COACH FISHER: Coming off the game with Duke, I thought we executed well, one of the best games we've played as far as executing in all three phases, eliminated a lot of the penalties and things, the self-inflicted wounds which we had. Were able to hit some big plays and establish a running game. Our defense did a nice job against a very good offense at Duke who controlled the football, pass blocked very well. Special teams had a good, solid game, was very proud of our kids the way we responded dealing with some adversity, great attitudes all week in practice, continued to, and looking forward to hopefully having a great week of preparation and getting better against a Maryland team who obviously played one heck of a football game against Clemson, just come up a play short, but is improving every week and looks like a very explosive team and doing some really good things. So we'll have our work cut out and need to have a great week of preparation.
Q. Was the Duke game a perfect illustration of what happens when you have a healthy E.J. Manuel?
COACH FISHER: It had a lot to do with it. I mean, you can say it all you want, but using your quarterback and a guy of his caliber really affects your team, compounded with all the other injuries and things. But he does erase a lot of mistakes with his legs and his ability to make plays with his leadership and toughness. That was one great game. Hopefully he can play at that level all year. He was playing very well when he got hurt. But he's a big cog, and he's a great addition to get back, that's for sure.
Q. Is he 100 percent, or is he still playing with some shoulder --
COACH FISHER: He's getting pretty close. There's always a little one there, you know what I mean, but he ran the ball and did everything, and he's pretty close to 100 percent.
Q. Just to follow up on that, has it been hard for you not to wonder what could have been this season had so many guys not been hurt?
COACH FISHER: I don't worry about that, and I say that -- I mean, in the end you may reflect back on things that could happen, but you understand as a coach that that is part of athletics. Injuries are a part of it. We have so few seniors and limited juniors that our team is mainly a lot of freshmen and sophomores with a limited number of juniors, and we don't have many seniors. So your depth issues, and in a year or two hopefully we can overcome those issues better than we have. We weren't disastrous. We lost the games but we were still close, we just needed to eliminate some mistakes and hopefully be mature. But as a coach you can’t dwell on that, you have to dwell on the future. Hopefully what we need to do is focus on finishing out this year and getting better every week, and we could still have a successful season and a very good season.
Q. SEC commissioner Mike Slive has proposed some academic reforms, including the use of multiple-year scholarships, doing away with one-year renewables. How would that work and do you favor it?
COACH FISHER: I'd have to hear more about it. I'm not against kids getting guaranteed scholarships, but also on their end there's things they have to uphold to be able to keep them. I don't think you see guys out here cutting -- as much as we think there are and people want to say that, I don't think you see coaches running guys off to create room for scholarships as much as we see, and I would like to see some guidelines for that, and I haven't had time to really think it through. From that standpoint I hate to say that I don't have an answer. I can see the rules of the game and give me some time to think through it.
Q. Well, certainly it's just a proposal at this point. If something like that was passed, would you like to see the schools have the final say-so on the length of scholarship? In other words, you could offer one kid a four-year, another kid a one-year?
COACH FISHER: I don't know if you could do that. I think you would have to probably be equal to everybody. And I think it would have to be universally -- see, what I think one of the problems with college football is, that I do think, I think we need a central board. We're trying to get all these same rules inside to do everything the same, and every conference has its own set of rules and own set of guidelines and so many different standards, it may be time that we get a set standard across the board in everything.
Q. Talk about the excitement of your coming home. It's been about a month since you've played a home game. Are your guys pumped up in the locker room about getting back to the home turf?
COACH FISHER: Yeah, we had to walk out on the field just to see what it looked like again. I made them walk out there and see it, we haven't been here in so long, just to recognize the stadium. It'll be hopefully good to get back to the home confines. I hope we understand just because we come home doesn't mean everything is right okay. We still have to prepare and play and do the things we've got to do. But it is good to get back to the friendly confines of Doak Campbell.
And now Maryland HC Randy Edsall
COACH EDSALL: Well, we've got another tremendous challenge on our hands going down to Tallahassee and playing Florida State. They've got E.J. Manuel back as their quarterback, and when you watch the film, you just see a very talented, athletic team that you've got to make sure that you're doing all the things that you're supposed to be doing in order to give yourselves a chance to win.
