COLLEGE PARK — Defensive players never want to give an opposing offense credit for doing anything well.
But even Maryland linebacker L.A. Goree acknowledged that the Terps' offense looked very good Tuesday night.
The offense had its issues during the first week of preseason practice. There were bad decisions and off-target throws from quarterback C.J. Brown, dropped passes by wide receivers and an overall lack of moving the ball as efficiently as one would expect considering the talent the Terps have on that side of the ball.
But Maryland’s offense looked great Tuesday. Brown was sharp and decisive. There were big passing plays from Brown and backup Caleb Rowe to the Terps' wide receivers. The offensive line blocked well, and the running backs made plays as well.
Coach Randy Edsall said before practice, “Offensively, you can really see it starting to come into shape now,” and the offense took another step forward during the session.
This offense is going to put up some points this year if it continues to play like it did Tuesday night.
Here are some other notes and observations from practice:
** Rowe connected with receiver Amba Etta-Tawo for a 40-yard gain shortly into the team portion of practice. Brown hit receiver Deon Long for around a 40-yard gain shortly after. Brown has talked about wanting to make more big plays down the field in the passing game, and he looked good pushing the ball down the field Tuesday.
** The offense shined during the two-minute drill portion of practice. The mock situation involved the offense needing a touchdown and having just two minutes to drive down the field, and Brown led an impressive drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Long on fourth down. Taivon Jacobs had two catches on the drive. Stefon Diggs made a contested catch to convert a fourth down. Levern Jacobs made a big 25-yard reception down the middle, and the drive eventually ended with Long making a nice catch in tight coverage for the touchdown.
** Rowe responded by leading the second-team offense to a “game-winning” field goal right after that. Rowe was reprimanded by a coach early in the drive for not getting the ball out quick enough given the situation, but he completed a 25-yard or so pass to running back-turned-receiver Jacquille Veii on the next play to set up the field from backup kicker Adam Greene.
** Veii was impressive in his second practice as a receiver. He is one of the fastest and quickest players on the team and looked surprisingly natural as a route-runner considering his lack of experience playing the position. He made three nice catches, including the one during the two-minute drill as well as a sliding grab in coverage across the middle during the team portion of practice that went for a gain of around 20 yards.
** Taivon Jacobs stood out at times. Jacobs was a big part of the first-team offense’s success during that two-minute drive. He also later caught a touchdown during red-zone drills. Both Jacobs brothers — Taivon and Levern — continue to be praised by coaches and teammates for how they have done during preseason camp.
** Sophomore tight end Andrew Isaacs continues to be praised as well and made a nice touchdown catch during red-zone drills. He tracked the ball over his shoulder and turned his body to pull in a somewhat off-target lofted throw from Brown.
** Reserve wide receiver Malcolm Culmer consistently makes plays with the third- and fourth-team offenses. He had at least two long gains during practice Saturday and had at least two Tuesday. He is not the athlete that Diggs or Taivon Jacobs is, but he has rarely stuck out for negative reasons and is constantly hustling and finishing plays, which the coaches appreciate.
** Diggs is starting to look more Diggs-like. He looked as fast and fluid as he has during camp Tuesday. He looked good once he got the ball in his hands. He also had a big crackback block on linebacker Cavon Walker to spring an outside run by running back Albert Reid. Edsall has been critical of the lack of effort Diggs and other receivers have put into blocking during camp, but Diggs had that big block Tuesday.
** One of the only negative moments for the offense was receiver Daniel Adams having a pass bounce off of his hands right into the arms of linebacker Alex Twine, who returned the interception for a touchdown.
** Backup safety Zach Dancel also had a couple good plays for the defense Tuesday, including a pass breakup while matched up with Diggs in coverage. Dancel may not be the level of athlete that someone like Sean Davis is, but he has stood out at times during camp.
** Defensive end Quinton Jefferson remains away from the team because of a medical situation involving his wife, but Edsall said he received some encouraging news regarding the situation before practice. He did not want to say too much, though, because he had not talked to Jefferson.
** Left guard Evan Mulrooney (viral infection) is back with the team, but there is still no timetable on when he will be able to return to football. Mulrooney has tests he has to undergo during the next two weeks. Those tests will likely determine how quickly he can return to the field.
** Reserve quarterback Perry Hills will be out of practice for a couple days after his grandmother passed away.
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