Testudo Times was able to catch the first day of spring practice for Maryland football, with the return of Wes Brown and Marcus Leak as well as the additions of the new coaches as the big storylines.
Let's run down what we saw on offense (where stat-keeping was easier), position-by-position-- all yardage numbers are approximations (there was no tackling, so we guessed when players would likely have been down).
|11-on-11s, red zone||Comp||Att||Yards||Rushes||Yards|
- To no surprise, C.J. Brown looked by far the best quarterback of the group, both in the air and on the ground.
- In the skeleton, Rowe was the only one who threw an interception (Alvin Hill was on the other end), while Hills threw the only touchdown in the drill (thanks to a fantastic move from Amba Etta-Tawo). In the red zone drills, Rowe and Hills threw touchdowns (Rowe on a great catch by Malcolm Culmer, Hills to Taivon Jacobs), while Hills was picked off by Cavon Walker.
- Cockerille's numbers may not be all that good (a number of his passes were dropped), but he looks like a completely different quarterback. He's got a lot of polishing left to do, but there's some significant promise there -- Edsall called him a "wild horse."
- On the other end of it, Hills's numbers may look the best, but his passes had the least amount of zip on them. He still found a way to complete those passes, as that's what Perry Hills does, but he was certainly boosted numbers-wise by the 60-yard touchdown to Etta-Tawo.
- Edsall's comments on the quarterbacks in general: ""You can see that C.J. [Brown] feels comfortable in the system. I thought Caleb [Rowe] did some good things today. Shane [Cockerille] is a guy that just has to get everything down. He's a little bit of a wild horse right now, but again, it will come for him. Perry [Hills] I thought did some good things today. That's the other thing, this is the first time in the spring we've had quarterbacks to really work with. Again, good competition makes guys better, makes things go a lot smoother. There were a lot of expectations on those guys because they've all played, they all know the system. We're not going to expect some mistakes out of those guys that maybe sometimes they'll make. They've got to hold themselves to a higher standard because of the experience and the reps that they've had in this system."
|11-on-11s, red zone||Rushes||Yards||Receptions||Yards|
- Ross started things off with a 55-yard run in the 11-on-11s from near midfield, almost scoring a touchdown from his own 40-yard line. He was by far the best running back on the day, although Veii impressed as well.
- Wes Brown looks like a completely different running back -- he lost a lot of weight during his suspension, and is much leaner. Without full contact drills, it's hard to tell if that means he's lost any of his power, but he's nearly unrecognizable.
- Some wide receivers got involved in the action as well, as Maryland ran some fly sweep plays in the red zone. Levern Jacobs ran for eight yards, and Dustin Dailey ran for two.
|11-on-11s, red zone||Rec||Yards|
- Taivon Jacobs was undoubtedly the big winner of the day for the unit, being targeted by far the most out of any of the receivers and hauling in an impressive number of catches.
- "He is exactly what we thought he was," Edsall said on the younger Jacobs after the second day of practice. "He is very fast, very quick, very competitive. He is one of the best competitors that we have on our football team. He is a leader for a freshman and we have been pleased with what we have seen so far. He just has to keep improving and getting better."
- Etta-Tawo had the day's biggest play, hauling in a Perry Hills catch on the right side and making a fantastic move to blow by the defender for a long score. The only other touchdown? Malcolm Culmer bringing down a contested pass in the end zone.
- Marcus Leak did not participate in the drills, as he had a tight hamstring.
We don't have any real stats for the unit, but some observations:
- Alvin Hill and Cavon Walker were the two players who recorded interceptions on the day. Hill's was an impressive contested play, and he made numerous defenses on passes. He's going to be competing for one of the starting cornerback spots, and went a long way towards that with his first day performance.
- "I don't think it is what he has done in these practices," Edsall said on Hill after the second day of practice. "I think it is the work that he has put in since last year and since the end of the season. You can take a look at his body and he has changed his body. Not that it was bad before, but he is stronger. He is more knowledgeable of what is going on. He has really done some good things. It is not surprising because I have seen Alvin working out, doing stuff on his own. I have seen him in the film room. When you put in that time, when you put in the effort and you put in the work it shows up here on the field and that is exactly what he has done."
- Keith Bowers made some nice moves into the backfield, as did Andre Monroe. Avery Thompson also made a good play for a tackle for a loss.
- Anthony Nixon made a nice play on a pass deflection, and Cole Farrand got in on the action in that area as well.
- Brad Craddock hit field goals from 19, 27, 33 and 46 yards away, missing one from 39.
- Adam Greene hit field goals from 19, 33, 39 and 46 yards, missing the 27-yarder.
New coaches impress
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Day One was just how active new positional coaches Keenan McCardell and Greg Studrawa are. McCardell immediately demanded the attention of all around him, as he was loud, active and involved with the drills (it helps to have a coach who can actually run them). Studrawa fits the bill of what you think an offensive line coach is -- large and booming.
"I think they're all exactly what I thought in terms of the kind of teachers [they are]," Edsall said on the new coaches. "They all bring energy and enthusiasm out here and [they are] very sound, fundamental coaches with great knowledge of what it takes to win at this level. I thought it was fun to watch those guys out here teaching today."
Recruits in attendance
There were a number of visitors for practice, most notably five-star signee Damian Prince, who closely watched the offensive line drills and the full team drills. Three-star 2015 Glenelg (Md.) offensive lineman David Robbins was there as well.