Terps preseason football practice report: Tuesday, Aug. 13

August 13, 2013

The Maryland football team’s third open preseason practice is in the books. Here’s a brief rundown of Tuesday’s action.

VITALS

Date: Aug. 13
Open practice number: 3
Duration: 23 five-minute periods.
Location: Practice field.
Dress code: Full pads.

ATTENDANCE

Injured and out: DB Milan Collins (ankle), 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)

Absent: WR Nigel King (dental), WR Stefon Diggs (dental), WR Tyrek Cheeseboro (bereavement)

Limited: OL Silvano Altamirano, WR Daniel Adams, LB Bradley Johnson

INJURIES

No new injuries to report. King and Diggs were both out having dental work done. They should return within the week. Cheeseboro, at a relative’s funeral, is scheduled to be back Thursday. In hindsight, we probably should have seen this coming.

King also posted a picture of the tooth he had removed, but I’m not linking that here.

HEADLINES

>> Starting quarterback C.J. Brown spent the practice on the sidelines, in full pads, giving hand signals during team drills. The reason? Coach Randy Edsall still can’t decide between Brown’s three co-backups: Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe and Ricardo Young. After practice, Edsall said he wants to make a decision within the next several days, but even Saturday’s scrimmage and Tuesday’s session did little to clarify the muddled situation.

“I have no idea right now who’s our number two quarterback, because nobody’s really separated themselves,” Edsall said. “I thought it would be a good day today just to get those guys involved with the first unit and evaluate them, because within the next day or two, we’ve got to move forward. I’ve got to make a decision on who the number two is, to get him all the reps we need to get him and be prepared to play in a game.”

Edsall said none of the three separated himself at Tuesday’s practice, though it appeared that Young has developed a greater grasp of the offense, running the read option well and scoring the offense’s only touchdown of the day on a red-zone keeper. He also fired a bullet on the run that would have connected had offensive lineman Michael Dunn been flagged for a holding penalty, though at one point got chastised by Edsall for not setting the offense correctly and running up a delay of game penalty.

Rowe’s arm continues to be an asset, but he struggled at times developing connections with receivers, and at one point had an option pitch batted down and returned for a touchdown by starting linebacker Marcus Whitfield.

“I wasn’t real impressed with things today,” Edsall said. “There were a couple things they did well, then there were mistakes they make, that you don’t think they should make.

“It’s not just what you see taking place on the field. It’s also how are they managing the huddle, how are they getting the things translated from the sideline to the field, getting all the plays off and those sort of things. Just gave us another pretty good way to evaluate those three guys.”

>> A battle has opened up at right guard between Nick Klemm and Michael Doyle. Klemm, the incumbent starter, struggled last season and was replaced at left tackle by Mike Madaras, who returned to full pads on Tuesday after serving a two-week, university-imposed suspension.

Klemm and Doyle both had their hands full with defensive end Quinton Jefferson, who at times bull-rushed through them with ease. The offense needed help from its running backs to deal with Jefferson.

More on this battle later in the week. “I think Ryan Doyle has been playing a lot better this preseason than what he’s shown before,” Edsall said.

>> Speaking of battles, the free safety competition figures to last until game week, Edsall said. A.J. Hendy and Sean Davis split repetitions on Tuesday, and will continue to do so until the Florida International week, unless something happens beforehand. Hendy had a nice blitz and batted pass at practice today, but was whistled for a pass interference penalty.

“They’re switching. Nobody’s established themselves as the starter there yet,” Edsall said. “We still have that competition going. It just so happened that today was A.J.’s day to work with the ones. Again, that’s something that we’ll continue to evaluate. We know both of them will have to play for us in the different packages that we use.”

>> And speaking of Jefferson, he indirectly provided the day’s best highlight. He breezed by Klemm and got to Rowe, stripping the quarterback just as he threw. This violated Maryland’s no touching policy and caused defensive line coach Greg Gattuso to shriek, “You want Petty to play quarterback this year?” referencing linebacker Shawn Petty, who may or may not have been within earshot.

>> Edsall called freshman Jacquille Veii training camp’s biggest surprise. He runs hard, despite his 5-feet-9, 181-pound frame, and bounces off tackles with surprising regularity. He did drop a screen pass at one point Tuesday, causing a coach to yell, “Two hands!”

“I think he’s probably made the biggest impression on me out here,” Edsall said. “Just hope he continues it. Right now he’s the No. 3 tailback. You have to have three who can play. If we had to play tomorrow, I would say yes [Veii would play.”

>> Freshman cornerback Will Likely continues to impress, hauling in two interceptions. Both came off tipped passes, one from Young and the other from freshman Shane Cockerille. He also took punt returns with DeAndre Lane.

“Will’s very competitive,” Edsall said. “Will plays with a tremendous amount of confidence. Every day he’s out here working to get better. In the different schemes we play, there could be a role, but I think we have, when you look at corner, we’ve got five guys who can play there. We’ll see how it continues to play out, and how we’ll fit him in with certain things.”

>> With Diggs and King visiting the dentist and Long still out with back trouble, in stepped Malcolm Culmer, Amba Etta and Levern Jacobs into the starting receiver roles. Etta, a speedster who has impressed in recent weeks, had some pass-catching issues, dropping at least one pass on the afternoon.

“I think that he started off pretty good, then as we got the pads on he’s had to adjust a little bit, but he’ll be steady, he’ll be solid for us,” Edsall said. “He’s just going to continue to get better. He’s a long guy, he’s a long strider, he can catch the ball in a lot of different areas. The thing is, it’s his ability to go up and get the ball and his ability to run certain routes.”

>> Maryland began its practice with kickoff coverage. Here’s how the first and second teams lined up, from left to right.

First team: Jeremiah Johnson, Sean Davis, Matt Robinson, Kenneth Goins, Shawn Petty, Brad Craddock (kicker), Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, Alex Twine, A.J. Hendy, Alvin Hill

Second team: Levern Jacobs, Jarrett Ross, Cavon Walker, Abner Logan, Yannick Ngakoue, Michael Tart/Adam Greene (kicker), L.A. Goree, Jermaine Carter, Anthony Nixon, Isaac Goins, Will Likely.

That’s five freshmen on the second team, for those counting.

>> Goins drew two pass interference flags. The referees were busy.

>> Brad Craddock closed practice with a 36-yard field goal from the right hashmark. It was the afternoon’s only field-goal attempt.

>> Nathan Renfro had punts of 39, 43, 49 and 56 yards. Michael Tart’s went for 37, 31 and 44 yards.

>> Forgot to add this last week, but Maryland recently added Zimuzo Nwaigwe, a walk-on running back from Forest Hill, Md. He’s listed as a sophomore transfer, currently receiving fourth-team running back repetitions with Joe Riddle still out.

>> Maryland hosted four children and their families in conjunction with the Casey Cares Foundation: Marielle, a 10-year-old battling Leukemia; Jordan, a 16-year-old afflicted with Graft vs. Host disease as a side effect of a bone marrow transplant; Shauna, 6, who has Wilms’ tumor, a form of cancer; and Dillon, who is officially off treatment. They took in practice and were scheduled for a meet-and-greet dinner with the players after. Dillon broke down the huddle at the end.

WHAT’S NEXT

Look for more posts from practice over the next several days. Maryland’s next open practice is Thursday at 3:35 p.m. Thanks for reading.

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