Here are notes from Maryland’s football practice held in pads today inside toasty Byrd Stadium. I’ll also have a separate notebook for online and print this afternoon:
** Wide receiver Deon Long has looked like a perfect complement during early training camp to Stefon Diggs in the slot. But Long suffered a back injury and is listed as week-to-week.
Other items from the medical report: Running back Joe Riddle took a blow to the head and is listed as day-to-day. Don’t count Riddle out for playing time. He’s behind Brandon Ross and Albert Reid but had a good spring and his opportunities were enhanced by the season-long suspension of Wes Brown.
Fullback Tyler Cierski has a strained calf and is also listed day-to-day. Hey, Coach, how about a carry or two for Cierski, who works hard and had three rushes for 10 yards last season?
** Freshman quarterback Shane Cockerille (Gilman) completed his first week of training camp by taking a number of reps at Friday’s practice. He’s a feisty kid who may have a hard time sitting out and watching other more experienced guys this season. But he knows that he must wait his turn.
So how is he doing? “His head’s spinning – typical freshman, just like most of them out there,” coach Randy Edsall said. “He’s doing the doggy paddle now just trying to stay afloat. But Shane is talented, he’s got a good arm, [is] smart.” More on Cockerille later.
Some things I saw at practice:
** Cornerback Dexter McDougle intercepting a Perry Hills pass and taking it into the end zone. McDougle, a senior, and Jeremiah Johnson, a junior, give the Terps able and experienced corners. Their ability in the defensive backfield allowed coaches to shift Matt Robinson from safety to linebacker.
The unit's success this season will rest in part on how effective Maryland's pass rush can be. That's a question mark given the departures of Joe Vellano, A.J. Francis and others.
“We have a chance to be one of the stronger units on the team,” Johnson said today. It’s a good battle between A.J. (Hendy) and Sean (Davis) at safety. Both of them are going to contribute.”
** Running back Jacquille Veii making a leap into the end zone. That’s a name you may not have heard. But Edsall said of the freshman: “Jacquille is having a really good camp. He’s doing extremely well. I’ve been very impressed with him, and his ability to run the ball. He’s done a pretty good job from understanding and executing all the things he’s got to execute. It will be interesting to see as we get a little bit more into some of the pass game stuff in terms of protections and all those things, but he’s a very talented runner.”
** Quarterback Caleb Rowe taking snaps right behind starter C.J. Brown. Does that mean Rowe has an edge to be the backup quarterback?
Not necessarily, Edsall said. “We’ve kind of switched the reps back and forth as we went this week between C.J., Ricardo [Young], and Perry. We’ll have a better idea after we get through scrimmage tomorrow afternoon and as we get into next week.”
** Wide receiver Nigel King catching a touchdown pass in a red zone drill. If you want to make receivers coach Lee Hull mad, talk about Diggs and Long without mentioning King. King does not get as much attention as the other two, but Hull believes he can be a major asset. At 6-3, King is a valuable target close to the goal line. “Don’t forget about Nigel King,” Hull seems to be perpetually saying.
** Offensive lineman Mike Madaras working his way back from a two-week university suspension. “He was out in here in no pads today. Tuesday, he’ll be back in full pads,” Edsall said.
** For the second practice in a row – at least the ones the media has seen – the field-goal kicking appeared inconsistent. Brad Craddock absolutely boomed several 58-yard attempts, but none sailed between the uprights, It’s the shorter ones that coaches are concerned about.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun