Maryland conducted a two-hour practice late Wednesday afternoon, a beautiful day out at College Park. This was the last practice all season to be open to writers, and there were plenty of media members on hand. Thursday will mark Maryland’s final two-a-day and the final preseason scrimmage will occur Friday night before the team begins to truly focus on Miami.
The Terrapins took part in a game-like scrimmage Sunday, and Coach Randy Edsall made some decisions about his depth chart, but an updated two-deep has not been released yet.
“The scrimmage was good,” Edsall said. “We got probably 120 plays in and gave everybody an opportunity to get in there and perform and came out of it healthy. Hopefully here and after two more practices, then we will have a firm depth chart in place.”
No one yet knows whether 12 current Miami players, all of whom were implicated in the Yahoo Sports investigation concerning a rogue booster, will be eligible for the Labor Day night game. Most are starters or prominent players. But Edsall maintained that he’s focused on Maryland.
(UPDATE: According to a CBSports.com report, Miami Coach Al Golden said Thursday that he would not be releasing a depth chart, and that the 12 players likely would be ruled ineligible in hopes of having them cleared to play by the NCAA before the opener.
The Miami Herald reported Thursday that the university declared eight student-athletes ineligible pending NCAA review. According to the Herald report, all eight were believed to be football players and included starting quarterback Jacory Harris.)
“That’s not our issue,” he said of Miami. “Our issue is us and trying to be the best we can be. We can’t control anything going on at the University of Miami. But what we can control is how good we want to be through our preparation. They are going to come up here and ready to play. We have to be ready to play at a high level.”
The Terrapins are expected to be explosive on offensive this season, and players have spoke highly of coordinator Gary Crowton’s system. Edsall addressed why he pursued Crowton.
“I worked with Gary when I was at BC,” Edsall said. “I was always impressed with the work that he did there. We stayed in touch at other places, La. Tech, BYU, Oregon, LSU. He is a good football coach, a good teacher. The philosophy that he has is what I was looking for. It was a good situation for us.”
Regarding his starting quarterback, Edsall said he has been impressed that Danny O’Brien has maintained such a strong work ethic after achieving a high level of success as a freshman.
“The thing that I like is that sometimes guys in that situation could have a tendency to become a little complacent or get satisfied and let it get to their head,” Edsall said. “But he is just in here working every day to be better. When you see that, you don’t worry about complacency. You don’t worry about those things. That’s what leads me to believe he will perform well. I don’t see any problems with him continuing to get better.”
Edsall also continued to praise his wide receiver corps, explaining that they may not be as inexperienced as some people think.
“Three of them are seniors,” Edsall said. “They just have not had their time on the field. They have been around. They have worked extremely hard in the offseason to get their game where they want it to be. Now you can see they have confidence in each other.”
The biggest surprise has been the emergence of Tony Logan, who excelled as a punt returner last season. Now he is expected to be a contributor at wide receiver, as well.
“I saw a guy who did all these great things as a punt returner,” Edsall said. “Why can’t he do it as a wide receiver? That’s one of the reasons why moved him from slot to the outside. I also talked to his dad and we talked about the expectations. The credit goes to Tony. He has made tremendous strides since the spring. He is probably one of the top three guys who has made the biggest jump.”
Here are some quick hits on Edsall’s thoughts about three other players:
— Regarding starting running back Davin Meggett and his unique personality, Edsall said: “I have more funny conversations and kid around more with him than just about anyone on the team. He is brutally honest. He never gets too high, too low. He knows when to joke around and when to be serious and really turn it on. I just enjoy really being around him. He doesn’t complain.”
— On the progress of left tackle Max Garcia, Edsall said: “Max understands the schemes and at that position he just has to be technically sound and fundamentally sound. He is a confident guy. He just has to continue to work on his technique. He just can’t get sloppy.”
— And Edsall’s quick take on right guard Josh Cary: “Josh is strong enough. It’s just getting stronger with his feet. For guys who have not played a whole lot, it’s technique. You can make up for skill set with technique.”