Dienhart: 5 things I learned at Maryland football practice
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — We got to watch Maryland on its fourth day of camp Thursday. And, it was blazing hot. The Terps practiced at a quick pace with plenty of energy–and for three hours. The coaches really got after the players. It was all about hustling. Be fast, be fast, be fast.
Here is what I learned at Maryland practice.
1. This offense is going to be fun. Walt Bell is a young, bright mind who has brought a sizzling offense to College Park. The Terps run an up-tempo scheme that operates at a fast pace. And the running game is an emphasis. The attack likes to spread defenses from sideline to sideline. There are no huddles and the QB takes shotgun snaps while also working from the pistol formation at times. The offense wants to run at holes in the defense, also using the QB as part of the rushing attack. There also is a nice set of screen passes.
2. There is a nice collection of running backs. And, since this offense wants to emphasis the run, that’s a good thing. Wes Brown is a vet who can get the job done, though he will miss the first three games of the season due to suspension. He looks good. And Virginia Tech transfer Trey Edmunds can get the job done as big back like Brown. He’s the son of former Terp Ferrell Edmunds. What’s not to like about sophomore Ty Johnson? He has some nice moves and can scoot. But Brown is a proven workhorse. Keep an eye on true freshman Jake Funk, a Maryland prep star with potential. Durkin has already publicly alluded to Funk playing.
3. The QB play still has something to prove. To say this position struggled last season would be a vast understatement. How bad was it? Maryland tossed 29 interceptions, which was six more than the 127th-best team out of 128 in FBS. Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe have been around the block. Hills had his moments today but never will wow as a passer. Rowe didn’t take part in drills as he nursed an injury. I liked true freshman Tyrrell Pigrome. What he lacks in size he compensates for with a nice arm and mobility. For Maryland’s sake, it probably needs Rowe or Hills to win the job. And Hills figures to be the guy.
4. The arrival of JC Jackson is huge for Maryland. The JC transfer, who was just cleared to join the team after beginning his career at Florida, will give the Terps one of the top corner duos in the Big Ten, teaming up with William Likely. Jackson has nice size (6-1, 190) and athletic ability. We’re all familiar with Likely, who was in midseason form and can cover with aplomb. And he’s an underrated hitter for his size who is rarely out of position. This secondary needs to come together for the defense to do well. At Michigan, Durkin asked his secondary to play a lot of man coverage, which allowed the front seven to play with reckless abandon in what was an aggressive scheme.
5. The receiving corps is better. This unit needs to make some strides for the offense to be fully functional. D.J. Moore looks primed to build on a big freshman season. He has remade his body and looks good. New Mexico State grad transfer Teldrick Morgan will play a big role. Taivon and Levern Jacobs are a nice tandem. Diminutive DeAndre Lane can scoot, and Malcolm Culmer is a steady force. Now, can the QBs get the ball to these guys? Stay tuned.
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