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October 10, 2012

Randy Edsall

RANDY EDSALL:  Well, we're happy we got the win against Wake Forest and thought our kids really competed hard for 60 minutes.  The one thing is that we're finishing games, and the other thing I think Perry Hills is doing a good job for us making plays in the fourth quarter when we need him in the three wins that we've had.
We're just looking forward to getting more consistent and getting better each day and going to practice and working hard as we can to improve on a lot of things that we need to improve upon.
We've got a tough one in Virginia this weekend down in Charlottesville.

Q.  J.J. Johnson's play has started to come on a bit.  How have you seen him become a better technician and hone his craft more of late?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, it's very easy to say that J.J. was going to perform well because you just see the work ethic that he has and the time and effort that he's put into not only the weight room but studying film, taking notes in the meetings, and then going on the practice field and working every play.  Every time he has an opportunity as an individual to get better as a technician, that's really what it's stemmed from.  It's just stemmed from him doing those things and listening to Brian and what he's teaching him.  But the credit goes to J.J. for the work ethic and character that he has and then how he prepares in terms of taking notes and then how he goes and practices on the field.

Q.  I just got off a teleconference with Bill Lazor, the UVA offensive coordinator, and he had some complimentary things to say about your 3‑4.  What has been your background with the 3‑4, and if you haven't really used it a lot yourself over the years, was it difficult to just turn it over to your defensive coordinator?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, we're not a typical 3‑4 defense.  You know, we're not the Okie 3‑4 two‑gap scheme.  We say it's a 3‑4, but I would say that it's more of a‑‑ it's a hybrid 3‑4.  You know, the things that Brian brought in here were a lot of the things that I've done in my coaching career, whether it was at Syracuse or Boston College, Jacksonville, those things.  And it's just a hybrid, but it's something that we've taken our personnel, and Brian has done a great job along with Greg Gattuso and Lyndon Johnson and Keith Dudzinski and the players.
And again, it's something that we're‑‑ I think we're pretty simple but yet we do enough things that we can cause problems for the opponent.  But ultimately it comes down to the players doing their job, and the players are doing a really good job.

Q.  If I might ask a somewhat unrelated follow‑up, I believe Maryland and Virginia are 115th and 119th in the country in turnover margin.  I know Virginia's problems have mostly been an inability to force turnovers.  What have been the issues with you and how big a factor will that be in this week's game?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, I think we've turned it over way too much.  That's one thing, we've got to have better ball security offensively, and that's something that we've talked about defensively.  We're doing a good job in terms of yardage and the rush defense and all that, but we don't; we don't have as many turnovers as we'd like to, and that's something that we work on each and every day.
It's just a matter of sometimes the opportunities are there and sometimes they're not.  We hope that we'll have opportunities to create some this weekend.  But I think turnovers are always big, but that's the other thing is I think give credit to our defense because we have been put into some situations this year because of the turnovers, but they've stood tall and have done a good job, and it hasn't hurt us as much as you would think with the ‑8 in the turnover differential that we've put ourselves in.

Q.  You have a lot of freshmen that play prominent roles, Hills and Diggs are two big ones.  How many freshmen are you guys playing, and are these all true freshmen, or are any of them red shirt?
RANDY EDSALL:  No, we have red shirt freshmen as well as true freshmen playing.  I mean, Nigel King is a red shirt freshman who's getting some time at wide receiver; Mike Madaras, left tackle, is a true freshman who's starting; Andrew Zeller is a red shirt freshman starting at left guard; Perry Hills is a true freshman at quarterback.  You know, we've played red shirt freshman Brandon Ross at tailback; freshman running back Wes Brown; freshman running back Albert Reid; Stefon is a true freshman.
And then defensively we have Anthony Nixon who's a true freshman who's played; Sean Davis, a true freshman, started, now is a backup playing special teams.
Some of them are red shirt freshmen and some of them are true freshmen.  Alvin Hill and Makinton Dorleant are red shirt freshman and freshman, have all contributed.
It's one of those things.  Brad Craddock, a true freshman; Nate Renfrow, a red shirt freshman punter.  You play the best guys that you have, and due to whatever the reasons are, those are the best guys at those positions, and we play them and it's our job as the coaches to coach them up and get them to play at the highest level possible.

Q.  I know just from experience, freshmen tailbacks usually prosper, and special teams guys, a lot of coaches use freshmen on that.  But talk about the difficulty or the‑‑ just how odd it is to be playing a true freshman quarterback and true freshmen on the offensive line.  That's the two positions that seem really odd.
RANDY EDSALL:  Yeah, it is.  It is tough.  Mike Madaras, our left tackle, is just out of high school, but he's going to get better.  But he's the best guy that we have.  And then Andrew Zeller is a red shirt freshman and he just started his first game last week.  Again, Sal Conaboy is a guy that's only started about five games and Justin Gilbert was out for a year and a half and Bennett Fulper is a really the only guy that we have.
We understand it, we're not going to probably be as productive as we'd like, but we've just got to keep working the process, and we've just got to keep getting better, and then when you put in a freshman quarterback and then when you know you do that, the other guys on the other side of the ball get paid to coach, too, so they're going to do a lot of things to try to confuse him and blitz him and different looks and everything else.
So as we gain more experience, we'll be more efficient and effective, but it's been tough, but I think we've made progress each and every week, and just proud of the way the way they're hanging in there and just coming to practice each day and working to get better, and that's what we're going to continue to do.

Q.  I apologize for asking a second follow‑up, but I'm just curious, Brad Craddock didn't show up on a preseason roaster.  Is he a recruited player or is he a walk on?
RANDY EDSALL:  No, he was recruited.  He's from Australia, so he was a guy that we ended up getting late, and he's come in, and last week‑‑ he's a little bit inconsistent, but he's got a good leg, a 52‑yarder and a 47‑yarder last week, so that's just something that we've got to continue to work with him.
But pleased with him and what he's done, and then like I said, Nate Renfrow has been a little bit inconsistent, but when he's good, he's very, very good, and when he misses some we're not as good as we want to be.  That's what we're fighting, we're fighting inconsistencies and a lack of execution on the basics.  With some of these guys, this is their first go‑around playing in a high‑pressured situation.

Q.  Are you pleased with the progress of Hendy coming back around and shaking the rust and where he is right now?
RANDY EDSALL:  I think A.J. is getting better each and every week, and again, he's in a backup role right now, and we'll just see how he continues to progress.  But he's getting‑‑ he's ready to play, but right now there's some people in front of him that are doing a little bit better job, and he's still coming back off that ankle.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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