By Kyle Melnick
The Maryland Terrapins took the field for their fifth day of training camp Friday afternoon, practicing in full pads for the first time this preseason.
The Terrapins again started practice by participating in individual position drills. Quarterback C.J. Brown made one notable throw when he connected with star wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the deep right corner of the end zone.
The team then moved into 11-on-11 drills in the red zone, focusing specifically on the running game. The three running backs competing for the starting job, Wes Brown, Albert Reid and Brandon Ross, were all put to work and tested heavily during this time.
Reid fought hard for extra yards every time he was handed the ball. He also scored the first touchdown of the drill. Brown made an impressive run himself by scoring a touchdown after dodging multiple tackles. Ross ran aggressively, but failed to score a touchdown during this drill. In addition, Jacquille Veii made a notable run by performing a quick juke move in order to dodge multiple defenders to score a touchdown.
Coach Randy Edsall commented on the running back competition before practice.
“We’re looking for the guys that can be consistent with everything they are doing,” Edsall said. “In terms of ball security, in terms of catching the ball, in terms of pass protection and in terms of their assignments; so it’s too early to say that one guy is sticking out.”
After finishing up drills that focused on the running game, the team moved downfield and participated in scrimmage-like 11-on-11 drills. The first-team offense struggled, as Brown had trouble connecting with receivers and moving the ball downfield. Ross took snaps with the first-team offense, and made one impressive run up the middle for a big gain. Sophomore receiver DeAndre Lane made a notable diving catch down the middle with three defenders hovering over him.
Deon Long, who should be a key target for Brown this season, did not practice Friday due to an abdomen injury. Edsall said his injury is “day-to-day.”
At the end of practice, the team participated in 11-on-11 red zone drills. The first-team offense continued to struggle throughout this drill, as it failed to reach the end zone. The drill incorporated a set of downs, thus the offense brought out the field goal team on fourth down. Starting kicker Brad Craddock connected on all three of his attempts. Linebackers Matt Robinson, Alex Twine and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil all looked impressive and stopped the offense from making big plays.
After practice, starting defensive back Jeremiah Johnson expressed his attitude toward playing in full pads.
“It felt good to actually hit people and make some plays,” Johnson said. “I like live situations. I like to show I am physical.”
Johnson also commented on the much improved defense this season.
“We really feel confident in this group’s unit. The fact that we have so much experience coming back is definitely a plus for us,” said Johnson. “For my position group, I think this is the most athletic and the most depth we’ve had since I’ve been here. We have the potential to be the best in this conference.”
Day six of preseason practice will take place Saturday.