Terps preseason football practice report: Thursday, Aug. 15

August 15, 2013

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

VITALS

Date: Aug. 15
Open practice number: 5
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 Kingsley Opara (shoulder), RB Joe Riddle (head), ILB Marc Rodriguez (hamstring), DL Ty Tucker (knee), DL Zeke Riser (undisclosed)

Limited: OL Silvano Altamirano, WR Daniel Adams, LB Bradley Johnson, WR Tyrek Cheeseboro, DL Andre Monroe, TE Brian McMahon, FB Andrew Stefanelli.

INJURIES

Wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Nigel King returned from their dentist appointments and participated in full. Cheeseboro, back from bereavement leave, did individual work on the exercise bike.

Defensive end Zeke Riser, a graduate student transfer from Houston who had been working with the second team during preseason camp, was absent from practice. Coach Randy Edsall declined to comment on Riser’s status.

“We’ll talk about that on Monday,” Edsall said. “I don’t want to get into that today, but we’ll put all the injury stuff out on Monday.”

No new injuries from practice itself.

HEADLINES

>> In the ongoing three-way battle for backup quarterback, Edsall said he began to see separation during Thursday’s practice. When pressed for which quarterback — Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe or Ricardo Young — separated himself, Edsall only said that “all three are fighting it out.”

“I want to wait until after the scrimmage, see what goes on there, and evaluate tomorrow,” Edsall said. “In my mind, I’m closer to knowing who’s two, who’s three and who’s four, but I’ll let that play out until after the scrimmage on Saturday.”

Edsall said he will aim to get all three equal repetitions during Saturday’s open scrimmage, but that might depend on how his evaluations go after Thursday and Friday’s practice.

“It’s going to be who fits the offense, what we think is best for us,” Edsall said. “We have C.J. [Brown], hopefully we won’t have to use a number two. But we have to find a guy who can be the best at, to me, running and throwing just like C.J…If it doesn’t work out that way, and one of them is a better thrower and not as good a runner, or one’s a better runner and not as good a thrower, then we’ll see what happens. But I’m looking for a guy who can do both. That’s what we’re looking for out of our quarterbacks at Maryland.”

All three backups were solid Thursday. Hills completed 4 of 7 passes, mixing in a nice delivery to tight end P.J. Gallo with an underthrown mistake to DeAndre Lane. Young opened the half-skeleton drill with four straight completions, though three were dump-offs to running backs. He was 0 for 2 in goal-line situations, with one pass tipped at the line of scrimmage, but during team drills struck Malcolm Culmer on a crossing pattern.

Rowe did not take snaps during the goal-line situations, but was 4 for 5 during the half-skeleton, including three completions to Amba Etta, who continued to fill in for Deon Long (back) with the first team.

“We’ll just let it all play out, and then get back out to practice on Monday,” Edsall said. “By the time we get back out here Monday afternoon, we’ll have it all worked out.”

>> Brown, who sat for Tuesday’s open practice as the tri-backups duked it out, was 11 for 18 throughout the day. He completed nine straight passes at one point across the half-skeleton and team drills, but finished the day 0 for 4 on goal-line situations, including an interception.

>> Sophomore Ryan Doyle spent the entire practice at right tackle with the first team, while Nick Klemm worked at left tackle with the second team. Both are currently competing for the starting right tackle spot, but at least for one practice Doyle appeared to have overtaken Klemm for the job. Still, Edsall insisted it is still open.

“[Doyle]‘s still in the mix for it,” Edsall said. “I think after the weekend we’ll be pretty much set with what we’re going to do there.”

>> Freshman linebacker Derrick Hayward has switched to tight end. The 6-feet-5, 205-pounder from Salisbury, Md., almost caught a touchdown in his first open practice on offense, leaping high and almost coming down with a Perry Hills pass during goal-line work.

“The thing about camp, you come in and you recruit guys who have length and athletic ability, and as you watch all these young guys are freshmen, you get another look at them,” Edsall said. “I liked him at SAM, and just thought we had a little bit of a void at tight end, and put him over there, had him go through some individual drills and do things. Thought he handled himself really well, and thought that’s where he can probably make the best contribution for our team. He was all for it, we’ll put him at tight end, we’ve got a big tall guy who can run, stretch the field, got good hands. I think it helps to make us better.”

Edsall said the Terps looked at some positional switches on offense.

>> Brad Craddock has distanced himself for the starting kicker’s job, impressing both Thursday and during a closed kicking session on Wednesday night. He went 4 for 5 on field goals with minimal wind, hitting from 28 35, 42 and 49 yards. He missed wide left on another 49-yarder.

“I think he’s back in the groove,” Edsall said. “Brad’s the guy. I thought he kicked real well the last few days.”

Freshman Adam Greene had two bad misses, shanking a 28-yarder wide left and sending a 42-yarder to the same side, though the latter could be attributed to a poor snap. He also struck a 49-yarder under pressure — the coaches began counting down from 16 seconds pre-snap — with more strength than Craddock’s make from the same distance.

>> Albert Reid had a touchdown during goal-line drills, plowing right up the gut.

>> Wide receiver Levern Jacobs is receiving looks at the “X” receiver with Long still sidelined.

>> Diggs, Will Likely and DeAndre Lane were first, second and third, respectively, for kickoff and punt returns.

>> Freshman Shane Cockerille completed all five of his pass attempts during the half-skeleton and team drills. Three of those completions went to Tejiri Erhie.

>> Saturday marks Fan Appreciation Day and an open scrimmage. Gates to Byrd Stadium open at 12:30 p.m. The scrimmage begins an hour later. Autographs will be signed after and game-used equipment will be sold. Fans will be limited to one autograph per player.

WHAT’S NEXT

Look for more posts from practice over the next several days. Maryland’s next open practice is Saturday’s scrimmage. 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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Alex Prewitt | August 15, 2013