Aug. 30, 2010
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STORRS, Conn. - Here are quotes from head coach Randy Edsall and selected playeres from the Weekly Press Conference held on Tuesday for the UConn vs. Michigan football gme this Saturday.
"We start this season a little bit differently than any of the other seasons we've had. We're going into the largest stadium in college football against the winningest program in college football. It's going to be a tremendous challenge, especially when you throw in the fact that Michigan has 18 returning starters. We're going to have to do a great job of preparing and put all the distractions behind us and take care of what happens between the white lines."
Was there a certain moment when you realized that Greg Lloyd was ready to play as the middle linebacker?
"We had scrimmage one day and I saw him do some things that showed me he was ready. He brings that leadership, mentality, and cohesiveness, with Lawrence (Wilson) and Scott (Lutrus) on either side of him. He has to wear a brace on his knee. He was totally cleared by the trainer, if he wasn't cleared, he wouldn't be out there."
"I think Scott (Lutrus)'s thrilled with being back at Husky Linebacker. He didn't like taking on those 300-pound guards, and Greg (Lloyd) is a little bit more suited for that. I think it allows us to be the best that we can be, and ultimately, as a coach, that's what I'm trying to do."
On redshirt freshman (QB) Michael Box filling the backup role:
"Mike came along very well this preseason. The offensive coaches and myself feel good about having him at backup. He's a young man who wants to be good and wants to study the game. I know Danny will get mad at me, but he's a lot like (former UConn quarterback) Dan Orlovsky, except he's a much better athlete than Dan. I'm sure I'll get a text about that one. Mike loves the game and loves the process of learning. He has a great arm and he's done a great job of leading the team when he's been given the opportunity."
How are you planning for Michigan's offense, not knowing for sure which quarterback will be playing?
"I don't think it's a big deal because we've seen both of them on film. We got a chance to see some of their games on the Big Ten Network. There's things that each of them do that are better than the other. (Head coach) Rich (Rodriguez)'s offense is pretty much what you see. (QB) Denard (Robinson) is a good athlete and has a running game. He also does things with his arm. The biggest thing is to go out and execute, and hopefully we'll be good enough to go out and tackle them if they do run the ball."
On the expectations for the season:
Our expectations have never changed. Our expectation this year is to win the BIG EAST championship. My expectation is to have these kids go out and play every play like it's the last play they're ever going to play, and play that way for 60 minutes. That's what we can control. If we do that, we can be successful. The expectations outside of this building mean nothing to me, because nobody knows us better than we do.
#23 Jordan Todman (North Dartmouth, Mass.) - Jr., Tailback
What's it like running behind this offensive line?
I'm blessed to have an offensive line in front of me that's so good. Coach (Mike) Foley (offensive line coach) coaches those guys pretty well and they know their roles inside and out. I have confidence in them. I obviously don't want to run behind anyone else besides them. The sky is the limit for me behind them. They push and help me to accomplish my individual goals and to be successful.
How have you seen the offensive line improve over the past three years?
In three years practice makes perfect. You get more comfortable together and know the game, inside and out. Picking up blitzes. They know the game inside and out and see everything so well, they get used to playing together. You can see it that we've all gotten better year after year.
How have you seen the depth develop behind the starters?
We always need depth to win. Coach does a great job recruiting players to fill positions and step in when someone gets hurt or drops out of the top spot.
Have you guys dealt with the noise level in practice that you'll deal with at Michigan?
Yeah, we've definitely done the crowd noise and put the music really loud so we can work on listening to (Quarterback Zach) Frazer and picking up the blitzes. We work hard at it, it's not easy, but we expect to know what we are doing when we get on the field Saturday. There won't be any excuses.
Does any part of you wish you could ease into the season rather than jumping right into Michigan?
No, we welcome the challenge right off the bat. We are competitors and want to compete against any team in the country. I have confidence in myself and my teammates. We aren't scared of anything and we feel that we have something to prove. But being put on the big national stage the first game of year, we are excited and can't wait to get out there and show what we can do.
#24 D.J. Shoemate (Corona, Calif.) Jr., Tailback
Are you excited to play at Michigan?
I'm pumped to play at the Big House and I can't wait to get out there. Scoring a touchdown on the field would just be another blessing all together.
In the big picture, how do you see your chances for playing time this season?
I definitely want to go out there and contribute as much as possible. Whatever coach needs me to do, whatever is asked of me, I'm going to do it to the best of my abilities.
#10 Zack Frazer (Mechanicsburgh, Pa.) - RS Sr., Quarterback
What do you think of when you think of Michigan football, that great tradition and the players that have come through there over the years?
I had the chance to be recruited by them coming out of high school. I took an official visit there and (Miami Dolphins QB and Former Michigan Star) Chad Henne was there at the time. I got to see the place and the campus. It's great tradition and great football. They will be a tough team this season and a tough opponent to play. I'm excited for the opportunity to not only go against the competition but to compete against one of the top traditional programs.
What do you like best about the way you've worked in preseason?
I think we've prepared for this season ever since last year's bowl game ended really. We knew that this season was going to be our season, our team and having that opportunity in front of us, we weren't going to let that go. We've done stuff both on the field and off the field and that bonding is going to lead us to victory this year.
Do you feel like there is a carry-over from last year with this team?
I feel like we do have a lot of confidence going into this year. Knowing what our offense and this team can do. We have a lot of starters back and a lot of depth at every position and its going to be an exciting season for all of us.
#32 Scott Lutrus (Brookfield, Conn.), Sr., Linebacker
It must be nice to have Greg Lloyd back. As the preseason went on, did you get a sense that he was getting his sea legs back?
He was a player that was out. Like everyone else, you start at the bottom of the depth chart and he started taking reps to keep in shape. He started playing really well and everyone was feeling the same way, including him, that he might have a chance to play this year. He was looking great and kept moving up and next thing you know he's starting and doing well.
Is there any moment of time thinking, wow, Greg Lloyd is back?
I think throughout the whole camp. As well as he was doing and how he was making so many plays. He was going full speed out there. The whole team and the defense had that feeling being glad he was back. It's good to have him there and have that feeling. He could have sat out this year and gotten some more rehab but you never know what happens in the offseason. While he's healthy and at full strength now, why not get out there and see what happens. It's great to have him back and we all feel that way.
Does the fact that you played at Notre Dame last year take away some of the luster or help so you don't go into the game overwhelmed by where you are playing and who you are playing against?
I think it does help going to a huge stadium like Notre Dame last year and how well we did there. We stayed focused throughout the game and concentrated on football. We didn't get caught up with all the fans and the surroundings. I think it will definitely help with this weekend's game. It's a huge crowd, but we've been there before in this situation. We are preparing like any other game and are going in there to win a football game.