COLLEGE PARK — Stefon Diggs got up from his chair, wrapped a towel around his shoulders, grabbed a sports drink and headed to the Maryland locker room. His work for the day was done.
Diggs, the Terps' sophomore wide receiver-returner, expended less energy on football Saturday than he did behind a table signing autographs for fans at Byrd Stadium.
Coach Randy Edsall decided to rest Diggs and starting quarterback C.J.Brown during Saturday's Fan Appreciation Day scrimmage. Diggs, the team's star, stood on the sideline during the scrimmage, flipping a ball up and down. Afterward, the line to obtain Diggs' autograph was dozens of fans deep, stretching from the sideline toward midfield — longer by far than the queue for any other player.
With Brown on the sideline, Caleb Rowe, Ricardo Young and Perry Hills got most of the snaps at quarterback. Edsall said he expects to decide in the next few days which one will be Brown's backup. No one seemed to have a clear advantage based on Saturday's performance.
In Diggs' and Brown's absence, it was a day for defense.
There was defensive end Quinton Jefferson tackling Rowe in the end zone for a safety, cornerback Will Likely making an interception and showing quickness as a punt returner, and linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil making a handful of big hits.
“He played well,” Edsall said of Cudjoe-Virgil, a junior transfer. “I like that effort. He has been showing that kind of effort ever since he has gotten here. He was a guy we always thought would be in the mix.”
Said Cudjoe-Virgil: “ I really like this [3-4] defense a lot because it gets the athletes on the field. I feel like I had good penetration. I think I had a good day today.”
There were only two touchdowns in the scrimmage.
A long punt return by Likely set up Rowe with the ball inside the red zone. From there, the sophomore lofted a fade pattern to wide receiver Nigel King for a touchdown.
“We had a quick fade, and I knew Nigel as a big receiver could go up and get it,” Rowe said.
At 6-3, King is shaping up as a threat near the goal line.
“My strong area is making plays in the red zone, but I want to be able to make big plays in the open field, too,” King said.
Wide receiver Levern Jacobs scored the other touchdown on a pass from Young from near midfield.
“For the most part, I came away with points,” Young said. “I feel like I did a good job, minus a couple mental mistakes. I had a couple drives that the chains were moving really well.”
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