AAC CALL (GAME 9): HC Randy Edsall Looks Back at UMass & Ahead to Navy

OPENING STATEMENT: “I thought we played well this past weekend in all three phases. There are things you can always get better at and clean-up, but we probably played our most complete game. Offensively, we really controlled the whole game and did an excellent job of running the football for over 300 yards. [RB] Kevin [Mensah] had an outstanding game with the 5 touchdowns, 164-yards on 19-carries, so Kevin is a young man that just works extremely hard each and every day, wants to be better each and every day and is a guy that takes everything from a personal standpoint to be the best he can be, so I’m glad to see that hard work and dedication pay off. It goes without saying that the offensive line did an outstanding job as well. Defensively we did some good things, had some penalties that hurt us, a lapse once or twice with some technique issues that gave us some problems.”

“We have a tremendous challenge Friday night going against Navy. Ken [Niumatalolo] has his buys playing very, very well. You watch them on offense and [QB] Malcolm Perry is an outstanding young man and an outstanding football player and running their offense to perfection. Jamal Caruthers is playing very, very well, so they are very diverse on offense and can give you a lot of problems not just in terms of running the ball, but then what they do off of play-action. We’ll have our hands full there. Watching them defensively, they fly around. They are physical, fly around and run to the ball. You can see why they are having the success they are having this year and as I said, we are going to have a tremendous challenge ahead of us playing on a short week and preparing for that offense. Hopefully we can play at their speed when the game starts because that’s a problem that this offense gives you; you don’t see it every day and trying to get your developmental squads to perfect it, it takes more than 4-or-5 days to do that. But we’ll be ready, we just got off the practice field this morning, we had to change our schedule this morning because of the Friday night game, but our kids will be ready and look forward to playing an outstanding Navy team.”

AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON, WHAT ARE YOU SEEING FROM YOUR TEAM?: “I see us getting better. We are better now than what we were at the beginning of the year. We are also younger now than what we were at the beginning of the year. I see a group of guys who are eager and hungry to keep improving. That’s what you want to be about. We are playing a lot of young guys and you can see the growth in each game that they are playing, the growth in our quarterback [Jack Zergiotis], the growth in [LB] Jackson Mitchell, who just started at inside-backer, both true freshmen and all the other guys. That’s all I want us to do is keep improving and getting better. If you do that, then you’re going to give yourself an opportunity to win when you play the games each and every week.”

WHAT HAS THE MESSAGE BEEN ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL?: “That’s going pretty well for us. We want guys who are good people, good players and good students because of the things we have to do here. I want guys that are going to compete, have the ability to be leaders who want to work and do the things necessary to give yourself a chance to win and be part of a culture where team is important and come to try to do something different than they try to do at some of these other places.”

GROWING UP WHERE YOU DID, YOU HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF NAVY FOOTBALL HISTORY. NOW THAT THIS MAY BE THE LAST TIME YOU PLAY NAVY, CAN YOU TOUCH UPON YOUR THOUGHTS ON NAVY AND THE SERIES YOU’VE HAD WITH THEM?: “It goes back to when I played, I played against them when I was at Syracuse, as well, up at Archibald Stadium, actually threw an interception against them. I have a lot of great memories of the Naval Academy, growing up not too far from there and going down there and seeing some games in Annapolis. The thing is you just have so much respect for that program. When Paul [Johnson] was there, we played and now Kenny and Gary Tranquill, George Welsh, just to see what they’ve done over the years. I made a comment to our staff that this might be the best Navy team that I’ve seen. They are very athletic, the things that you see on tape. This is a different Navy team than I’ve seen in a lot of years when I’ve watched them play. You just have so much respect for what those young men do and what they go through during their college career. It’s always an honor and a privilege to be able to go and compete against them.”

4 months ago
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