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Postgame Quotes: UConn vs. Maryland

Sept. 15, 2012

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Connecticut Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni

Opening statement:
"I would say that I'm proud of the team in the sense that we had the flu and we had guys a little bit under the weather. Some of them couldn't play and some of them played. We had to get a great performance out of the defense. We had to get production out of the offense and special teams. I thought that the sequence of events in the fourth quarter with the offense driving the ball -- the wildcat came in there we got that going. Lyle [McCombs] made a nice run on the touchdown. Kicking the ball to Stefon Diggs, I don't know what you do. We're punting the ball and getting great hang-time, he should be fair-catching them and he's not. He's giving them field position, and then on the last kickoff, that one got away from us. I thought we got production from all three phases. Obviously, it's hard to win on the road. I told the kids that it was a really good team win."

On Nick Williams' punt return touchdown:
"It sparked us. We really, really needed it; just a great effort on his part. I'm not sure we blocked everybody. He made a few people miss. Nick can do that. That was a really key play. The bench was fired up."

On Yawin Smallwood:
"Yawin is getting better each week. Usually when the linebackers are making that number of tackles, the guys up front are playing pretty decently. It means they're spending a lot of time with two people on one guy, and not getting on the linebackers quick enough. I think that Yawin would be the first one to tell you that he's getting help from the team defense, but Yawin's doing his part. He's a sophomore and he's developing into a Division I linebacker. "

On the defense:
"They've got a lot of skilled guys [on offense]. It's hard defensively to match up with all that skill, but our defense has done a very good job. It was just another outstanding effort by the defense. You can't go on the road in this environment and win without good defense. You just can't."

Connecticut Players

Redshirt Junior Tim Willman

On playing in Maryland:
"It felt awesome to be in front of all of my family and friends. I liked seeing them in the stands. Thanks to all of my friends in Howard County for coming out."

On his development:
"I want to keep playing my role, hopefully rack up the sacks."

Redshirt Senior Defensive Tackle Ryan Wirth:

On dealing with a team illness:
"We spend a lot of time together--one person gets sick and everybody does. We got the `W' and that is all that matters. Coach always tells us that there is always going to be adversity, but we stepped up and played through it. That fourth quarter was a little sketchy though, I wish that would have been better. "

On playing at a high level:
"All I can do is my best--I go out there and play as hard as I can every play. It's always about the next game. We just play for the `W'."

Redshirt Sophomore Quarterback Scott McCummings

On the running game:
"We definitely exploded and got a few good runs out of it. The line was blocking great and we made some good plays after contact."

On the last drive of the game:
"I just wanted to go out there and quiet the crowd a little bit. Everything just really clicked -- the line, running back, all did great."

Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall

Opening Statement:
"That was one heck of a football game today. I can't fault the effort that our guys put forth today. We had a chance to tie or win the ballgame at the end even with the mistakes and miscues that we had. That shows a lot about the character, perseverance and belief that these guys have in themselves and each other. You have to give a lot of credit to the [Connecticut] defense. They put a lot of pressure on Perry Hills. But Perry battled all the way to the end and gave us a chance to tie or win the ballgame. The one thing that I know is that this team will come back. We will take a look at the film tomorrow and they want to be a very sound, fundamental, strong football team."

On Connecticut's defensive pressure:
"They brought the pressure. It was a combination of certain things. We have to get the ball out of our hands a little bit quicker. We have to sustain blocks a little bit longer. They had a game plan where they wanted to put a lot of pressure on our young quarterback. We have to do a better job to pick those pressures up."

On interacting with his former players after the game:
"We went through the week and conducted business as usual. When the game was over you go over and say hello to the people you have worked with, and people you have coached. You wish them well and tell them that if there is anything you can do for them after they graduate for them to give you a call.

"There will always be a sense of pride with what you do [at Connecticut]. I am just proud of what we did there. But I am proud of these kids at Maryland and how they hung in there today and competed."

On the emotion of playing against his former team:
"I have emotions. I don't think you are human if you don't have emotions. It was good to see some of the guys and to wish them well."

On protecting quarterback Perry Hills:
"We are going to have to take a look at the things we saw today and figure out how we can help him. It might be about protections. We will evaluate our personnel but I don't see anything from a personnel standpoint that we would do. We have to keep coaching him up. He is going to be a good player. We have to get him get the ball out of his hand a little quicker and make sure he is making the correct reads. It is something that us as coaches have to do a better job, and everyone on offense has to do a better job."

On Maryland's last drive:
"I never did think about taking a timeout there. The two minute offense has been one of the things that we haven't been good at, even in practice. [Perry] Hills will learn from this game. I think sometimes guys try to do too much and make something happen. We had a receiver on the sideline and if he catches the ball we don't need to worry about time because we still had two timeouts. That's where we as coaches need to continually teach, coach and instruct these guys to understand those situations. If we catch that ball and burn a timeout, we still might have the opportunity to try a field goal."

On freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs:
"Stefon is a very dynamic player, as you could see today. I love the kid; I love how he comes to practices and how he competes. He always has high energy and is a real leader for us. Today he made some big plays for us and had almost 220 yards in total offense. He's a guy that not only does it as a receiver, but as a return guy too. We have to continually try and get him the ball, which should create more opportunities for other people."

On improving the offense:
"It's just a matter of everybody doing their job. I think that when we go back and look at the film, we will see that we left a lot of plays out on the field. There were plays out there and we missed them, but it's not like we didn't have opportunities. We are going to keep working to become a very sound football team and get our guys to be better. We are a really young team on offense, but we are going to keep plugging away. Connecticut's defense was ranked third in the country and first in some things, but we still scored 21 points and had an opportunity to tie or win the ballgame. Now what we have to do is show our guys the mistakes and work to get better for the next game."

On freshman running back Wes Brown:
"You saw a young man that was being productive out there. I think it shows a lot about Wes' personality with all of the adversity he faced last week at Temple, putting the ball on the ground twice. When he ran the ball today and he felt defenders coming, he put two hands around the ball. That's what has me excited about him. He made some mistakes before, but he learned from them and got better this week."

On the play of quarterback Perry Hills:
"I love Perry Hills and I just told that to him. He is in a tough situation and he is hurting. He was hard on himself today because he didn't think he played as well as he could have. We have tremendous confidence in him and he will get better, just like all of us." Maryland Players

Senior Defensive Lineman A.J. Francis

On the loss:
"It sucks. All three phases of the game feel like they let the team down. We gave up a touchdown on special teams. We gave up two touchdown drives on defense when we had them in third down. Multiple times in each drive we could have got them off the field. Then on offense there were turnovers. Each phase made mistakes. It just sucks because I hate losing games. There's nothing in the world worse than losing to me."

On Connecticut's last touchdown drive:
"They had some great play calls. They did a good job switch quarterbacks. A lot of times when that happens the read-type offense feels forced. They did a good job of mixing it in, so when they brought the other quarterback in it seemed natural. We couldn't get a grip on what they were about to run. My hats off to them. They won the game and we just have to get better for next week."

On Edsall's connection to Connecticut:
"We didn't really play it up all week that he used to coach there [Connecticut]. The thing we played up was that Maryland hadn't been 3-0 since 2001 when we won the ACC Championship. We were trying to build on that, but we just didn't pull through. It wasn't up to par with what we're capable of doing, so we feel like we let ourselves down today."

On Edsall's connection to Connecticut:
"Coach Edsall comes to work the same every day. Connecticut was just another team we needed to beat. The only difference was that he had a little more insight in the guys we were playing."

Senior Wide Receiver Kevin Dorsey:

On team improvements:
"We're looking at both wins and losses. The first game wasn't the prettiest game in the world, but at the end of the day we won. Regardless if we win or lose, we're trying to find strengths and weaknesses - things we know we can do well and things we know we can execute, regardless of the situation. Those are things that we will put in every single week. So, regardless if you win or lose, there is always something you can work on."

On the team's preparations for the game against West Virginia:
"We need to come in tomorrow and watch film. We need to get in as early as we can so we can get a heads up on everything they do. They play at great team speed on both sides of the ball, so that's something we have to watch out for."

On Perry Hills:
"He has great poise. He is able to stay in the pocket. He took some hits today. There were times when guys were open, but he was taking those hits. He wanted to get the ball to them, but he couldn't. There were times when he might have misread it, but he's keeping his head in it. I told him to keep his head up. I know it hurts, but he'll push through."

On Perry Hills' struggles:
"Quarterback is a hard position regardless. That's why I play receiver probably. It's a little easier on me because I can just go out there and run a route and just compete against one person, but he's going against 11 people at all times. It's a hard position for anyone to be in."

Freshman Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs

On his confidence in the offense:
"It's coming along great, especially when you have a great group of guys supporting and pushing you at all times. They know I'm young and realize my potential, so they are pushing me at all times to be better. It's coming along pretty well. I never lost any confidence, but when you have a great group of guys pushing you, you play better."

On his role in the offense:
"We have some great receivers that make a lot of plays, including, Marcus Leak and Kevin Dorsey. We have a great receiving core, so I'm just trying to do my job."

On his role changing in the offense:
"I don't plan on my role changing. I just plan on progressing every week in practice for the games. I just want to do my job."

On the defensive pressure on Hills:
"Donald [Brown]'s defensive is a tough defense. It's all about adjusting and making your reads. Perry did a great job. I'm behind him 100 percent. It's maybe something we've never seen before, but there's a lot that is going to happen this year that we've never seen before. We have a freshman quarterback and I'm a freshman, so there's going to be a lot that we've never seen, but it's all about how you adjust and how you battle adversity. I give it to Connecticut. They did a wonderful job on defense overall. They came out with guns shooting, but I think Perry did a great job. Losing happens. There's always next week."

On being a young team:
"We're all looking to get better every day. There are a lot of situations we haven't been in yet, but we react well. The team is doing well. We're all learning. It's all about getting better.