COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland has just one more preseason practice open to the media. After that, the next time Terps players and coaches will see reporters will be next week to talk about the season opener against James Madison, which is less than two weeks away.
But here are some notes and observations from Maryland’s Monday morning practice:
* Left tackle Michael Dunn had one of his first noticeably lackluster practices during preseason camp. Outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue beat Dunn to get pressure on quarterback C.J. Brown on the first play of team drills. Later, Dunn was pushed back by defensive ends Andre Monroe and Roman Braglio during one-on-one blocking drills. Dunn also held freshman outside linebacker Jesse Aniebonam during one-on-ones, although he did bounce back with a pancake of Ngakoue.
* Aside from being pancaked, Ngakoue again was impressive as a pass rusher. He beat Dunn early in practice and made right tackle Ryan Doyle look bad twice during one-on-ones. More and more, Ngakoue is looking like a potential difference-maker as a situational pass rusher.
* Third-team wide receivers Malcolm Culmer and DeAndre Lane made some plays early in camp, but both have had several drops during the last week, including at least one each Monday. Culmer also has struggled to get open at times.
* Redshirt freshman tight end Derrick Hayward is noticeably further along than he was at the beginning of camp. He remains a work in progress, but he has made some good catches during the last week or so and had a nice, contested catch over the middle Monday.
* Monroe, nose tackle Darius Kilgo and right guard Andrew Zeller all stood out during one-on-ones. Monroe consistently causes problems for offensive linemen with his leverage, strength and quickness and made both Dunn and left guard Silvano Altamirano look bad during the drill. Kilgo is big, physical and a good athlete for someone who is 320 pounds, and he looked good while beating veteran center Sal Conaboy at one point. Zeller, meanwhile, was one of the only offensive linemen who was consistently good during one-on-ones. He stopped defensive end Quinton Jefferson early on and then later stonewalled Jefferson at the line of scrimmage.
* Freshman left guard Damian Prince has had problems during camp, but he was twice commended by offensive line coach Greg Studrawa during one-on-ones. After successfully stopping a defensive lineman on one rep, Studrawa said loudly: “Better, Damian, better.” Studrawa said something similar after Prince prevented Braglio from getting a “sack” during Prince’s next time up.
* Coach Randy Edsall said wrestler Spencer Myers has the edge on Malik Jones (Dunbar) for the backup job at defensive end behind Jefferson, but he said Jones is “pushing.”
* Edsall singled out freshman cornerback Daniel Ezeagwu and redshirt sophomore linebacker Brock Dean for their play during the Terps’ scrimmage Saturday.
Ezeagwu is in contention for Maryland’s fourth cornerback job and got an opportunity to run with the first-team defense during the scrimmage with Alvin Hill being held out.
“I’ve been impressed with him,” Edsall said about Ezeagwu. “The interesting thing is when you go and watch the tape, and you’re just sitting there and watching, all of a sudden there is a guy or two that jumps out at you, and he was a guy that jumped out. That was a guy that we wanted to take a look at. I thought he played pretty well.”
Dean is competing for a job on special teams.
“Brock’s been running around and doing things, so hopefully there is a spot for him on a couple of the special teams [units],” Edsall said. “I’ve been impressed with how he’s been working and what he’s done.”
* Sophomore tight end P.J. Gallo is known more for his blocking, but he had a nice contested, leaping touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone on a pass from backup quarterback Caleb Rowe during team drills late in practice.
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