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College Football: Terps using matinee to prepare for fall premiere

April 05, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

Spring practice for college football teams is like a Broadway show.

Teams go out and practice their lines and try to establish themselves as stars on the main stage.

So, if practice is like an audition, then today’s session will be like a dress rehearsal for the University of Maryland.

The Terps will hold their practice at Middletown High School today from noon-2:30 p.m., complete with drills and an intrasquad scrimmage. It will be Maryland’s second off-campus practice, following last Saturday’s trip to Dunbar High.

“In the spring, you are looking for the guys who will be playing for you in the fall,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. “You try to get your schemes down and look to see where you might need a freshman to come in and play right away for you.

“What we try to do in the spring is bring the guys into different environments. This is going to be what it will be like going to compete in a road game.”

The Terps plan to meet early in College Park, Md., before bussing over to Middletown for their 12th practice of the 15 allotted in the spring.

“Everything went well last week when we did this at Dunbar,” Edsall said. “We will come out and do a walkthrough on the field, stretch, do our pregame routine and then we’ll start the scrimmage. The players like it and it will give people a chance to watch us practice and enjoy.

“This takes the team out of its comfort zone. When you play a road game during the season, you go to hostile environments. This won’t be hostile, but it’s not Byrd Stadium.”

Edsall admits the road practice is in part to work on growing Maryland’s fan base and help with marketing. It also is a chance to do some informal recruiting.

But to get ready for next season, there are a lot of issues to address.

“We want to make the adjustments we need to make after last week’s scrimmage,” Edsall said. “On offense, we want to execute better and be more sharp and crisp. We want to make more explosive plays that you can do with your receivers and we want to see how the offensive line progresses.

“We want the defense to play with more intensity and see who will be the pass rushers. Plus we want to see how much man defense we can play and experiment with coverages. We aren’t looking to be ready to start the season, but it gives us a chance to see the schematics.”

One position that will have particular interest will be quarterback after Maryland used five different players to get through the season. Original starter C.J. Brown was injured during the first practice and true freshmen Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe, along with Devin Burns, were all injured during the season.

Maryland closed out the year with Shawn Perry, a converted linebacker, running the offense for the final four games in a 4-8 season.

“C.J. has been throwing in 7-on-7 drills,” Edsall said. “Richardo Young and Dustin Dailey have been the guys and they had their best practices of the spring (on Tuesday). They have been making corrections and we are pleased with their progress. We want to see how Richardo responds with the way he handles the scrimmage.”

The scrimmage will be played under game conditions, with coaches off the field and in the pressbox. With only three practices remaining in the spring, there are still things that need to be answered.

“We are looking to see who the leaders will be on the field,” Edsall said. “It’s important to find out who is going to take control during games.”

The trip to Middletown could become a major piece to solving the puzzle for the Terps to be competitive in 2013.

“After this, we’ll have three more practices for the coaches to work with the players,” Edsall said. “The good thing is this game won’t count in the standings and it is another day to get better.”

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