Due to the Maryland/ACC lawsuit settlement, I missed much of the Maryland football team’s fifth preseason practice. You can read the settlement story here. I did catch the last half-hour, which was devoted to live 11-on-11 drills that featured plenty of hitting. Here’s a brief rundown of how it went, plus interview notes from Randy Edsall, Jeremiah Johnson and P.J. Gallo.
Date: Aug. 8
Open practice number: 5
Duration: About 135 minutes.
Location: Practice field.
Dress code: Full pads.
Injured and out: OL Evan Mulrooney, OL Sean Christie
Coach Randy Edsall said before practice that Mulrooney continues to be hospitalized with an apparent illness: “Evan was still waiting to get tests that are being done. I went up and saw him today. He’s doing well. I think he’ll still be in the hospital through the weekend, and hopefully we’ll have some more information after that and he’ll be out real soon.”
Christie was carted off the field Thursday with an apparent knee injury: “We’re just waiting to get some word from the doctor. He got an MRI, so we’re waiting to see where he’s at,” Edsall said.
Edsall on wide receiver Deon Long, who came off the field on Thursday: “Just day to day … just something with his abdomen.”
– Edsall referenced fumbling by the running backs as being a problem early in camp, but the top four on the depth chart each made plays in live scrimmage situations Friday. Brandon Ross lowered his shoulder and had nice pickups on several runs; Wes Brown took a sweep about seven yards to inside the 5-yard line in a goal line situation, then scored two plays later; and redshirt freshman Jacquille Veii scored on a 15-yard run, breaking a potential tackle by a defensive lineman near the 10 to score a touchdown.
– Albert Reid, who is fighting for the starting role at running back, ran very hard again on Friday. He kept his feet churning on several runs during full-contact 11-on-11, allowing the offense to pick up additional yardage each time. He had several violent collisions with junior defensive back Zach Dancel, which seemed to stir up both sidelines.
“Albert Reid always runs hard,” tight end P.J. Gallo said after practice. “You saw him today in short yardage, just putting his head down and getting his extra two or three yards that we need for the first down. It’s awesome. You gotta love the way he plays.”
– Gallo, who’s competing with Derrick Hayward and Andrew Isaacs for the starting tight end spot, didn’t rule out the possibility of the team playing with a couple tight ends on the field at a time this fall. Gallo said just within the last couple of days, his footwork on zone blocking schemes has improved. He seemed to revel in the fact that he could go full contact for the first time on Friday.
“Today was awesome,” he said. “Just being low and smashing heads in there, it’s pretty awesome. It’s a toughness thing, and I enjoy it. It’s something I take pride in.”
– Defensively, defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson earned raves from his teammates after cracking running back Kenneth Goins Jr. Elvis Dennah ‘sacked’ quarterback Caleb Rowe on another goal line play, and linebacker Cole Farrand seemed to have his nose in on every play during live 11-on-11.
“Started out a little slow today. This is our first live period … it felt good to actually hit somebody,” senior corner Jeremiah Johnson said after practice.
–Both kickers, starter Brad Craddock and redshirt freshman Adam Greene, were relatively accurate from short range. Craddock hit three attempts, while Greene hit 2 of 3 kicks.
– Edsall touched on true freshman quarterback Will Ulmer, a local product out of St. John’s that the team is beginning to develop: “I told Will during the recruiting process, he’ll be a quarterback until he comes to me and tells me he doesn’t want to be a quarterback. So we’re working him at quarterback, developing him at quarterback.”