By Alex Flum
Two leaders on the field. Two injury filled careers. One common goal.
This was the outlook for seniors CJ Brown, quarterback, and Matt Robinson, outside linebacker, as they took the field for their first preseason practice Monday.
Brown, a sixth year senior has set his goals high for the season, but maintains they must be accomplished as a team.
“You can’t have individual goals without a team goal and you know obviously we want to be Big Ten champions, all-Big Ten conference, MVP and all that,” Brown said.
Brown is looking to build on a strong 2013 season in which he successfully returned from an ACL injury by posting career highs in all passing and rushing statistical categories en route to a bowl appearance, the team’s first under Randy Edsall.
“The biggest thing for us is just to go out there and win,” Brown said. “Lead our guys to a successful season and end up on top. We’re striving to be in Indianapolis for that Big Ten championship.”
The Terps offense has no shortage of weapons this year. The backfield is headlined by a trio of quality running backs; Wes Brown, Brandon Ross and Albert Reid. At receiver, Stefon Diggs, who was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team, will lead the charge for the Terps. Deon Long, Marcus Leak, and the explosive Jacobs brothers, Levern and Taivon, are also expected to provide some firepower at the position.
“Big thing I took away from this spring and going into the summer workouts was emphasizing the deep ball,” Brown said. “It’s gonna be huge for us. We gotta take advantage of that, take a little bit off my plate in terms of running and things like that and get it to the playmakers outside.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Robinson, the safety turned linebacker, who hasn’t played a full season since his freshman year, is hoping to stay healthy and achieve success on the field.
“I know I’ve had some injuries and that’s always a question,” Robinson said. “But I want to make sure I’m out there for my team and doing everything I can to help them win, make sure I’m helping the younger guys come along with the defense because even though we have a lot of older guys that means there’s gonna be a lot of young guys and they’re gonna be taking over after that.”
In addition to helping the backups, Robinson with a full year of experience playing linebacker will have a much better understanding and capability of leading the defense during games.
“[I] know where the safeties are gonna be playing linebacker,” Robinson said. “I know what they need help with and it really helps us play together just because it really helps them make sure they’re in their pass coverages.”
- Maryland began their first preseason practice as a member of the Big Ten, for quarterback senior CJ Brown, whose father played in the Big Ten for Michigan State, it was a another step towards actually playing a Big Ten game. “I don’t think it will be completely real until we play that first game,” Brown said. “Going to that Big Ten media day, it was a blast, very welcoming. To see those guys, it gets your competitive juices flowing.” Randy Edsall made it clear that CJ Brown is the clear cut starter, but junior Caleb Rowe and redshirt sophomore Perry Hills are still vying for the backup job. Cockerville may not be in the running but he looked sharp. CJ Brown ran for a touchdown in red zone 11 on 11 drills towards the end of practice.
- Edsall also said the left guard, running back and tight end starting spots are up for grabs. A trio of running backs are contending for the starting job: redshirt sophomore Wes Brown, redshirt junior Brandon Ross and junior Albert Reid. Brown, Ross and Reid all showed flashes during practice. The left guard spot appears to be a competition between senior Silvano Altamirano and redshirt junior Evan Mulrooney. Tight end appears to be a three man battle of redshirt sophomore PJ Gallo, redshirt freshman Derrick Hayward and sophomore Andrew Isaacs. Edsall said that Isaacs and Hayward had good summers. Hayward caught a nice touchdown pass from Caleb Rowe in red zone 11 on 11 drills towards the end of practice.
- On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end junior Quinton Jefferson made a superb stop in 11 on 11 drills that triggered a huge reaction from players and coaches. Jefferson started every game for the Terps last season. Sophomore cornerback Will Likely nearly picked off CJ Brown during red zone 11 on 11 drills. He also started all 13 games last year. As a freshman, Likely was a threat on special teams, he has the potential to become a threat on defense this season.