COLLEGE PARK — Maryland coach Randy Edsall sat in front of a crowded auditorium for the Terps’ media day Monday.
He was complimentary of many players and spoke optimistically throughout the 30-minute news conference. Wide receiver was the one position of which he was openly critical.
Edsall shared his disappointment regarding how the group looked during the first week of preseason practice and talked about wanting to see better and more consistent play from what many analysts look at as the best collection of receivers in the Big Ten.
Since then, he has.
Edsall still wants more consistent effort when it comes to blocking. But after that uninspiring first week of practice, Maryland’s receivers have started to look more like the dangerous, dynamic collection of playmakers that many believe they have the potential to be.
“I just said what I thought was the truth,” Edsall said of his comments Monday. “If they heard it, I would hope that they would [respond] because they’re young men who want to do well.”
Star receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long have been particularly more active and more productive than they were last week.
Long had a 25-yard catch over cornerback Jeremiah Johnson Wednesday, got behind Maryland’s defense for around a 40-yard catch Tuesday and had a touchdown catch in tight coverage during the two-minute portion of practice Tuesday.
He has looked dynamic, much more so than he did during Week One of camp.
Diggs has started to return to form as well.
Diggs had a quiet start to preseason practice, but he has been active this week and has made several big plays during the last few days.
Diggs made several catches Wednesday and beat Johnson on a deep post Thursday for around a 50-yard gain on a pass from backup quarterback Caleb Rowe. Those in attendance for practice are also starting to see more of that signature Diggs elusiveness, as he has made some defenders miss in space the last few days and created some extra yards after the catch.
“I thought there were plays that were made out there, but we’re looking for consistency,” Edsall said of Diggs and Long before practice Thursday. “Deon made a couple plays [Wednesday], but we’re looking for that consistency practice in and practice out in terms of everything — not just catching the ball but blocking. But yeah, there was a little bit of improvement there.”
Edsall and players also continue to praise the Jacobs brothers — Levern, a junior, and Taivon, a redshirt freshman whom Diggs has referred to as the fastest human he has ever seen in person.
Levern Jacobs had 47 catches for 640 yards and three touchdowns last season and has been steady and productive since returning from a minor leg injury during the weekend.
“Stefon has a big target on his back, and it’s good to have a player [with similar talent] as Stefon,” safety Sean Davis said. “With Levern, I feel like he’s a sneaky guy and people are going to sleep on him, and he’s going to take advantage of it.”
Maryland also has redshirt sophomore Amba Etta-Tawo, who has made some big plays down the field during camp, as well junior Marcus Leak, who was a starter in 2012 before sitting out last year.
“With the talent that they have, they can be very good,” Edsall said of the receivers at media day.