Terps spring football practice report: Day 8

A brief rundown of what happened at the Maryland football team’s latest spring practice.

VITALS

Date: March 30.
Practice number: 8.
Duration: A little over 2 1/2 hours. The live scrimmage went for 22 series.
Location: Dunbar High School, Baltimore
Dress code: Full pads and game jerseys.

ATTENDANCE

Injured and out: RB Wes Brown (ankle/labrum), WR Marcus Leak (toe), WR Levern Jacobs (labrum), WR Tyrek Cheeseboro (hamstring). All were in attendance with the team. Coach Randy Edsall said Jacobs could begin individual work soon.

Yellow jerseys: QB C.J. Brown (ACL), QB Ricardo Young, QB Dustin Dailey, QB Caleb Rowe (ACL), QB Perry Hills (ACL), OLB Matt Robinson (labrum). Rowe and Hills stretched with the team. Rowe participated in some warmup agility drills, and Edsall said he’s “champing at the bit” to return. Hills, Edsall said, is progressing a little slower to the severity of his ACL tear. Both Robinson and Brown sat out the scrimmage but took full reps during 7-on-7s.

Limited: LB Cole Farrand (left ankle fracture), C Evan Mulrooney (hip), Brown, Rowe, Hills, Robinson. Farrand sat out the scrimmage but otherwise participated in full.

Disciplinary issues: None.

INJURIES

WR Nigel King and LB Alex Twine both got shaken up and attended to by trainers, but returned and were fine.

HEADLINES

>> During the scrimmage, the running backs ruled the day. First-stringer Brandon Ross and backup Albert Reid both scored two touchdowns, and third-stringer Joe Riddle added a third. More on Ross this week, but with running Wes Brown still sidelined, Ross continues to impress. He ripped off a 60-yard touchdown run right up the gut, out-sprinting the secondary, and scored from five yards out on the scrimmage’s first drive. By my rough count, he finished the scrimmage with 19 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns. More on Ross later this week.

Reid had a 28-yard rushing touchdown and caught a six-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Dustin Dailey. He also broke through the A gap for a 57-yard rush. The rising sophomore, who was Maryland’s opening-day starter last season before fading away, is working hard to challenge Ross this spring.

Riddle, meanwhile, could make things crowded once Brown returns. He likely won’t compete for much playing time, but displayed some speed and surprising strength, scoring on fourth and one from the 9-yard line. Riddle also fumbled a handoff that linebacker Abner Logan recovered.

“We’ve got some good competition at running back,” Edsall said. “Brandon is the starter right now, and Wes isn’t out here, but Albert is pushing him. Albert is going hard. And Brandon’s a lot stronger this year. You don’t see him going down as easy as he did a year ago. That’s the thing I’m starting to like. We’re getting a lot more depth and competition at positions. When you have that, it makes it good .Everyone has to work.”

>> Wide receiver Deon Long returned from a two-week, university-imposed suspension that was retroactive to before spring break. He hauled in a lengthy lame-duck pass on the scrimmage’s first play from quarterback Ricardo Young, burning cornerback Jeremiah Johnson down the left sideline.

“Good play,” Edsall said. “We know that Deon’s a guy who has the ability to make some plays. We just have to continue to work hard, and he’s got to continue to work hard to get better at his technique. That was a nice play to start the offense.”

The two also hooked up for a gorgeous jump ball on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line. Long ran a fade towards the near right pylon, leaping up and over cornerback Dexter McDougle. Young has struggled to attain consistent accuracy this spring, so that pass was one of his prettier ones of the day.

>>Young was solid during 7-on-7s, completing 8 of 14 passes but threw a pick-six to linebacker Matt Robinson that Tony Perry tipped in coverage. He finished the drill strong, completing two straight passes to Stefon Diggs after overthrowing him twice earlier in the drill.

C.J. Brown struggled to get on the same page with his second-team wide receivers, completing just 3 of 13 passes with one interception that went through tight end Brian McMahon’s hands. Wide receiver Amba Etta also dropped a pass, though he atoned for it with a 60-yard fly pattern touchdown from quarterback Dustin Dailey, probably the best pass Dailey has thrown all spring.

>> Speaking of Diggs, he did typical Stefon Diggs things, turning a simple crossing route from Young into a 59-yard touchdown, totally outrunning the defense down the right sideline.

>> Tight end Dave Stinebaugh made some catches in traffic, including a fourth-down completion from Young that brought the offense from enemy territory into the red zone. He also caught consecutive 15-yard passes over the middle from Young, and later hauled in an eight-yard pass on the same drive.

>> Wide receiver Nigel King continues to have a strong spring, hauling in a reception of at least 40 yards from Young during the scrimmage.

>> Kicker Brad Craddock was perfect on three field-goal attempts, hitting from 35 yards, 38 yards and 21 yards. Neither he nor Brendan Magistro missed an extra-point attempt. The Terps didn’t do any punting or kickoffs.

“He was a little bit better,” Edsall said of Craddock. “The thing with Brad, we just have to get him to focus on his line and kick the ball nice and easy. If he does that, he’s okay, but when he starts getting the ball to the left, then we know he’s not doing those things. That’s his checklist. He wasn’t as down the middle as I wanted him to early on, but as the scrimmage went on he was putting the ball right down the middle.”

>> Offensive lineman Gary Harraka received a dressing-down from Edsall after getting flagged for what appeared to be some retaliation during the extra point. “That’s dumb,” Edsall barked. “Dumb.”

Tackle Nick Klemm also drew the ire of defensive line coach Greg Gattuso for an illegal chop block from behind. He was immediately yanked from the scrimmage but returned later.

>> On defense, Quinton Jefferson impressed throughout the day, displaying some increased strength and speed along the front line. He finished with two sacks and a tipped ball on a play later ruled pass interference. He caught some flak for trying to pick up a fumble (on a bad pitch from Young to Reid) with one hand in stride, rather than pouncing on it. He got subbed out and yelled at for that one.

>> Linebacker L.A. Goree sacked Young, forced a fumble and recovered it on the same play. Defensive lineman Clarence Murphy also had a sack.

>> A full officiating crew handled refereeing duties for the scrimmage. Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart was already in midseason form, working them hard after they inexplicably didn’t measure for a first down. “Everyone needs practice,” Stewart said. “Even you guys.”

>> Defensive back A.J. Hendy made a nice tackle on the final series, blowing up a screen pass to wide receiver Malcolm Culmer behind the line of scrimmage. Johnson also finished with a solid day, despite the early deep route given up against Long.

>> Dunbar QB William Crest (2014) was in attendance, breaking down the yard markers after the scrimmage. A four-star recruit according to Yahoo, Cresit also has offers from Ohio State, West Virginia and North Carolina, among others. A few other recruits and signees were also around, as was assistant basketball coach Bino Ranson.

>> Linebacker-turned-quarterback-turned-linebacker Shawn Petty intercepted Dustin Dailey during the line scrimmage, but got chased down by the backup quarterback in the red zone

>> Edsall said the crowd was around 1,000, not including the 50 or so who watched from behind the steel fence. The stands thinned considerably by the end, however.

WHAT’S NEXT

Look for posts in the upcoming days on Ross, Jefferson and Young. Maryland practices at Byrd Stadium on Tuesday at 4 p.m. It is closed to the public. The Terps travel to Middletown High School next Saturday for another open scrimmage. I’ll be on the road for both of those.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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