Maryland football training camp: Offense works on red-zone situations during first practice in full pads


“I think the offense did a great job today,” said quarterback C.J. Brown. (Jonathan Newton/THE WASHINGTON POST)
August 10, 2012

During one series at Maryland football training camp Friday, quarterback C.J. Brown collected the snap, rolled right and lofted a pass on the run to tight end Devonte Campbell, who cut inside and scored a touchdown from roughly 10 yards.

Several possessions later, Brown handed off to running back Albert Reid, and the freshman from Washington sprinted left before barreling into the end zone with tacklers hanging on for the ride.

So it went much of the time for the offense Friday morning as the Terrapins worked extensively on red-zone and goal-line situations in the team’s first practice in full pads.

“I thought our offense gave better effort today,” Coach Randy Edsall said. “I thought our offense got after it more than the defense did, and again, what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to be consistent each and every day. It doesn’t matter what the situation is.”

Brown did throw an interception in an earlier drill, but for the most part the junior appeared in command and confident with his throws. Brown is directing an offense that’s modified from last season, when Maryland used a spread formation.

This season under first-year offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, the Terrapins are operating out of a more traditional pro-style alignment designed to maximize Brown’s skills as a passer and runner.

Brown is the undisputed starter after Danny O’Brien transferred to Wisconsin. In five starts last season and 10 appearances, Brown set a Maryland single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (574) and led the Terrapins with five rushing touchdowns.

“I think the offense did a great job today,” Brown said. “I think a lot of things are really coming together for us. We had our short-yardage, goal line, that kind of scrimmage going on today, so it’s definitely an advantage. We have big backs, a big O-line, so we were able to run the ball.”

With Maryland preparing for its season opener against William & Mary in three weeks, the rotation at tailback is by no means set, although Justus Pickett is listed first on the depth chart. The sophomore played in all 12 games last season, mostly as a kick returner, and finished with 274 rushing yards and one touchdown on 74 carries.

Five players are listed behind Pickett, including four freshmen. Senior Kwabena Ofori is the only non-freshman on the running back depth chart, but he did not get into a game last season.

In addition to Reid, fullback Kenny Goins, a freshman, had an authoritative touchdown run one snap after there was grabbing and clutching between an offensive and defensive player.

“I’m really pleased with the running backs,” Edsall said. “I think we’ve got a good group there. If you just take a look at the fullbacks as well, and then you take a look at all the tailbacks.

“That’s where I need to get to with our program, when we have that kind of competition at every position.”

Among the handful of other intriguing positional puzzles is No. 2 quarterback, where two freshmen are vying for the job. Perry Hills worked with the second team Friday, and a highlight was his pinpoint throw to wide receiver Devin Burns in the back of the end zone to complete a two-point conversion.

Caleb Rowe worked with the third team, but Edsall said he would have an update Tuesday as to which player is further along in the competition.

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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