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Tracking the Terps
News and notes on Maryland football, basketball and other sports
Playing Maryland 'absolutely special' for Michigan's Blake Countess, a Reisterstown native

Texts were exchanged last week, friendly trash talk between Michigan cornerback Blake Countess and some of his former teammates in advance of Saturday's game between Maryland and the Wolverines.

The game has added meaning for Countess, a Reisterstown native who played high school football at Gilman and Good Counsel.

This is a chance for the redshirt junior to play against his home-state school and to showcase his skills to people around Maryland who do not get to watch him on a regular basis.

Countess will also get to compete with several friends and former teammates, including Terps safety Zach Dancel, running back Wes Brown and fullback Kenny Goins.

“Oh yeah. It’s absolutely special, not only because of it being the home school but also just having friends on the team, close friends, guys that I would consider family on that team,” Countess said during a phone interview. “It’s going to be fun for us to all be on the same field again.”

Countess' early playing days were spent suiting...

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With Melo Trimble inconsistent at point guard, Richaud Pack helps keep Terps steady

Coach Mark Turgeon has said several times in recent months that he didn’t expect senior transfer Richaud Pack to play as important a role for the Maryland men’s basketball team as he has so far this season.

Even Pack said before preseason practice began that he thought he'd be used mostly as a “spark plug” off the bench, playing behind freshman Melo Trimble at point guard and behind senior Dez Wells at shooting guard. Then an injury to forward Evan Smotrycz forced Pack into the starting lineup.

Because of his importance to Turgeon as a security blanket when Trimble gets sloppy with the ball, three games into the season, Pack already might be the Terps' third-most important player, behind Wells and forward Jake Layman.

"He's our glue guy," Layman said Thursday after Pack had nine points, a team-high eight rebounds, four assists and just one turnover in an otherwise sloppy 66-50 Maryland victory over Fordham at Xfinity Center.

On a night when Trimbled struggled with turnovers (four in...

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Terps quarterback recruit Gage Shaffer 'certainly passes the eye test,' Joe Theismann says

Joe Theismann made the drive last week, traveling to Frankfort High School in West Virginia to get a closer look at Maryland quarterback commit Gage Shaffer.

The former Washington Redskins quarterback became familiar with Shaffer during the summer, when he watched YouTube clips of the quarterback’s junior season and of the 6-foot-7, 205-pound Shaffer performing at a camp.

Last week was Theismann’s first opportunity to see Shaffer in person. After Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman invited him to the school, he looked on from the sideline as Shaffer and Frankfort practiced.

What Theismann saw reinforced what he had seen on those YouTube videos.

“I was as impressed with him in person as when I watched him on film,” Theismann said in a telephone interview. “His ability to move around in the pocket, his ability to roll left and right and throw the football was very impressive. He spins it really well. And he’s young. So some of the things we talked about, we worked on a little bit — his...

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InsideMDSports: Top Terps target Diamond Stone waiting until spring to sign with a school

Editor's note: provides this blog with a Maryland recruiting feature that previously appeared as premium content on its site.

Dominican High (Wisc.) center Diamond Stone will wait until the spring to sign a National Letter of Intent, his father told

Stone, a 6-foot-10 senior rated the No. 1 center in 247Sports' Class of 2015 Composite rankings, is considering Connecticut, Maryland, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State. He officially visited all four schools this fall and seemed to be at least considering signing a national letter of intent during the NCAA's early signing period, which began last week and ended Wednesday. But his father, Bob Stone, told IMS this morning that wouldn't happen.

Stone still could commit orally before the spring period, which begins April 15, but wouldn't be officially bound to the school he chooses until he signs.

UConn is the leader in Stone's Crystal Ball, with 80 percent of predictions, but his recruitment has played out...

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Terps star Stefon Diggs will miss final two regular season games, return for bowl game

Maryland star wide receiver Stefon Diggs will miss the final two games of the regular season, but he is expected to play in the Terps' bowl game, coach Randy Edsall said Thursday.

Diggs suffered a lacerated kidney while diving for the end zone against Penn State on Nov. 1. The junior is not expected to be cleared for contact until Dec. 1, Edsall said.

Diggs ranks second in the Big Ten in catches per game (5.8), fifth in yards per game (72.7), and he leads the Terps with five touchdown receptions.

Sophomore Jacquille Veii will start in the slot for Maryland with Diggs sidelined.

A converted running back, Veii has 10 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown and had four catches for 45 yards during the Terps’ 37-15 loss to No. 12 Michigan State last week.

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Previewing Maryland-Michigan football with a Wolverines beat reporter

Back for a second season, we'll be previewing each of Maryland's football games by conducting a Q&A with a reporter who covers the Terps' next opponent.

This week, we traded emails with Alejandro Zuniga, who is a football writer and co-managing sports editor for The Michigan Daily. Alejandro is also an alumnus of The Baltimore Sun's internship program, having spent this past summer helping out on the Orioles beat.

Be sure to check out more of his Michigan coverage here before the Terps and Wolverines kick off Saturday at noon from "The Big House" in Ann Arbor.

TRACKING THE TERPS: For all the turbulence that seems to surround Michigan's program, the Wolverines come into this game having won three of their past four. What have they been doing right in that stretch?

ALEJANDRO ZUNIGA: Michigan's defense was supposed to be the team's strength, and the unit is finally living up to the billing. Opponents are averaging just 2.8 yards per rush against the Wolverines' front seven this year, and...

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