Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday that he has developed a tentative plan for bringing back suspended receivers Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree before the end of the season.
But Edsall would not reveal the date for their scheduled return, and said the timetable depends on the players' behavior in the interim.
"I've got a plan in mind and I just hope to see what I need to see," Edsall told reporters during his weekly media availability at Gossett Football Team House. "None of the coaches know what it is, but so far, so good."
McCree caught seven passes and Tyler had six in Maryland's 32-24, opening-game victory over Miami. In the first series alone, quarterback Danny O'Brien threw two completions to Tyler, one for a touchdown in which the receiver dove for the pylon. O'Brien threw to McCree four times on the second possession, completing three. O'Brien had come to rely on the pair because he has worked with the seniors so often in practice and games.
Tyler was suspended before last week's West Virginia game after being accused of punching a man in an off-campus fight. McCree was with Tyler at the time, but it is not clear why he was suspended.
The indefinite suspensions have been a delicate subject around the football complex. In media interviews, players want to support Edsall's decision. The coach said emphatically after West Virginia's 37-31 victory that it "didn't mean a thing" to be missing Tyler and McCree.
At the same time, players can't help but feel for their teammates, who are permitted to practice but not play in games.
"It's their senior year right now, and they're missing games. That would be tough for anybody," said receiver Kerry Boykins, a redshirt junior. "They had a big year ahead of them and high expectations, so I can imagine it's pretty tough. The more receivers that we can utilize on the field, the better."
O'Brien paused for several moments when asked if the uncertainty over the players' status was difficult to handle.
"To a certain extent I think it's difficult," the quarterback said. "But we expect the guys who are going to play in place of them to play just as good as they do."
Punt returner Tony Logan started and played extensively in the receivers' absence, catching four passes for 41 yards.
Logan, who had two punt-return touchdowns last season, may have the best moves on the team after the catch. Edsall said Tuesday that Logan still needs to work on running routes at precisely the right depth.
Learning on the job
Safety-turned-linebacker Kenny Tate was named preseason All-ACC first team after an impressive 2010 season in which he forced key turnovers and frequently penetrated behind the line.
So it may have surprised some media members Tuesday to hear Edsall say that Tate has been just "average" so far in 2011.
Tate is averaging 10.5 tackles.
"He has to understand he's one-eleventh of the defense," Edsall said. "I think he's trying to do too much as opposed to just taking care of what he's supposed to take care of."
Maryland surrendered 36 completions and 388 passing yards to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith on Saturday.
Backup defensive tackle Andre Monroe has moved his way into a starting spot, according to the latest depth chart.
Monroe, a redshirt fresman, is now ahead of redshirt junior A.J. Francis, who started the first two games.
"Andre was a guy we saw was being very, very productive," Edsall said.