With the start of spring practice five days away, Maryland football coach Randy Edsall spoke Monday at an afternoon news conference on a number of topics in regard to this year’s Terps.
There were a lot of questions regarding the quarterback situation coming off a year in which the Terps lost their top four at the position with season-ending injuries.
Edsall said redshirt senior C.J. Brown, who was supposed to be the starter last season before suffering a torn ACL last summer, will take part in individual drills and possibly 7-on-7 drills in the spring.
Edsall said that Brown “is pretty much ahead of schedule” but will be cautious in how he is used in spring drills, particularly in light of the string of injuries that befell the Terps at quarterback last season.
Brown’s injury was followed by similar injuries to freshmen Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe, as well as a season-ending foot injury to converted wide receiver Devin Burns, who has since transferred.
“I would say that he is [ready] from the standpoint that he has worked extremely hard, but the one thing we’re not going to do is that we’re not going to rush him,” Edsall said of Brown. “We’re going to do the things that the doctor tells us what he can do. But he has worked his tail off in terms of the rehab.”
With Brown limited in spring drills, and both Hills and Rowe out as they continue to rehab, nearly all the reps will go to transfer Ricardo Young. A former Gatorade Player of the Year at H.D. Woodson High in Washington, Young started his college career at Virginia Tech before winding up at New Mexico, where he was a teammate of wide receiver Deon Long, who is also now a Terp.
“Ricardo’s going to get a lot of work, and it will be good for Ricardo,” Edsall said of the 6-1, 190-pound junior. “It will be good for him to get all these reps and to see where he will be able to fit in for us in the fall. He’s a very good athlete. He can throw the football. We’ll see how accurate he can be this spring. In terms of being a guy who can be a dual threat for you, he’s got those capabilities and he can do all the things he can do with our offense.”
Asked if Young might have an advantage over Brown going into the fall if he plays well in the spring, Edsall said, “I think that it does. The one thing is that the learning process for him wouldn’t be like a true freshman. The thing that he has to do and has to understand is that he has to maintain focus and not think, ‘I know this stuff, I worked with Deon.’ He’s got to think ‘I’ve to work each and every day and go out and get better.’ He has to use that knowledge and skill set every day to challenge himself.”
Among the other news to come out of the news conference:
* Redshirt junior Matt Robinson (Atholton) has been moved from strong safety to outside linebacker after two injury plagued seasons. Robinson could compete for a starting job there in the fall, but will only take part in some individual drills in the spring.
“He’s more suited for that position, and getting our best 11 on the field, that’s something we just felt would be the best for us,” Edsall said of Robinson. “When you take a look at Matt right now, he’s weighing 234 and he’ll probably get to 240.”
* Shawn Petty, a former high school quarterback who played admirably at the position when the Terps turned to him late in the season, will return to linebacker this spring. Though the Terps only have two healthy quarterbacks for the spring, Edsall said it was “only fair” to Petty to move him back to the position for which he was recruited to play to give him a chance to get on the field in 2013.
* Wide receiver Marcus Leak will not only sit out the spring while rehabbing an injury, but also has some academic issues “to shore up.”
* This marks the earliest Edsall can remember starting spring practice.
“It allows us to take full advantage of getting done by April 12 and give the players the rest of the semester and we get our summer program started sooner,” Edsall said. “It also gives the ability to take full advantage of the six-week evaluation period.”