Quotes from UConn-Maryland media lunch

Here are some quotes from some of the interviews I did during today’s UConn football media luncheon in preperation for Saturday’s game against Maryland.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall

(On coming back to Connecticut?)
“It’ll be nice to come back and visit Rentschler Field. I have a lot of fond memories of Rentschler and a lot of exciting games that were played in there and the fans were great. And I know what kind of tough environment it can be and so, I have to just make sure that we get our team prepared. But I’m looking forward to it because I have all good memories of the times that I spent in that stadium.”

(What kind of reception does he think he’ll get?)
“I’ve been in this business long enough that there’ll be people that boo and probably people that’ll cheer and that’s the nature of the profession that we’re in. I’m just very thankful that the people that supported the program while I was there made me feel at home and just got behind us and the team and allowed us to do the things that we did. But anytime you go on the road, nobody likes you. That’s just part of playing the game.”

(Changes in the offense)
“The one thing is having C.J. (Brown) back as the quarterback has really helped us. I mean, it was unfortunate that he got hurt last year and went through what he had to go through. But he worked hard to get back and I think he’s playing at a really high level. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. I think we have some really good pieces around him if you look at Deon (Long) and Stefon (Diggs), you look at Nigel King and Laverne Jacobs, Brandon Ross, Kenny Goines and our offensive line’s done a good job. We’ve tried to get the best five guys that we have there and I think they’re going to continue to get better each and every week and I think the thing that we have are guys that have the ability to make big plays and in the first two games we’ve been able to do that.”

(What did Towson do?)
“You watch the tape and you see what goes on in that game and I think that Towson was able to make a couple of plays in the passing game that really helped them come away with the victory and I think that UConn made some really good plays in that game but just didn’t make quite as many as Towson did.”

UConn defensive end Tim Willman
(On keeping focused after the Towson loss)

“You can’t dwell on anything and hang your head because Maryland’s coming in so we all just picked it up, analyzed our mistakes, every little single thing, we watched the film a ton of times, we’ve had a ton of reps in practice to try and fix everything and now, Maryland’s on our minds.”

(Were there a lot of mistakes?)
“It wasn’t a lot at all, it was just some little technique errors, little things that snowballed up … one guy did this and another guy did that, one of those types of deals. Our season’s far from over, we all know that. We’ve still got to play 11 other teams.

(On the tri-captains leadership)
“Everyone follows in the their footsteps, they all lead by example, they’ve all got great attitudes
and getting the guys pumped up in practice, getting guys to run to the ball, things like that.”

(Maryland looks strong offensively)
“They have a lot of offensive weapons. They’ve got a throwing and running quarterback. Their line play is strong too, so overall, they’re very good.”

UConn left guard Steve Greene
(Role of captains these past two weeks?)

“Really, it was just keeping everyone together. Making sure that no one is starting to point fingers. It’s just one game and we can’t let this one game define who we are the rest of the year. Really, that’s probably the biggest message that everyone’s been trying to get across, we have 11 more regular season games and one bowl game so we have 12 games left.”

(Reaction of team?)
“I think we’ve reacted as well as you can expect. Obviously, the initial blow was that people were down but when it was time to get back to work, everyone was ready. Everyone was hungry.”

(How’s Maryland?)
“Kind of like Towson, they’re a pressure team, they’ll bring some pressure, a lot of unique looks, there were some things that they did in the first game that they didn’t do in the second game, so it gives us a lot to prepare for.”

UConn defensive end Shamar Stephen
(Extra motivation because of Edsall returning?)

“I think it’s just we’re playing the next team on our schedule, that’s Maryland. Obviously Randy used to be our head coach but there’s nothing, there’s no animosity against him. We’re playing Maryland. We’re coming off a loss so we have to play hard and do a good job against this team.”

(Role of you as a captain these past two weeks)
“I’m not the biggest talker but I definitely try to practice as hard as I can, never take plays off and just make it as intense as possible and make sure that everyone else takes it as seriously as I do.
“I look at it as we play every game as one game at a time. Play each game, deal the cards and go onto the next game. You don’t get emotionally invested in the last game, you focus on the next game.”

UConn defensive end Jesse Joseph
(Extra motivation because of Edsall’s return?)

“Not really. To me, he’s just another coach on another team. And what we’re supposed to do is beat the opposing players, so I look at it as Maryland is our next opponent and we have to beat our next opponent. I’m not thinking about Edsall, I’m not thinking about the coaches that went with him over there, I’m just thinking about our team and what we have to do to have a better season.”

(on keeping focused)
“A lot of the senior class, we just told everyone to keep their heads up and that we should take that loss to Towson as a wake-up call. Because we all know that we’re a better team than what we showed in that game and we need to prove to ourselves and the coaches that we are a better team. We’re looking forward to this game.