That spring game may or may not have, but definitely did, suck. The final score of 13-all wasn’t necessarily the worst outcome, but there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about if you’re a die-hard Maryland fan. Well, except for Stefon Diggs, who did exactly what Stefon Diggs does and scored a very impressive 51-yard touchdown on a short pass from Ricardo Young. It looks like the time off from football hasn’t slowed him one bit, and he’s going to be just as impressive this year. Didn’t get to see much of anything out of Deon Long, though, which was a bit of a disappointment. He had a couple catches, a couple dropped balls, but I was expecting more.
I suppose you could also get excited that no one really got hurt for the first time in a long time since the Terrapins took the football field. Nigel King banged up his knee, but for the most part no one was tearing ACLs. Staying healthy is what is going to make this team the best possible team, because the talent is there.
It was also nice to see Shawn Petty making plays out there on the field…for the defense. Petty filled in at quarterback last season and was unquestionably the worst QB the Terps have ever used, but he looks far superior for the defense. He actually made life somewhat difficult for Dustin Dailey (the new QB on the roster), breaking up a couple passes and nabbing a sack. I guess that made me chuckle a little.
So without further ado, here’s three things I think I figured out about the Terps….
- Ricardo Youngprobably isn’t going to start for the Maryland Terrapins this year, that’s much I’ve figured out. He’s more than a little short, which wouldn’t be a big problem if his throwing motion wasn’t a bit janky. On numerous occasions, Young’s balls ricocheted off the offensive lines’ helmets, in part because it seemed as if he tended to release the ball a little late in his throw. I can probably understand why the coaching staff wants to go with C.J. Brown to start the season if that’s how he practices.That’s not to say that Ricardo Young didn’t show off a little bit of magic with his legs, which looked promising. And he showed the ability to throw crisp passes on short/intermediate routes, and a pretty decent deep ball. He’s a significant upgrade at backup from Perry Hills, I’ll say that. But is he the quarterback of the future? Maybe when he shakes off a little more rust. Until then, dare I say that the Terps might be better off with Caleb Rowe back there.
- The running game, as I said last year, is going to propel the Terps to victory. The whole stable isn’t even healthy yet, but it already looks like we’ve got some thoroughbreds in the group. Brandon Ross looked just as powerful running the football as ever, hitting the hole with power that coaches love to see. As a north-south runner, Ross looks like he’s ready to get noticed by a lot of people around the country. His lower body is enormous, and if he can stay healthy Ross should impress this year.I’ll say the same for Albert Reid, who is running with a lot more confidence this season. Last year it was baptism by fire for the kid, and you could tell the speed of the game was making it difficult for a shifty back like Reid to succeed. It appears that he grew from that experience, and while he is still relatively small, he understands how to play to his strengths. Reid has breakaway speed, and if you get him into open space then forget about tackling him. He’ll serve as a great complement to Ross’ bruising style of running this year. Oh, and he threw a touchdown, so that was cool.
- We’re not that big.Maybe it’s just because this was the first time seeing them, but I (and a few other people) commented about how small the defense looked. It wasn’t just one specific player, as a whole the group didn’t looked menacingly large with the departure of a few key guys. Demetrius Hartsfield, Kenny Tate, and Joe Vellano gone, some of these boys looked downright little. Defense may have been a strong suit last season, and I think it’s going to be fine this year as well, but the size will take some getting used to when they stack up against big boys like Clemson and Florida State.Speaking of Florida, William Likely is definitively not 5’9. He may not even be 5’8 or 5’7! The knock on him was his height, and I pretty much get that now, because he looked small even standing next to Brendan Magistro. But that boy can scoot, so make no mistake about his potency on the football field. Likely may not start returning punts right away (that goes to Diggs), but if and when he does, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will break a few free. I think he still needs to bulk up some more before the Terps start him on defense, though.