Maryland kicked off its second week of preseason camp on Monday, but media availability won’t come until Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what to watch entering a week of two open practices and one scrimmage.
Tuesday, Aug. 13: 3:35-5:35 p.m. at Byrd Stadium
Thursday, Aug. 15: 3:35-5:35 p.m. at Byrd Stadium
Saturday, Aug. 17: 1:30 p.m. at Byrd Stadium — Open scrimmage with autograph session to follow
Out for the season: DB Milan Collins (ankle)
Out for this week: LS Christian Carpenter (knee), FB Tyler Cierski (calf), OL JaJuan Dulaney (knee), WR Taivon Jacobs (knee), WR Deon Long (back), DL Andre Monroe (toe), DL Kingsley Opara (shoulder), RB Joe Riddle (head), ILB Marc Rodriguez (hamstring), DL Ty Tucker (knee)
Out Tuesday and Wednesday: Tyrek Cheeseboro (funeral)
1) Injuries: Only two starters will miss the week — Long and Cierski. Long isn’t losing his starting spot anytime soon, unless this back thing becomes more problematic, but the name Amba Etta has long been on Coach Randy Edsall’s tongue as a potential sleeper. He might be Maryland’s fastest receiver in the open field, using his long legs to gallop past defenders, and caught touchdowns both in the spring game (23 yards) and in the open scrimmage at Dunbar High School (60 yards). He made a tremendous leaping catch over Will Likely during one-on-one drills last practice too.
As for Cierski, he was replaced during last week’s practice for Kenneth Goins on goal-line drills, though in hindsight that could have foretold his current calf injury. Goins, a redshirt freshman from Gilman, could have an opportunity to impress with his blocking and short-yardage carrying this week with Cierski shelved.
2) Safety competition: A.J. Hendy opened last Friday’s practice with the first team, with Sean Davis nipping at his heels. Edsall hasn’t provided an update there in some time, letting the competition play out with little fanfare. Davis claims himself to be a more freewheeling, high-flying safety, while Hendy is probably the safer choice, a sounder technician. Keep an eye on this one moving forward, though whoever loses out on the starting job should still see the field plenty. Saturday’s open scrimmage could provide a better indication.
3) Backup quarterbacks: Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills and Ricardo Young all are competing to be first in line behind starting quarterback C.J. Brown. Based off limited observations, Rowe has looked the best so far, though he has a tendency to overshoot receivers on deep balls, getting a little too eager to use that cannon of an arm. Young clearly has a strong grasp of the read option game, and the speed to back it up, but his accuracy too has shown room for improvement. Hills, who started seven games in Brown’s absence last season, might actually be third in the backup pecking order at this point. His composure and grasp of the system, once an advantage when he and Rowe first entered last season, might not be such an asset anymore, especially as Rowe catches up mentally.