Q.  I know you eased Kenny Tate in for a while last week and now it appears A.J. Henry is ready to get back in the mix.  What's kind of a realistic play number or whatnot for where you see him right now and returning from the ankle?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, I don't know if I see him playing in the secondary at all this week.  He's behind.  We've got Matt Robinson and then also him and Sean Davis working this week.  We'll have a better idea, but as long as Matt and Eric are healthy, I don't really see other safeties in there playing.

Q.  I did some research, and I'm not sure I have it all in front of me, but it appears that you've been able to cut down penalties since your arrivals in College Park.  I'm curious what kind of approach you've taken.
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, what we try to do is just emphasize using good fundamentals and good techniques, and then during the preseason we try to get the officials here as many times as we can and really just‑‑ we have a saying in our locker room that the kids see every day, as they're in the locker room and as they go out to practice, penalties lose games.  I've just always had a big emphasis that I think the more disciplined you are, the better fundamentally and the better technique that you use, penalties won't occur.
We're not a team that can play from behind the chains anyhow, so it's just always been an emphasis of doing things the right way and using good technique and fundamentals and understanding that, like I said, if you have a lot of penalties, that can cost you a game.

Q.  You've got an offensive lineman, Justin Gilbert, who missed most of his sophomore year with a knee injury, most of his junior year with a knee injury, and he's back again and starting for you.  Talk about how he's played and what he means to your offensive line.
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, Justin is a guy who's a senior, fifth year senior, so any time you have somebody that's a fifth year senior, they're going to bring a level of experience and knowledge to your team.  In Justin's case, he just doesn't have as much of that experience because he really hasn't played football in a year and a half due to all those injuries.  You could see that he was a little bit rusty when he got back out there, but again, he's a guy that is a‑‑ works hard.  He's a guy that has ability, and he's somebody that has to continue to get better.  You can see that he still has strides to go because he's been out of it for a year and a half, but he's making some strides.
And again, it gets back to the point that he's just got to play a little bit lower, and he's got to continue to be a better technician at that right tackle.

Q.  What does it say about a guy with two devastating knee injuries like that who still wants to get back out there and go through the rehab and through the work and become a player again?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, I just think it shows his love for the game.  I think it shows his love for his teammates and what the game of football means.  I think that's why he decided to continue to pursue playing.  Some guys might not continue to pursue playing, but like I said, he loves to play the game.  Football is important to him, and his teammates are important to him.

Q.  Can you give your quick evaluation of Perry Hills' first four games as quarterback?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, I feel that Perry has progressively gotten better with each game, and I think that that progression is going to continue to take place with the remaining games.  And again, there's things that we've talked with him about and we've shown him on film where he needs to improve, and he's working very, very hard to improve in those areas.
So again, I just think that he's come a long way since the first game.  But he also knows that he has to continue to work on some of the things that he didn't do so well in those first games, and he's trying to do that each and every day.

Q.  Do you have a concern that starting a freshman quarterback might give prospective student athletes pause about committing to Maryland with maybe having to sit behind a guy for another three seasons?
RANDY EDSALL:  No.  I mean, the thing about‑‑ with our program, it's competition.  And again, you never know, also, and you hope it never happens, but with injuries.  When you have injuries, that can be an issue, as well.  And the thing that we are always going to do is we're always going to play the best guy, regardless of who it is.  But no, I would hope that people would want to come and compete, and if they don't want to come and compete, you probably don't want them anyhow.

Q.  After hanging with UConn and hanging with West Virginia, how are you going to jump over that fine line and get back to winning?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, what we've got to do is we've got to minimize the mistakes, and we've got to take advantage of scoring opportunities on offense when we cross the 50‑yard line, and on defense we've got to minimize and get rid of the big plays against us.  And the same thing with the kicking game.
If we do those things and we get everybody really just doing their job and taking care of their responsibilities, then I think what happens is we'll win those games and we won't be on that short end of the stick.

Q.  Yesterday you talked about Mike Madaras, your new starting left tackle.  What kind of kid is he?  What kind of person have you gotten to know from recruiting and now his freshman year?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, Mike is a guy that's a neat guy to be around.  He comes off as a little bit quiet, but when you have the opportunity to really sit down, he opens up, he's very intelligent.  Again, he's a guy that comes from a really good high school football program at Good Counsel, coached by Bob Milloy.  He's a guy that really, like I said, you like his effort, you like his tenacity.  Again, he's picked up things really, really well, and now he's got to have that opportunity to start, and we just think that the more snaps that he gets, he's really going to develop into a really, really fine player.
But like I said, just his athletic ability, his tenacity, his feel for the game and the strength and all that stuff will continue to come.  But he's just a good guy to have and a guy that's going to get better with each snap that he gets here the rest of the season.

Q.  A follow‑up on that question.  Was it a tough decision for you to put two freshmen in there on the offensive line, or did they just make it too hard to keep them off the field right now?
RANDY EDSALL:  No, it wasn't a tough decision.  I think when you have a chance to see it every day like I have and then to see things in a game and then to see what I think can make us the most productive, you make those moves based on that film, on the video, in practice and those things.  And I think we have got two guys with Michael and Andrew that I know this:  We're going to get great effort from them.  They're going to continue to develop and be really good guys and really good players.
So again, those are the decisions that you just have to make as a head coach that you feel that that's the best thing that you can do to help your team win and be successful.

Q.  Just in general through the first couple games that you guys have played, what's your evaluation been of the pass protection?
RANDY EDSALL:  Oh, we've got to get better, there's no doubt about that.  That hasn't been to my liking, and we've given up way too many sacks.  We've got to continue to work and get better with the technique and making sure we don't make mental mistakes in terms of the protections and who we're supposed to block or the protection that we should be in.  So no, we have got a lot of work to do, and that's something that we worked on last week, but we have got to continue to get that cleaned up.
I think that having Andrew and Mike in there, I think that'll help part of that, and everybody else has to do their job around them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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