In the week before games, Randy Edsall will periodically reach out and knock twice on a wooden table when the subject of player injuries is raised.
It's hard to blame the superstitious Maryland coach, who lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries last season. The coach and his team sustained further misfortune Saturday when top receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long suffered season-ending lower leg fractures in Maryland's 34-10 loss at Wake Forest.
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Tailback Brandon Ross, the team's leading rusher, left the Wake Forest game after carrying eight times for 39 yards. Edsall declined to discuss Ross on Sunday, saying information is released each week in Thursday's injury report.
Meanwhile, it's unclear whether quarterback C.J. Brown — who threw two interceptions in his return from a concussion sustained two weeks earlier and was lifted in the third quarter for Caleb Rowe — will start Saturday.
Asked about the quarterback situation for the Clemson game, Edsall replied: "We've got guys that have shown that they can play there. As a head coach, I've got to make sure that I always look at the health of our quarterbacks first and foremost.
"We'll see how they came out of the game and we'll go from there. We'll put the guy on the field that gives us the best opportunity to win, based on the health of the quarterbacks."
Edsall said his decision to lift Brown, a fifth-year senior, was based on "a few things." He declined to elaborate.
Often under heavy pressure, Brown was 15-for-24 for 137 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked three times. Rowe was 12-for-27 for 207 yards and one touchdown.
Long, a transfer who had 32 catches this season, had successful surgery on Sunday to repair the broken tibia and fibula in his right leg. Doctors told Edsall to expect six months of recovery.
Diggs, whose 34 receptions leads the team, may undergo surgery this week on the broken fibula in his right leg, Edsall said. The sophomore had eight catches for 67 yards on Saturday.
Diggs and Long's situation has left Maryland to once again try to recover emotionally from serious injuries to top players.
"I was a little shaken up," said safety Sean Davis, who said he heard Long and Diggs scream in pain. "It's what we get into by playing this game. I've got to stay prayed up, I guess. We have it in us to fight back when we're down. It just shows that the next man has to be ready when his number is called."
Edsall said he spoke to the team after Long's second quarter injury to make certain players remained focused.
"I mean, it's football," Edsall said Sunday. "Injuries happen every day. They all know the risk that they take when they play this game. You don't want anyone to get hurt. When that happens, you still have your job to do and you've got to go do it."
Amba Etta-Tawo, a redshirt freshman, was long's immediate backup on Saturday. Sophmore Levern Jacobs replaced Diggs.