The Maryland football team held its first practice of the preseason under the lights Monday night at the on-campus practice facility.
After holding its annual media day earlier in the day, head coach Randy Edsall and his staff focused on individual work to open practice before moving into unit and team drills during the two-hour session in shorts, jerseys and helmets. The team will don shoulder pads on Wednesday and Thursday before moving into full pads for the first time on Friday.
For senior quarterback C.J. Brown, Monday’s practice marked his first action in close to a year, but according to Edsall his confidence seemed to grow throughout practice.
“You could tell that he felt comfortable doing the things that he had to do,” said Edsall. “He didn’t do any team work during the spring. I’m sure he’s got more confidence after today. The timing and things like that will be much better the next time we come out.”
After leading the team in receptions (54), receiving yards (848), and touchdown receptions (6) as a freshman in 2012, wide receiver Stefon Diggs is sure to be a go-to target for Brown this fall. But the addition of wide receiver Deon Long could change the way defenses attack the Terps this season according to Edsall.
“You can see Deon is a talent as well,” said Edsall. “To be able to have a weapon that is only going to enhance us and it’s going to make people play a little bit more straight. If they want to go and turn their coverage to Stefon, you have a guy opposite of him that can really do damage and if they want to roll to him then you’ve got Stefon. We’ve got some guys. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.”
Maryland is also in the process of introducing 27 true freshmen and 13 redshirt freshmen – nearly 40 percent of the 104 total – to preseason camp. Of that group, defensive back Will Likely has made an early impression on Edsall.
“I’ve liked Will since he got here,” said Edsall. “He’s got some innate ability that you can’t coach; instincts and knowledge of the game. I think Will’s going to be a good one for us. He’s in that mix to be a contributor this year.”