We've got to prepare well this week and go down and play great in all three phases to give ourselves an opportunity to win.
Q. How has CJ (Brown) handled now being the starter, being elevated to starter in practice and whatnot; how he's carried himself the last few days, and then the areas for improvement, how have you seen him work to get better of late?
COACH EDSALL: Well, I think he carries himself very, very well. He's a very poised, mature young man, a very confident young man, and he's just taking the opportunity that he's had and going out there and just trying to get better. Every day he's working to get better in all facets of his game, and again, you just see a guy that's extremely focused, a guy that knows that he's not the finished product but is a guy that's going to work extremely hard and take coaching, and again, I think we'll see him improve as he continues to get more repetitions.
Q. Is there any one area that you've seen him clean up specifically?
COACH EDSALL: No, I mean, he's got the ability to throw the ball. He's got the ability to run the ball. And again, when you take a look at it, he really hasn't played a whole lot of football in the last couple years. So I thought he got better from the Georgia Tech game to the Clemson game. And again, we hope that he makes that same improvement with the Florida State game.
Q. I'm sure you've gotten plenty of questions about CJ Brown this week but just another one. When you came in last year I'm sure you had heard a lot about Danny O'Brien, saw some good things out of him this spring. Was there a point when you kind of took notice that, hey, this other guy, he could be a factor, too?
COACH EDSALL: Well, you know, I said, we're very, very fortunate that we have two really good quarterbacks. I made mention of that in the spring. I made a comment that CJ Brown was pushing Danny O'Brien, and then everybody at that point in time wanted to--oh, do we have a controversy or whatever. So I saw it as we were out there in spring practice, and I felt, like I said, we have two very good quarterbacks. A little bit different skill set for each of them, and then you just see it going and you see CJ competing each and every day and preparing each and every day, so if and when his opportunity came he was going to go out and make the most of it. You know, now the roles have been reversed, so Danny is working very, very hard and knows that, hey, when his opportunity comes, then he's got to be ready to go, as well. So we're fortunate that we have two really good quarterbacks.
Q. As a follow-up, do you worry about keeping Danny happy?
COACH EDSALL: Well, just like with all of our positions, you know, we have a starter and we have a backup, and backups have to make sure that they're prepared, ready to go in the ballgame. You never know when that opportunity is going to come. We tell them they're one play away from playing, and when that opportunity comes, we expect them to go in and do a good job. That's the message that we send to all of our players. And the starters, we tell them, play so the backups don't get that opportunity to come in and relieve you. But if you're a backup, just make sure you're ready to go because you're one play away from playing.
Q. With the mounting injuries, are there any other scout team players you see distinguishing themselves right now, be it freshmen, sophomore, juniors, seniors, anybody down there that you may elevate and get in the mix?
COACH EDSALL: Oh, man. If you look at that every -- there's no freshmen that we're going to take at this point in time. Sixth, going into our seventh game of the year we're not going to burn a redshirt on anybody now. We do have some young men that could be there, but again, we just have to see how that all happens. We're really kind of thin right now at wide receiver, defensive back, linebacker a little bit. But I think that we'll start to get a couple guys back here off the injury shelf in the next couple weeks, or at least I hope we do.
Q. Are you hopeful for any of those this week?
COACH EDSALL: Again, it's a possibility. We'll have to see how today and tomorrow goes and then we'll put it out on Thursday night. But there's a glimmer of hope, but not as much of a glimmer as I would hope for at this point in time.
Q. Talk about the challenges of coaching the young defense that you have and what you took away from the Clemson game to get prepared for another good offense in Florida State coming up this weekend.
COACH EDSALL: Well, it's really a lot fun because these kids are very eager and excited, and they're playing with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. It's just that you have to be patient because they're young, they're inexperienced, and they haven't seen everything that a junior or a senior who's played for two or three years have seen. But the way they go out each day to practice and the way they approach it and their eagerness and their ability to learn has just been very, very good, and again, it's just--you know, in this league you don't--there's no rest for the weary. You go from Georgia Tech, you go to Clemson and now to Florida State and then you're going to go to another one next weekend. But again, I just like the way they've approached things. I like their attitude. I like the way that they've prepared during the week.