News and notes from Coach Randy Edsall’s Sunday teleconference, reviewing the Maryland football team’s 24-21 loss to Connecticut on Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
Albert Reid was the season-opening starter. Justus Pickett was the workhorse as Maryland improved to 2-0. Wes Brown bounced back from two fumbles against Temple to shine against Connecticut. And Brandon Ross practiced with the scout team this past week, on his way to returning from a hamstring injury.
So, Coach Edsall, any decisions on the backfield situation going forward?
“That’s something we’ll evaluate this week with Brandon and Wes and all the running backs we have,” Edsall said. “We haven’t sat down and talked as a staff yet about that. We’ll start doing that tonight and tomorrow and go from there.”
The Terps have operated on a game-by-game basis concerning their backfield, and Brown became the latest beneficiary Saturday. The Good Counsel product had 14 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown on a nice run. The Huskies brought blitzers from the edges, and Brown went straight through a hole up the middle, bouncing off a lineman and trotting in untouched from 19 yards.
“I thought he ran hard yesterday,” Edsall said of Brown. “I thought he did good things. You could see that when he got into the hitting area, and people hit him, he put two hands on the ball so he learned from the previous week.”
Ross was listed as probable but received no time. Edsall said that the Terps will “take a look at those things this week, and we’ll have a better idea for where we’ll be with how we’ll do things by the end of the week.”
From his circus touchdown reception to dancing out of a blanketed punt-return coverage, Stefon Diggs was giant bright spot for the Terps with 223 all-purpose yards.
Now, they just have to figure out ways to get him the ball more.
“Those are some discussions we’ve had after the game and early today and everything,” Edsall said. “He’s a guy we do have to get the ball to.
“You just see the productivity he has when the ball is in his hands. We have to find a way to get him on the field a little more, maybe get him a few more touches than what he’s seen.”
Diggs lined up on Maryland’s first play when the Terps opened in a four-wide set, his first official start at wideout. Diggs finished with a team-high 57 yards on three receptions, including that 29-yard touchdown reception that fell into his hands when Marcus Leak tipped the pass.
“When you have the yardage he’s had, we obviously have to try to find a way to get the ball in his hands, because when he has it in his hands, he usually will make something positive happen,” Edsall said
The Terps came away without any new injuries, and got some players back in Matt Robinson (shoulder) and Isaac Goins (illness) in their secondary.
Robinson started at strong safety and had six tackles, three solo.
“I thought Matt played a very physical game,” Edsall said. “I was very pleased with what Matt did coming back yesterday. I didn’t see a whole lot of rustiness in him. I thought it was a good first game for him, coming back after having not played since last year. I thought he played, overall, a good solid game.”
Goins appeared in “about eight to nine plays” for the Terps on nickel packages.
“He gives us something there, a little more dimension in terms of what we might be able to do in our package, having those three corners you need to play some nickel schemes or some other schemes,” Edsall said.
Edsall did not expect De’Onte Arnett to suit up after the offensive lineman had his ankle fallen on during practice. Arnett was listed as questionable, but looked good during pregame warmups and saw time against the Huskies.
“Quite frankly, I didn’t think he was going to play,” Edsall said. “You could tell that he did miss some practice time, but I thought he went in there, competed hard, did the best he could.”
Renfro needs more consistency
After exiting Maryland’s season-opening win against William & Mary with the nation’s lead in punting, Nathan Renfro has struggled since. He averaged 42.1 yards per punt on seven attempts against Connecticut with a long of 51, but had a 32-yarder that allowed the Huskies to take over at Maryland’s 36-yard line. They eventually scored to take a 14-0 lead.
“Those are things we have to work on with Nate,” Edsall said. “He has to be more consistent, just relax and punt the ball. We know what he can do, and again, things that we seein practice, he’s still the best guy based on the numbers. Again, he can kick it, he’s just got to be more consistnet. We coach him up, tell him the things he needs to do. Now he has to go out there and develop that consistency that you’re looking for.”
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