Mike Locksley and a selection of Maryland football players addressed the media at Byrd Stadium on Tuesday. Via the program, here's a full transcript:
"I'm excited about the opportunity to come home. Come Saturday, it will be 35 days since we have played in Byrd Stadium and the players are getting excited about the opportunity to come back and play in familiar quarters. We're playing a Wisconsin team that is well coached. They do a great job in all three phases and they're a well-disciplined team. This will be our fifth defense that we've faced that's the top-15 in the country so we have a challenge on our hands from an offensive standpoint. Defensively, we'll be facing a rejuvenated run-game with the return of Corey Clement at running back. We have to go a great job at playing great team defense. I know our guys are excited. This is Homecoming, and as I have shared with the team, Homecoming is about all the former players and alums that have had the opportunity to represent this great University. It's not about us. It's our job to put on a good showing for our friends, family and alums that have all worn the red, black, gold, and white. I know they'll do that for us come Saturday."
On stopping Wisconsin's runs:
"Obviously last year they had their way with us in all three phases and I remember we didn't do much on the offensive side of the ball. But as far as stopping the run that is always how we start our defensive game-plan. The last couple of weeks defensively we've done some things where we have been able to contain the run and force teams to play left-handed to where they have to throw the football. And a lot of that is done by how we attack the line of scrimmage by outnumbering the box. We'll have to continue to do that. With the healthy running back Corey Clement coming back it's going to be really important for us to be gap-sound and play team-defense. We have to make sure that we have 11 hats on the football each and every time and also have the power to run through tackles. I've been happy with the way our run defense has been in the past couple of weeks. Pretty much since the Michigan game we've really committed to stopping the run and we're going to have to do that this weekend to give ourselves a chance to win."
On preparing for Corey Clement:
"If you look at what they do offensively, they're pretty balanced. I think having him on film in terms of the type of runner he is comes into play. But what we need to do when we study and prepare from a game plan - it's more scheme than personnel because the schemes won't change regardless of who the running back is.
"Their scheme changed quite a bit from last year because they have a new coach and a new offensive coordinator. Last year's schemes were a little different than what this regime has brought to the table. Again, they're a good offense. They've done a good job of getting better each week and they've obviously replaced some guys up front with some really good players that run on the next level. Our defense has a challenge ahead of them, but I know that they're excited about the challenge."
On Brandon Ross' improvement:
"He won the battle because he's our starting running back. Brandon has played an integral part - he's one of our first priorities to try to get the ball to. Obviously with some of the scheme things, we've had to go to from a run standpoint with the zone-read stuff. The defense can somewhat dictate who the ball-carrier becomes. I think a lot of people have initially forced Perry [Hills] to be a ball carrier and I think the more success Perry continues to have, you'll start to see the defensive scheme take the quarterback part of it away, and that's where I'm hoping Brandon Ross, Wes Brown, and Ty Johnson can continue to be active participants in our run game statistically."
On playing a Homecoming game:
"Every week is a big week for us because it's a one-game season. Now Homecoming adds a little more to it because there are some proud traditions of people that have come through and have worn this uniform. I've been here for a decade now and I know from the phone calls that I get from some of the guys that have told me they're coming back for this game, it's important that we show our alums - the guys that have worn this uniform before them - that we do take pride in the name on the front of the jersey and that we will go out and lay it on the line for 60 minutes. As I've said before, the scoreboard won't define them, but it's the effort, the preparation, and how you go about playing the game. That's the respect that our alums deserve to see. And every time you step on the field, not just Homecoming, we need to do a really good job of honing in and focusing on our jobs, doing it to the best of our ability, playing with our hair on fire for 60 minutes, and having fun while doing it. I know our guys will be excited about it."