COLLEGE PARK — Maryland star receiver Stefon Diggs was relegated to working with the second-team offense for most of the second half of preseason practice, and coach Randy Edsall made clear he would remain with the second team until he improved.
Edsall was trying to motivate Diggs, and it worked.
"The good thing is with Stefon, I did something there, and it motivated him and it got him back on track, and sometimes you have to do that," Edsall said. "You all have kids. You know how it is. You've got to do the same thing. Sometimes you've got to take something away from them to get them to understand that what they're doing is wrong."
Edsall was displeased with Diggs' focus and effort as a blocker, but Diggs did enough during the second half of preseason camp that he was back working with the first-team offense during Maryland's final scrimmage of camp last week.
Diggs is also listed as a starter heading into the Terps' season opener against James Madison Saturday.
"He's not a bad kid," Edsall said. "He's not a bad person. He's a kid. He's a kid. And everybody heaps all this praise on him and all these accolades, and sometimes young people don't know how to handle that, and that's where we as adults and coaches and mentors and teachers have to come in and aid them to keep them on track."
Edsall defends freshman lineman
Anytime a school lands a "five-star" player, the natural expectation for fans is for that player to come in, immediately become a starter and quickly become an impact player at his position.
That did not happen with Terps freshman Damian Prince. But that doesn't mean Prince won't still develop into a high-level player for Maryland.
Some players — such as Diggs — acclimate faster to college competition than others. But it's normal for players to need time to adjust and develop before stepping into a big role — regardless of their ranking.
"I think the thing that happens there, that’s all you guys that have these high expectations for these kids," Edsall said, "and it’s not fair to these kids to be ranked coming out of high school based on projections, based on people influencing people to rank people higher and all those things. I’m not disappointed in Damian at all.
"This is a process, and it’s a hard process for these kids to come from high school and come to college and play at this level and come in and be able to be a contributor as a freshman. So don’t write anything that Randy Edsall is disappointed in Damian Prince. I’m not disappointed in him at all. He’s out there learning how to compete, how to use the technique we want in order to execute the things that we want within our scheme, and I love the kid to death. And again, this is a process you go through."
Edsall encouraged by guard Altamirano
The original plan was for Silvano Altamirano to compete with Evan Mulrooney for Maryland's starting left guard job.
Mulrooney being sidelined by a viral infection essentially made Altamirano the winner by default, but Edsall said he was encouraged by Altamirano's play during preseason camp.
Altamirano is undersized at 6-feet-2, 290 pounds and was strictly a reserve as a junior last season. However, Edsall said Altamirano was "fantastic" during the Terps' first scrimmage of preseason practice and has referred to Altamirano as one of Maryland's five best offensive linemen.
“I just think with Silvano, he saw the opportunity," Edsall said. "Even if Evan was healthy, he was ready to compete. The one thing that I was impressed by is the fact when Evan got hurt, I didn’t see a guy just say, 'OK, it’s my spot now basically because Evan got hurt.'
"I saw a guy go out there and get better and work really, really hard each and every day. By doing that, I thought he enhanced his own position and he got better individually."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun