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Maryland football scrimmage: Stefon Diggs relegated to second team in defensive affair

The defense impresses while multiple offensive stars are held out of play.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn't be a Maryland scrimmage without major offensive players missing out: C.J. Brown, Marcus Leak and Brandon Ross were held out Saturday, leaving the fans in attendance with a decidedly defensively-focused game. After the scrimmage, Edsall said Brown and Ross were held out so he could see the other options at those positions in action, while Leak was spotted wearing a walking boot. Edsall typically does not comment on injuries that are not season-ending.

Caleb Rowe and Shane Cockerille traded back-to-back fruitless drives to start things off -- Rowe's ended on a Sean Davis interception, Cockerille's on a 48-yard missed field goal attempt by Adam Greene (he later hit from 47) that clanked midway off the right upright. On the next drive, Rowe found Deon Long on a quick slant pass that resulted in a 53-yard touchdown. Long caught the ball in stride and got to full gear quickly, leaving his man in the dirt on the way to the score.

Damian Prince played as the second team's left guard, while Derwin Gray alternated with Ryan Doyle at right tackle on the first and second teams (Doyle appeared to take the majority of the first-team snaps). After the first quarter, Perry Hills took quarterbacking duties from Cockerille with the second team.

Stefon Diggs started practice with that second unit, as Long, Levern Jacobs and Taivon Jacobs were the first-team wide receivers. Edsall has said previously this offseason that the receiver unit (besides the Jacobs brothers) had disappointed. It's possible this was an attempted wake-up call to his star wide-out, but Edsall declined to give a reason for the move. Later in the game, Diggs could be found with the first team when they moved to four wide-out sets.

JuCo transfer Denzel Conyers ended a Hills drive with an interception, with Will Ulmer coming in immediately after. He fumbled the first exchange on a read option attempt, but completed a first down pass two plays later to fellow true freshman Juwann Winfree. Near the end of the scrimmage, Ulmer was picked off by true freshman safety Antwaine Carter, but bounced back by throwing a touchdown pass on one of the final plays.

DeAndre Lane muffed a punt in the second quarter, and Sean Davis was able to make another key defensive play. The safety pounced on it for the touchdown, cutting the score to 10-7.

None of the four quarterbacks impressed in the first half, but Caleb Rowe's numbers looked the most favorable -- in large part due to the work of Deon Long. At halftime, the quarterback had completed 9 of 15 passes for 151 yards -- five of them to Long for 99 yards. Towards the end of the half, Hills was picked off again by a newcomer. This time it was true freshman cornerback Josh Woods, who tracked down a long deep ball intended for Jacquille Veii and made the over-the-shoulder-grab.

Rowe started to get things going in the second half, finding Tavion Jacobs over the middle for a nice 27-yard touchdown grab. The score was set up by a long run from Albert Reid -- his first real noise of the day.

Reid's competition for the day, Wes Brown, struggled early but had a pair of nice runs later in the first half. The more impressive of the two netted 27 yards, as he burst through the front seven and barreled through a number of defenders before being forced out of bounds.

Later in the quarter, Rowe was picked off on a poor throw to the right side. Jeremiah Johnson ran up past the receiver, intercepted the pass and easily took it to the house.

Among players that consistently impressed: sophomore linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, sophomore fullback Kenneth Goins, junior safety Sean Davis, redshirt freshman wide receiver Taivon Jacobs and true freshman nose tackle David Shaw.