Ricardo Young crouched behind center, surveyed the matchups on both ends of the line of scrimmage and spotted wide receiver Deon Long in single coverage on the left side. After receiving the snap, Maryland’s first-year quarterback dropped back and waited until Long, his former teammate at New Mexico and Iowa Western Community College, got past the defender down the sideline.
Young then released the ball that settled into Long’s arms some 50 yards later for a touchdown, providing the most memorable play on the first afternoon of spring practice for the Terrapins on Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
“It was really good,” said Young, who attended H.D. Woodson High School and spent last year sitting out as a transfer from New Mexico. “I felt like we got out there and connected a lot on a lot of things. I feel like I need to clean up on some details. Depth, getting back with proper depths on drops, rolling to my proper depth, just finishing off. A lot of attention to detail.”
The Terrapins practiced for roughly two hours in helmets, shirts and shorts on a frigid day, but the elements did not dull their enthusiasm. After Young completed the long throw to Long, he sprinted down the field and leapt to bump his teammate in celebration before others congratulated the pair.
While praising the effort, Coach Randy Edsall also said there is much room for growth for his first-team quarterback, who at the moment is without competition as C.J. Brown, Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe work their way back from injuries. The only other quarterback to throw Saturday was redshirt sophomore Dustin Dailey.
Young “can’t just go back there and rely just on [his] athletic ability,” Edsall said. “You’re going to have to do things the way we want them done and do them that way, and it’s going to make him more effective, and it’s going to make our offense more effective. If he doesn’t take proper depths or if he doesn’t get the depth on his drops, then the timing in the passing game is not going to be there.”
Young arrived in College Park after starting at Virginia Tech, where he redshirted as a freshman. Maryland had been one of the first programs to offer Young a scholarship, but the District’s third-ranked player instead chose the Hokies. He appeared to have a chance to start soon, and once Tyrod Taylor graduated, Virginia Tech opened a competition between Young and Logan Thomas.
The second week that spring, Young got hurt and Thomas flourished to claim the starting job. Unable to close the gap in the quarterback competition, Young settled on New Mexico, where Terrapins offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was head coach at the time. Now they’re reunited, giving Young a comfort level not customary to most transfers.
“Just from working with [Young] over the years, I feel like he’s gotten much better,” Long said. “He’s speeding up his footwork, getting his footwork right. He’s making those certain throws the way they need to be thrown, so I feel like he’s gotten much better.”