Friday night’s spring football game ended in a 13-13 tie on a blocked field goal as time expired. Accordingly, both sides won a postgame feast of lobster and steak. Cheers for everyone involved.
More will come as Maryland breaks spring and enters summer, but here are some quick
observations. Rosters for the Red (first-team defense/second-team offense) and White Teams (first-team offense/second-team defense) can be found here.
>> Coach Randy Edsall has made it clear he wants an every-down back, but what if the Terps enter summer with three possible options? Brandon Ross has added speed, strength and vision between the tackles, picking up where he left off after claiming the starting job for last fall’s final four games. He rushed for 122 yards on 19 carries with the first-team offense, outdone only by Albert Reid’s 23 carries for 135 yards and 23-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Adams.
Reid, for comparison’s sake, rushed for 92 yards last season on 36 carries. He opened the season as Maryland’s starter against William & Mary but was quickly relegated to short-yardage duties. Coaches have raved about his offseason work ethic, and the improvements showed Friday night.
“It could be something special,” Ross said of himself and Reid. “We’ve just got to keep working and stay healthy.”
Of course, that’s without mentioning Wes Brown, still healing from offseason ankle and shoulder surgery. Brown impressed in spurts during his true freshman season, and will too be in the mix come preseason camp.
>> Quarterback Ricardo Young completed 12 of 21 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown, a 51-yard screen-turned-jaunt by Stefon Diggs. Edsall has ridden Young all spring for his inconsistency, but the junior transfer showed some flashes. He took five first-half “sacks” – Young probably would have used his speed to escape at least two of those – but displayed increased accuracy, including some arm strength on the run. He also nearly hooked up with Deon Long on a five-yard fade into the end zone, completing the pass just out of bounds, and after throwing his only interception returned to complete four passes on the ensuing drive.
C.J. Brown (ACL) sat out Friday night but enters summer as the presumed starter. Still, Young’s first-team repetitions taken all spring could help him challenge for playing time.
“I know for a fact that both quarterbacks are great,” Diggs said. “They both do a great job. They both study film and do what quarterbacks are supposed to do. You’ve got to work around those guys and do what you can to help your team. I look forward to seeing who gets the job.”
>> Shawn Petty took a few snaps with Diggs in the backfield. Edsall allowed both teams some trick plays. “That’s something they did,” he said. “It won’t be in our arsenal for the season. That was for the fans.” Petty had a good day on defense, finishing with a game-high 13 tackles, or one-third of his passing completions during last season’s emergency quarterback stint.
>> Wide receiver Nigel King got nicked up on a jump ball against cornerback Jeremiah Johnson. Trainers stretched him out and taped an ice pack to his right knee. Edsall said King hyperextended his knee, but expected the sophomore to be fine. He remained on the sideline and walked around the field after.
>> Johnson, Zach Dancel and Isaac Goins all recorded interceptions. Marcus Whitfield had a game-high three sacks. Avery Thompson tipped Brendan Magistro’s potential game-winner as time expired. The first-team defense was credited with five pass breakups, including Sean Davis saving a touchdown to Long.
>> No returns took place. Offenses took over at a designated yard line and all punts were fair-caught. Diggs, Long and Will Likely all took turns fielding punts. In the kicking game, Brad Craddock hit from 24 and 40 yards. Punter Nate Renfro averaged 41.8 yards on four punts, including a game-long 50-yarder.
>> Michael Dunn, Mike Madaras (twice) and Jake Wheeler were whistled for holding penalties.
>> Edsall said the team will forgo its four-captain system in favor of returning to a 10-man “leadership council.” Captains will be selected week by week. Each position coach nominated a player to the council. The following made the cut: Diggs, Reid, C.J. Brown, tight end Dave Stinebaugh, center Sal Conaboy, defensive lineman Darius Kilgo, outside linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, inside linebacker Cole Farrand, Johnson and long snapper Greg Parcher.
>> Maryland announced the official attendance as 8,200. Fans were invited onto the field for postgame autographs. Predictably, the longest line formed behind Diggs’s table.
>> Players report for preseason camp on Aug. 4. Look for posts over the next few days on the running backs, Diggs and a pre-summer primer.