COLLEGE PARK — During one preseason practice, Maryland safety Anthony Nixon read the eyes of quarterback Caleb Rowe, jumped in front of wide receiver Levern Jacobs and was in perfect position for an interception in the middle of the field.
But the ball bounced off of Nixon's hands and straight into the hands of Jacobs, who turned what should have been a turnover into a long gain.
To Terps coach Randy Edsall, those are the plays Nixon needs to make.
Edsall refers to Nixon as "Steady Eddie," a solid, dependable player in the back end of Maryland's defense who is entering his third season as the Terps' starting free safety.
However, Edsall wants Nixon to be more than just "Steady Eddie."
Edsall sits down with every player at the end of each season and tells him what he would like the player to work on going into the next season. The main thing he wants from Nixon? More big plays.
“[He told me] I need to get more turnovers,” said Nixon, a junior.
Nixon had 41 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries as a freshman.
He had 60 tackles last year, but he finished without any interceptions, pass deflections, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries.
Nixon did not have many standout moments during preseason practice. However, he did strip backup running back Albert Reid during team drills one day and then recovered the fumble.
Edsall also said Nixon is developing into more of a vocal leader despite being quiet by nature.
“He's playing faster because he’s got another year under his belt," Edsall said. "He’s a guy that can make all the checks and knows everything out there. He keeps everybody together and I’m expecting him to take his game to another level this year.”