Terps sticking with punter Nate Renfro and other notes

Nate Renfro and Brad Craddock
(Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun)

Maryland coach Randy Edsall said he is not planning on changing punters despite junior Nate Renfro's recent struggles.

Renfro, whom Edsall has described as inconsistent since the spring, averaged just 32.2 yards on his final five punts against Ohio State on Oct. 4 and averaged only 37.8 yards on nine punts during the Terps' win over Iowa on Saturday.


One punt against Iowa traveled just 19 yards. Another — which was snapped from the Hawkeyes' 38-yard line — sailed out of the end zone for a touchback at a key moment of the fourth quarter when Maryland was depending on Renfro to pin Iowa inside its 20-yard line.

The problem for the Terps?


"Who are you going to put in?," Edsall said during his weekly conference call Sunday.

The only other two punters on Maryland's roster are walk-on freshman Lee Shrader and senior Michael Tart, who averaged just 34 yards per punt on the only three punts of his Terps career.

Maryland could use kicker Brad Craddock as a punter. But it does not seem like Edsall is considering doing that.

"Our job is to put the best guys out there," Edsall said. "The best guys are out there. We'll continue to work with Nate to try to get him to be more consistent. Nate's our best punter, and Nate's the guy that's out there and will be out there. We'll continue to work with him and make him better."


Edsall not happy with Long?

Maryland wide receiver Deon Long spent at least part of the second half Saturday standing on the sideline while the rest of the Terps' first-team offense was on the field trying to make plays against Iowa.

Edsall was openly critical of Long early in preseason practice, and Long being on the sideline Saturday was apparently a product of Edsall again being frustrated with the senior wide receiver.

"We have a lot of confidence in our receivers," Edsall said. "And it's just like any position. If guys aren't playing up to the level of the expectations that we have for them, then we've got guys around here that we feel can go in and do a really good job."

Sophomore Amba Etta-Tawo is a wide receiver who saw increased playing time while Long was on the sideline.

Etta-Tawo, who had 31 catches for 500 yards and two touchdowns last season, had three catches for 46 yards after not catching a pass during the first six games and seeing only minimal playing time.

"I'm really proud of Amba," Edsall said. "Amba got an opportunity to go in there and ended up having three catches and a couple big catches. And [freshman] Juwann Winfree is talented, and he works. So we have no problem rotating guys in there.

"So around here, guys are going to have to play hard all the time. If you don't, there's other guys that we feel comfortable with putting in the ballgame that will go in there and earn the right to get out there and get reps."

Long finished without a catch Saturday. So did No. 3 wide receiver Marcus Leak, who dropped a would-be touchdown early in the game and rotated with Etta-Tawo and Winfree during the second half.

Edsall gets choked up talking about kicker

Edsall has talked numerous times about the work that Craddock has put into transforming himself from an inconsistent freshman who had never played organized football before into arguably the best at his position in the country.

Edsall got choked up and teared up after the game Saturday when a reporter from Australia asked the coach for his opinion of Craddock.

"I think our kicker's the best in the country," Edsall said of Craddock, who is 12 of 12 on field-goal attempts and has 22 touchbacks on kickoffs. "I think Brad is outstanding. And I know this is going to get sent back to all the people in Australia, and we appreciate you coming here to do a story on him to go back there."

Edsall then paused before continuing to speak.

"His fellow countrymen ought to be very proud of him in terms of how he's come over here to the states and has adjusted and is doing the things that he's doing in the classroom and what he's doing on the field," Edsall said. "He has worked extremely hard to put himself in that position.

"And I just want everybody over there to know that we love him here. He's made himself so much better, and they should be very, very proud of what he's accomplished because he's a first-class young man that was raised the right way, who has the right values, who has the right morals, and we're proud as heck to be able to coach him and call him one of our own."

The reporter then asked Edsall if he thinks other Australians can make it playing American football.

"If there are any other Australians like Brad Craddock, I'll fly over there and personally bring them back," Edsall said. "If there's other people over there like him that have the talent, that have the work ethic and have the leadership capabilities and intelligence, then I might even change my citizenship and come over there."

Game balls

Edsall gave game balls Saturday to quarterback C.J. Brown (offense), nose tackle Darius Kilgo (defense) and safety Anthony Nixon (special teams).

Brown ran for 99 yards, threw for 120 and returned from an injury to lead Maryland to a late touchdown. Kilgo had six tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. Nixon recovered a fumble on special teams.

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