Maryland coach Randy Edsall was cautiously optimistic about his team's progress under a new system in a conference call with reporters Monday.
Edsall said the team will focus on continuing to tighten schemes on both the offense and defense during the last two days of practice this week leading up to the Red-White Spring game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
"We're not going to be where I want I us to be until we all learn to play every play like it's the last play you're ever going to play," Edsall said. "That's what we're building towards and we're getting more used to that kind of effort play-in and play-out."
Edsall said his coaches have a firm grasp on the players' abilities, which was one of the goals of spring practice. The coaches will further analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this year's roster this week.
"As we go into the summer, we, as coaches, now have the the opportunity to zero in a little bit more as to who we are going to be or what we feel we can be, " Edsall said.
Edsall also noted the cohesiveness the offensive line has showed in the spring. He said Josh Cary has established himself as a starter at right guard. R.J. Dill, the starting right tackle, suffered a knee strain in an earlier scrimmage this spring.
"We hoping to try and get to a two-deep, 10 guys [rotation]," Edsall said. "If we have an eight-man rotation we go through, then we'll have eight guys."
Watson finished with football at UM
Maryland fullback Taylor Watson told Edsall on Monday that he was planning to graduate over the summer and won't be with the team in the fall.
"He's gonna graduate and we're gonna make sure that happens," Edsall said. "He'll get his degree."
Watson's departure leaves Haroon Brown and Rahsaan Moore as Maryland's only scholarship fullbacks this spring.
Running back Jeremiah Wilson, meanwhile, is nursing a leg injury and it's uncertain whether he'll be able to play Saturday.
Edsall said some of the main competitions this spring have been with the running backs, fullbacks and wide recievers.
"They basically have three more practices to solidify their spots as we head into August." Edsall said.
O'Brien continues to impress
Maryland sophomore quarterback Danny O'Brien has continued to make progress in picking up Edsall's offense. He has impressed coaches with his work ethic.
Edsall said O'Brien had his best scrimmage over the weekend and is getting more comfortable with his receivers. O'Brien completed 192 of 337 passes for 2,438 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 13 games last season.
"I just see him getting more comfortable with that we're doing," Edsall said. "When you're puttiing something new in, it's not going to come overnight. Those very good players are the ones that get better with each practice and with each week. You can see that progression taking shape with him and I think that's going to continue. I'm really pleased with his progress."
Edsall said O'Brien has rarely made the same mistake twice in the spring. O'Brien has also been putting in time watching film and asking questions.
King still waiting on NCAA ruling
Freshman wide receiver Nigel King is waiting to hear from the NCAA on his eligibility status for the season. King has been dealing with NCAA Clearinghouse issues after enrolling at Maryland in January from Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy.
"Because his appeal has been assigned to someone at the NCAA, he is now able to go out and practice while that appeal is taking place," Edsall said. "We'll just see how everything plays out. This is a process we just have to go through."
Receiving corps taking shape
Edsall singled out Kevin Dorsey, Ronnie Tyler and Kerry Boykins as three wide receivers who made key plays in Saturday's scrimmage.
"Those are really the top three right now," Edsall said. "I do like the fact that we have some young guys who are improving."
Edsall also noted the play of the freshmen Devin Burns and Tyrek Cheeseboro (Milford Mill) as being capable of contributing to the aerial attack. Overall, Edsall likes the potential of this season's wide receivers corps.
"I like the ability that we have there," Edsall said. "Now, it's just a matter of guys really focusing on and concentrating on not only enhancing their individual skills, but making sure when we're done with spring ball, they're out there throwing with the other quarterbacks so they are all on the same page. We just have to get more consistent in everything we do."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun