Early Saturday afternoon, when the Maryland football team took to Byrd Stadium for pregame warmups before facing ninth-ranked Clemson, third-string quarterback Ricardo Young started running routes. He cut sharply and caught passes, a far different routine than the casual tossing he and Maryland’s other quarterbacks generally do. Turns out, the Terps had been working out No. 9 at wide receiver this entire week.
“It was quite a Sunday around here last weekend with what we had to do,” Coach Randy Edsall said after Maryland’s 40-27 loss. “What we tried to do during the week was sit down, how can we get people in positions to give us the best opportunity to win. And we did.”
Both Stefon Diggs and Deon Long are out with season-ending injuries suffered last weekend against Wake Forest, and freshman wide receiver DeAndre Lane was still experiencing concussion symptoms after a helmet-to-helmet collision suffered in practice two weeks ago. Levern Jacobs thus was elevated into the starting slot receiver role, but Maryland no longer had a backup at the position. So the Terrapins turned to Young.
“We used Ricardo at some receiver this week a lot, just because we were short,” Edsall said. “DeAndre was out with a concussion, so we didn’t have a guy to put in there. So we had some things where if he had to go in, there were certain plays he could run.”
Young never lined up at wide receiver against Clemson, though he took three snaps at quarterback, essentially running “wildcat” plays. The fleet-footed junior, once the Washington Gatorade Player of the Year who has since bounced around to Virginia Tech and New Mexico before transferring to College Park before last season, finished with two carries for zero yards.
If Lane comes back, Young may soon return to quarterback, but at least he proved enough to the coaches to justify Edsall discussing his move to wide receiver.
“It was all part of the process of the coaches putting together a game plan with the guys we had,” Edsall said.
>> Cole Farrand finished with 23 tackles, by far a game high. Joe Vellano was the last Maryland player to top 20, reaching the mark on Oct. 8, 2011, at Georgia Tech. Farrand’s sizable total was largely due to Clemson’s ability to reach the second level, where he found himself assuming janitorial duties.
“Cole was out there, all over the place,” Edsall said. “This is an offense that puts a lot of pressure on you. They can spread you out and throw the ball, and they can also hand it off with [Roderick] McDowell at running back, and they also give Tajh Boyd the ball to run with. He’s a big strong powerful guy. When your middle linebacker is in there against the run, he’s got a chance to make some plays. It’s the same thing with our defense.”
>> Linebacker Matt Robinson returned from a rotator cuff injury that sidelined him against Wake Forest. He forced one fumble, recovered another and finished with five tackles.
“Just my luck,” Robinson said of the injury, his third shoulder problem during his Maryland career. “But fight, get stronger, get back out there. I was happy to be back playing again.”
>> It was a rough day for left tackle Mike Madaras, who was flagged twice for false starts and once for holding. He also had another holding penalty declined. Altogether, the Terps committed 10 penalties for 54 yards.
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