With Fan Appreciation Day set for Saturday, Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, the Maryland football team held its final open practice prior to Saturday’s scrimmage at the on-campus practice facility Thursday afternoon.
Heading into the weekend, there are several hotly contested position battles, one of which is for the No. 2 quarterback spot. While a little separation is emerging between Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe and Ricardo Young , head coach Randy Edsall is not tipping his hand just yet.
“I think you’re starting to see some separation there a little bit,” said Edsall. “I want to wait until after the scrimmage and see what goes on there. We still have practice tomorrow and the scrimmage. I think I’m closer to knowing who’s two, three and four, but again, I’m just going to let that play out on Saturday. They’re all three still fighting it out.
“I want to find the next guy, if he has to come in, where we don’t have to change the game plan. I’m looking for the guy who can do both. That’s what we want out of our quarterbacks at Maryland. We want a guy who can throw the ball, but who can also make some plays with his legs as well.”
While the quarterback battle will stretch at least into Saturday, there seems to be some separation on who will be snapping the ball. After splitting time with Evan Mulrooney at center last season, Sal Conaboy has used a strong offseason to position himself well according to Edsall.
“Sal’s just played well,” said Edsall. “I think he took the bull by the horns. He got stronger over the summer. He’s really good with his checks and making the calls for the offensive line. I think he kind of separated himself from Evan [Mulrooney] based on the hard work, not that Even didn’t work hard, but Sal probably did a little bit more. He’s out here executing and doing the things that allowed him to be the starter.”
With the departure of five defensive starters from a year ago, the unit will have several new contributors this fall. The veteran leadership will need to be provided by an experienced secondary, particularly Jeremiah Johnson and Dexter McDougle. It is a role Edsall believes the two have embraced.
“Those two guys have been around,” said Edsall. “They’re savvy. They want to work. When you get a chance to go against Stefon [Diggs], Nigel [King] and Deon [Long], before he was out, and even Amba [Etta] and Levern [Jacobs], you’ve got pretty good competition. They’ve been solid. They’re good leaders and have been vocal on defense, and I think veterans should be. They should be vocal, they should be leaders and they should go out there and be productive, which both of those guys have been.”
Gates at will open at 12:30 p.m. for Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday. The scrimmage is set for 1:30 p.m. Following the scrimmage, Edsall and student-athletes will participate in an autograph session on the field. Fans are welcome to come on the field after the scrimmage and get an up-close look at this year’s squad. Authentic game-used Maryland Football gear including jerseys, cleats, and gloves will also be available for purchase.