Terps Work Through Two-A-Day
Aug. 14, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland football team had its second two-a-day of the preseason on Tuesday, completing a morning workout along with an early-evening session on Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
The Terps, who scrimmaged Sunday afternoon before taking a day off on Monday, have now completed 10 practices this preseason. The team will practice again Wednesday, hold another two-a-day Thursday and practice once Friday before holding a scrimmage open to the public Saturday at 3 p.m.
Following Tuesday's morning session, head coach Randy Edsall emphasized to his team the importance of having a next-man-up mentality after sophomore safety Matt Robinson had to leave practice with a shoulder injury.
"There's going to be somebody that wasn't expected to play that all of the sudden is going to have to play," said Edsall. "So what they've got to understand is they've got to play as good as or better than the guy they're replacing.
"It's unfortunate with Matt in terms of what happened to him, and we'll see where [his injury] is. But like I said, it's a great message and a great lesson for all these other guys to say, `Hey, I've got to be out here doing everything that the coaches want me to do and executing the proper way because I'm going to get an opportunity sometime when I least expect it.'"
Integrating young players into camp - those that could be leaned upon should injuries strike - has been one of many focal points in the first nine days of practice. When the Terps opened camp last Monday, 33 players were being introduced to their first fall practice.
True freshmen quarterbacks Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe are two of those, and the pair has been battling it out to serve as starter C.J. Brown's backup. Edsall said Tuesday that Hills, a Pittsburgh native, has gained an early edge.
"Right now Perry is the number two guy," said Edsall. "He's a little bit ahead of Caleb right now... there is still really good competition right now but Perry is a little ahead. [Perry's] overall command and presence on the field in terms of running everything and not making as many mental mistakes put him ahead."
Meanwhile, another freshman has moved to the top of the depth chart at punt and kick returner. Stefon Diggs has been taking first-team reps at both of those spots and has been impressive, not only physically, but also mentally.
"He's shown that he can do things," said Edsall. "We've just got to continue to coach him up and teach him all the little intricacies of being a return guy, but also how to read blocks - not only the people coming down and how to set some of those things up. He's a quick learner and I've been very pleased with his poise in terms of catching the ball and understanding everything that I'm looking for in a return guy because I'm the guy that coaches those guys."
Diggs, who has been taking reps with the second team at wide receiver, also had an impressive catch Tuesday morning. In a red-zone drill, the freshman caught an eight-yard pass in the end zone from Hills and absorbed a big hit from junior linebacker Marcus Whitfield, holding on to the ball for a touchdown.
Ross Impressing: Edsall said that if the season were to start today, redshirt freshman Brandon Ross would be the starter at running back ... Ross is part of a crowded backfield that has been incredibly competitive early in camp. "There are just some things [Ross has] done, he's been very consistent. There's a lot of things we still have to work with him on but he really did some really good things. And then I thought that Wes [Brown] and Albert [Reid] did some good things there in the scrimmage. So right now this week we've got Brandon and Justus working with the ones and Albert and Wes working with the twos."
Tidbits: The severity of Robinson's injury wasn't immediately clear. In his absence, true freshman Sean Davis took reps with the first team ... Edsall said Sunday's scrimmage afforded the coaches a valuable evaluation of where the team is. Of the 145-play scrimmage, the first team got 46 plays, the second team 55 and the third team 44 ... at the X-receiver, Edsall said redshirt freshman Nigel King and sophomore Devin Burns are in a tight competition for the backup spot behind senior Kevin Dorsey ... Brock Dean, a 6-foot, 210-pound product of Bishop McDevittt High School in Harrisburg, Pa., is another true freshman that has impressed. Dean is now listed as the backup to senior Demetrius Hartsfield at "MO" linebacker.
Fan Appreciation Day Set for Saturday: Saturday's scrimmage, which will be held in Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, is open to the public and will give Maryland football fans a close-up glimpse of the team and the new FieldTurf. Gates open at 2 p.m. and the scrimmage will start at 3:00. Terrapin fans will have the opportunity to gather autographs from players immediately following the session. Athletics department officials will be on hand for select-a-seat and mezzanine upgrade opportunities for the 2012 season. Season tickets for this year's six-game home slate start as low as $114. Free parking is available on Saturday in Lot 1 and fans can access Byrd through Gate I. For a campus map, click here.