CHICAGO — Maryland completed its first appearance at the Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday, an event that ended up being relatively quiet on a national scale. Monday, Edsall touted his experience as a coach on transitioning teams, and he put to rest small controversies from an eventful summer. On both days he went one-on-one with throngs of reporters, and here are a few notable items ahead of fall camp opening on Monday in College Park:
— Here’s Edsall on senior Jeremiah Johnson, who has sat out the last year with a toe and hamstring injury. Edsall explained the placement of Johnson as a backup at corner entering fall camp.
“I asked him, how are you feeling? He said ‘I feel good,’ ” Edsall said. “And that’s good news to me, because he’s a proven commodity at the corner position. And really the only reason he’s not listed as a starter is that he hasn’t been out there for a year.”
Sophomore William Likely is listed ahead of Johnson on the preseason depth chart, and the position battle will likely be one of the more intriguing of fall camp. Junior defensive back Alvin Hill is listed as the other starter ahead of sophomore Jarrett Ross.
— Edsall also touched on the expectations of freshmen offensive linemen Damian Prince and Derwin Gray, two of the school’s more heralded recruits of the last two years. As is the procedure with most true freshmen, Prince is listed at the bottom of the depth chart at left tackle behind Michael Dunn and Jake Wheeler. Gray is in the second-slot on the preseason depth chart behind right tackle Ryan Doyle.
“None have ever stepped on the field yet,” Edsall said. “We don’t have to force feed them. Those guys in front of them, that have experience, that have played and won games for us, so those guys are going to have to go in and beat guys out because I’ve got guys that I know and that have played at this level.”
Gray, who starred at Friendship Collegiate and spent a year in prep school last year, spent the spring with Maryland despite being sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Edsall spoke highly of a number of players throughout the roster, including Dunn, who should be a key piece alongside Remington Watch List (an award that honors the nation’s best player at his position) center Sal Conaboy. Edsall said the unit progressed during spring camp, but a major task during fall camp will be developing depth across the line.
“I think Michael Dunn has played very well for us. I think Michael Dunn is a guy that we have a lot of confidence in and feel that he’s a really good player, and he’s gotten better. Ryan Doyle, right now, is our second best tackle that has played,” Edsall said. “Now until we can find somebody that’s on our roster that can beat them out, then we’ll let that take care of itself.”
— Redshirt sophomore Abner Logan, who missed the entire spring after being suspended and subsequently placed on disciplinary probation by the school, remains suspended from competition. Edsall said Monday that Logan has the option of going before the office of student conduct to have the suspension reduced this fall.
“He’s got certain criteria that was placed on him that he has to fulfill to even have the opportunity to sit down and try to get the suspension reduced,” Edsall said.
Logan posted 37 tackles, including four for loss last season.
— On Monday, Edsall noted the staff has been vocal about Stefon Diggs becoming more of a complete wide receiver as a junior, and the full expectation is that he will continue to develop as a run-blocker from out wide. Edsall said Diggs has been “very focused” during an offseason largely devoted to rehabbing a broken leg.
“I think he’s really excited about the opportunities and he’s worked hard. So its time for him to become that complete receiver. That’s what we have talked to him about, is to be that complete receiver, not just a guy who is going to make plays when the ball is in his hands, but to be that receiver that is going to spring his teammates,” Edsall said.