COLLEGE PARK — Thursday's practice was the last before Maryland goes to full pads later today. Here are some notes and observations from the session:
* The defense continues to look better than the offense through the early part of practice, but the offense did get touchdown runs from running backs Wes Brown and Jacquille Veii as well as a touchdown pass from Shane Cockerille (Gilman) during goal-line drills late in practice.
* Redshirt freshman tight end Derrick Hayward is raw and lacks fluidity as a route-runner, but he is 6-foot-5, 235 pounds and had made several catches during the 7-on-7 and team portions of practice, including one over the middle of the field that went for about a 20-yard gain.
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* Freshman right tackle Derwin Gray continues to impress teammates. Running back Albert Reid, a former teammates of Gray’s at Friendship Collegiate Academy, said he has watched tape of the offensive line doing one-on-one pass rushing drills with the defensive linemen and said Gray “looks good pretty good. He’s impressed me. I just can’t wait to see him in the game.”
* Junior Brandon Ross remains one of the favorites to land one of the Terps’ starting running back job, but he had a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Cole Farrand during team drills. After the play, Ross was sent off and replaced by Reid.
* It was not a good day for the wide receivers. Marcus Leak was unable to bring in a deep pass along the sideline on a perfect throw by quarterback C.J. Brown in tight coverage. Taivon Jacobs could not bring in a pass from backup quarterback Caleb Rowe in a similar situation. Freshman Juwann Winfree also dropped a would-be touchdown on a deep post after getting behind freshman cornerback Josh Woods (McDonogh). Receivers coach Keenan McCardell was animated during the drill and was not shy about voicing his displeasure regarding the drops.
* Highly touted freshman left tackle Damian Prince showed some of his natural power and strength during one-on-one pass rushing drills, but offensive line coach Greg Studrawa got frustrated with Prince after the freshman allowed his hands to get outside out of the defender’s shoulder pads on two straight turns.
* Sophomore cornerback and punt returner Will Likely had issues with muffed punts while handling the Terps’ punt return duties last year, and he had at least two muffed punts Thursday. After the second one, coach Randy Edsall came over and talked to Likely about the correct way to be catching the ball.
* Punter Nate Renfro had a better practice. He has been inconsistent dating back to the spring, but the ball was coming off of his foot well Thursday, and he clearly outperformed Maryland’s other two punters — Lee Shrader and Michael Tart.