Terps preseason football practice report: Monday, Aug. 4


(Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

The Maryland football team opened preseason practice Monday afternoon in College Park, the first of the Big Ten era. Here’s a brief rundown of the first day. 

VITALS

Date: Aug. 4
Open practice number: 1
Duration: About 110 minutes.
Location: Practice field.
Dress code: Helmets only.

ATTENDANCE

Injured and out: DB Milan Collins, DB Rashid Conteh

Randy Edsall on how long Collins will be out: “They’ll just be doing some things with him from a rehab standpoint, just see how he continues to progress.”

HEADLINES

Maryland ran more than 30 plays of 11-on-11 midway through practice, which was up-tempo and featured heavy work for the four running backs in the hunt for the starting job: sophomores Wes Brown and and sophomore Jacquille Veii, and juniors Albert Reid and Brandon Ross. Brown in particular looked really shifty and was explosive catching the ball out of the backfield. Starting quarterback C.J. Brown looked mobile, and completed passes on the move to sophomore tight end Andrew Isaacs both from short and intermediate range. Isaacs is in a three-way battle to win the starting job against sophomore P.J. Gallo and redshirt freshman Derrick Hayward.

“I think that will start to shake out,” Edsall said. “I think Andrew had a really good summer. He’s a guy that can give us those opportunities that we’re looking for. Derrick’s getting better, putting on weight. So again, P.J. didn’t have as good of a summer as those guys. So hopefully same thing, separation will take place here early in camp.”

– Stefon Diggs was back in his first extensive action since last fall, donning a black visor on his white helmet and looking in shape. He caught several hard-thrown slants from Brown, and participated in punt return drills with William Likely, Taivon Jacobs and DeAndre Lane.

Brown was most impressed with the speed of the skill position playmakers on Monday: “The releases that they had, just getting the ball up in the air and letting them run underneath and get it, you know that’s always good to see, especially on Day One.”

– Starting kicker Brad Craddock hit 4 of 6 field goals from varying ranges, including a deep boot that hit the left post.  Redshirt freshman Adam Greene, who played locally at Broadneck High, connected on all six of his attempts.

– Edsall told reporters before Monday’s session that one of the goals this week was to install base offense and defensive schemes and that tight goal-line sets would be run during the first practice. The exercise came at the end of the practice, with the starters and backups shuffling through about 20 plays. It wasn’t all smooth. Following a nice pass breakup by Likely on a comeback route on the third play of the session, Ross fumbled a snap, and the much of the defensive coaching staff went nuts in reaction. Reid got a steady dose of carries, as did Veii, who made several notable runs to score and earn praise from his teammates. Also celebrating after scoring a touchdown was tight end Hayward, the converted linebacker who ran a precise route into the corner of the end zone and hauled in a score from backup quarterback Caleb Rowe.

– Here’s Edsall speaking more on the departure of wide receiver Nigel King, who was granted his release Friday and plans to transfer: “We wish Nigel well as he goes on. He graduated, which is the number one priority for him and like I said we’ll wish him well and really focus on the guys that are here.”

 More from Terps training camp:

Maryland opens training camp with plenty of returning experience

Three story lines for Terps training camp

C.J. Brown’s perseverance leads to chance at special season 

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