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Will Likely could see an increased role in Maryland's offense

Will Likely could see an increased role in Maryland's offense
Maryland's William Likely, top right, dives over Richmond's Charles Mack, left, and Trevor Jones (10) into the end zone for a 67-yards punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter on Sept. 5, 2015. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

In the third quarter of Maryland's 49-28 loss at No. 1 Ohio State two weeks ago, Terps fans got a brief glimpse of something some had been clamoring for when the team's offense went stagnant during the previous few weeks.

Cornerback Will Likely, Maryland's shutdown corner and ace returner, lined up on offense and took a handoff from quarterback Perry Hills, and ran 8 yards for a first down inside the Buckeyes' 10.

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Interim coach Mike Locksley said in his Thursday teleconference that Likely could see a larger role in the offense moving forward, in the hope that he helps jump-start the Terps' attack beginning Saturday against Penn State.

"He's been, as I said before, champing at the bit to get involved offensively," Locksley said. "And as an offensive guy, having another weapon like Will, being able to get the ball to him is something I was interested in."

During his career in College Park, Likely had joked with Locksley about playing offense, but the Terps felt he was too valuable on defense and special teams to risk injury or exhaustion.

But Locksley said he has been developing a "Will package" over the past month or so, and the coaching staff has had a chance to build it and add new wrinkles to it. It won't just be a red-zone package like it was against Ohio State.

Likely has already been a weapon for Maryland this season with two punt returns for touchdowns and by giving the team good field position thanks to his Big Ten Conference-leading punt return average (22.6 yards per return).

Now it appears he'll get even more chances to help out a revamped offense.

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