The unseasonably cool temperatures marking the beginning of training camp were gone Friday. The return of the summer heat left Maryland players bathed in sweat after practicing in pads inside Byrd Stadium.
Quinton Jefferson was not complaining a bit. When he's challenged by football, the sophomore defensive end needs only remember the year he spent at Best Buy unloading boxes on the "graveyard" shift.
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Byrd Stadium, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD 20740, USA
Some people take a nature walk or go to a spa to get their head right. Jefferson spent the year after high school living with his parents and working in the stockroom of a Best Buy in Monroeville, Pa.
The experience provided him perspective. In a relative sense, football practices didn't seem so hard anymore.
"If I get tired I just think about being back working at Best Buy," Jefferson said. "I was in the back unloading boxes and stuff. I really did everything in the store — moving boxes, scans, putting price tags out, moving TVs. That experience really humbled me and made me know how fortunate I am to be in the situation I am."
Jefferson, who is listed at 6-3 and 275 pounds, will be counted on to pressure quarterbacks. Maryland lost sack leaders Joe Vellano and Darin Drakeford. Jefferson has "short-area quickness," defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said. "His pass rush is clean. And he's young, so he should have a good motor throughout the whole thing."
Jefferson has a big laugh and a laid-back personality off the field. "Q is very goofy but he does have a serious side," said cornerback Jeremiah Johnson.
Defensive line coach Greg Gattuso has a nickname for Jefferson. "He says until I get my first sack, I'll be 'Kitty Kat,' " Jefferson said. He played in 10 games last season and had 13 tackles — but no sacks.
Gattuso said in the spring that Jefferson has "improved his effort level to the point where I don't have to yell at him on every play."
Jefferson was part of the 2011 recruiting class but didn't come to Maryland until after that season.
His absence is something of a mystery. The player said he sustained a jaw injury requiring surgery. He said he decided to recuperate at home and "get my head together."
He won't say how he sustained the injury, and neither will coaches. "I don't want to get into detail with it," he said, smiling.
Learning the ropes
Freshman quarterback Shane Cockerille (Gilman) believes he is well suited for the option-read plays that Maryland and other college teams frequently employ.
He clearly has no difficulty with the "run" part of the equation. He was known as a running quarterback at Gilman. "It was probably an 80-20 run-pass ratio," he said. "I'm coming in now and learning a whole new type of thing. If you're going to make it to the next level, you've got to pass."
So how is he doing? "His head's spinning — typical freshman, just like most of them out there," coach Randy Edsall said Friday.
Cockerille watched on television last season as Maryland lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries.
"I was saying, 'Wow, I wish I was playing there now,' " the quarterback said.
Wide receiver Deon Long suffered a back injury and is listed as week-to-week. … Running back Joe Riddle took a blow to the head and is listed as day-to-day. … Fullback Tyler Cierski has a strained calf and is also listed day-to-day. … Offensive lineman Mike Madaras is coming back from a two-week university suspension and is expected to be in pads by Tuesday.