A brief rundown of what happened at the Maryland football team’s latest spring practice.
Date: April 7.
Practice number: 13.
Duration: 22 five-minute periods.
Location: Byrd Stadium.
Dress code: Full pads.
Injured and out: S Milan Collins (toe), LB Jermaine Carter (meniscus), WR Dustin Dailey (concussion), DL Nate Clarke (knee).
Yellow jerseys: WR Deon Long (broken leg), WR Stefon Diggs (broken leg), LB Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (pectoralis), DL Kingsley Opara (labrum), LB Jalen Brooks (concussion).
Limited: CB Jeremiah Johnson (hamstring), LB Matt Robinson (shoulder), LB Alex Twine (labrum), CB Jarrett Ross (labrum), LB L.A. Goree (groin), S Elvis Dennah (toe). OL Derwin Gray (shoulder), DL Ty Tucker (ACL).
Disciplinary issues: Nothing new. LB Abner Logan still suspended for the semester for violating team rules.
>> Linebacker Jalen Brooks returned from a concussion suffered during last week’s open scrimmage, participating with a yellow jersey on during team drills. Coach Randy Edsall said the redshirt freshman will be fully available for Wednesday’s practice, the final one before Friday’s spring game.
>> Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson continues to be limited because of a hamstring injury. He was dressed in full uniform — not a yellow jersey — but disappeared into the locker room for conditioning and individual work during practice.
“I think we’re going to have to get over the mental hurdle with him,” Edsall said. “He does have that issue, but I think some of it’s a little mental. I’m not being critical when I say that. We just have to get him over that hurdle.”
>> Linebacker L.A. Goree and running back Joe Riddle also returned from various injuries, which had previously kept them limited in an individual role.
>> Wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long participated in individual drills, skeleton workouts and seven-on-sevens.
“We’ll do the same thing on Wednesday,” Edsall said of his two standout receivers. “Might even make it a little bit longer from a seven-on-seven standpoint.”
More on Diggs in a separate blog later today.
>> During a dreary, rainy, cold practice, the Maryland offense struggled with dropped passes and missed throws all morning, until things finally began humming during team scrimmages. Running back Albert Reid broke a long run, evading tackles for at least 50 yards. Backup quarterback Caleb Rowe lofted a perfect fade route to tight end P.J. Gallo, who made the over-the-shoulder grab and scampered into the end zone.
Two plays later, Rowe found running back Wes Brown on a swing pass and he too scored. On his next series, Rowe took a bootleg for a touchdown, stretching past a defender and beyond the goal line.
Rowe seems firmly entrenched as the backup quarterback, though the rain wreaked havoc on his completion percentage. Passes to Amba Etta (twice), Taivon Jacobs and Andrew Isaacs all zipped through the target’s hands.
>> Gallo had a solid day, catching another touchdown pass on a bootleg from starter C.J. Brown. Unlike previous seasons, when seniors entered the spring locked into the starting spot, Maryland does not have an obvious first-string tight end. Isaacs, a rising sophomore, earned experience last season mostly in blocking capacities, and struggled to catch passes Monday. Derrick Hayward, who converted to the position from the defensive side last season, has looked athletic and could present a matchup nightmare with his height (6 feet 5).
“We’ve got some guys there that can get a lot of things done,” Edsall said. “All three of those guys have been working, might be one of those things where we have three guys. I think they all bring different things to the table. All have a chance to do things for us. That’s a position, they’re young guys; they have to keep working and keep improving. They’re working hard out there and getting better.”
>> During team drills, the defense had three consecutive goal-line stops of running back Brandon Ross, but Ross managed to plunge in on fourth down.
>> During seven-on-sevens, Brown threw two interceptions. One was an overthrow snared by cornerback Alvin Hill, currently third at his position when Jeremiah Johnson is healthy. The second was tipped by Brown’s receiver and grabbed by A.J. Hendy.
>> The first-team offensive line remained the same, with Michael Dunn at right tackle, Andrew Zeller at right guard, Sal Conaboy at center, Evan Mulrooney at left guard and Moise Larose at left tackle. But Mulrooney, Edsall said, continues to compete with Silvano Altamirano, who had two false start penalties during team scrimmaging, for the starting job. The expectation is that this battle continues into the preseason.
“We’re still where we were,” Edsall said. “We’ve got Silvano and Evan competing. That’ll probably go all the way up to training camp. But they’re both working hard; they’re both competing. One seems to have a better day one day; then the other guy will have a better day. There’s really been no separation there from that standpoint.”
>> At one point, safety Anthony Nixon went down, clutching his right leg and rocking back and forth on the turf. He was carried off by trainers but stopped in the end zone and sat down. Eventually, it became apparent that Nixon had suffered some sort of minor injury, probably a cramp, as he returned to the sideline.
>> Running back Jacquille Veii and quarterback Perry Hills fumbled during the same running drill sequence.
>> DeAndre Lane, Will Likely, Taivon Jacobs and Stefon Diggs all fielded punts from Nathan Renfro and Michael Tart. Renfro, the incumbent starter, has been struggling, Edsall said.
“I don’t think Nate’s had a good spring,” he said. “I think Nate’s been struggling this spring. Nate’s biggest issue is that he thinks too much rather than just going out there and being smooth and fluid. That’s something we have to continue to work on. He’s got some work to do over the summer.”
Last season, the Terps ranked 91st nationally in net punting, averaging 35.84 yards per kick, in the bottom quarter of Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
>> Kicker Brad Craddock didn’t attempt any field goals in the rain at Byrd Stadium, doing his work on the practice field away from the media, but Edsall addressed the rising junior’s progress.
“He missed one the other day,” Edsall said. “I think we just got to get him consistent and we’ve got to get the operation down. Right now Christian Carpenter is our snapper but we’ve got another guy [Nate Adams] coming in. We’ll have to see how that works and take care of that. I was hoping he’d be a little more consistent this spring. He wasn’t as accurate as I expected him to be.”
>> Likely, a rising sophomore cornerback, flashed his speed with a blitz off the edge, reaching Brown in the backfield before the quarterback had even completed his short drop.
The next open practice will be Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Pro Day takes place on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and the spring game will be on Friday at 7 p.m.
“I’ve been pleased overall with what we’ve been able to get accomplished,” Edsall said. “I think we’re getting a lot of good work in, guys are getting better, like the enthusiasm. We’re still going to have things we need to work on even after spring, but we’re getting the goals accomplished that we want to get accomplished.”