Tuesday was a busy day in general in D1scourse land. Visits to Maryland and George Washington and Navy. Tracking stories at American and Georgetown. To be sure, quiet time is done.
Tuesday was also a busy day in College Park, where there were plenty of football-related developments in the morning. There just wasn’t time to do all the things that needed to be done to fully assess everything.
So that time is now.
Starting with …
MATT ROBINSON IS INJURED – AGAIN
The sophomore safety, who received a medical hardship waiver after playing in three games last season with a shoulder injury, found himself ailing again Tuesday.
Robinson left practice with a left shoulder injury. It’s the opposite shoulder as a year ago, but it shines a light on arguably the Terps’ thinnest position on defense.
True freshman Sean Davis stepped in to complete practice in Robinson’s stead. Meanwhile, the other eligible players listed as reserve safeties include senior walk-on Clarence Claiborne, redshirt freshman Undray Clark and true freshman Anthony Nixon.
There’s no word on the severity of the injury, but Davis very much finds himself near the top of the list of true freshmen likely to play. If Robinson’s out for a while, Davis’ role could prove as large as any newcomer’s this year.
KNEE SIDELINES JOSH CARY
Step No. 1 at practice each day is an attendance check. Fullback Tyler Cierski wasn’t there, but that wasn’t a surprise since he sat out the last open session Friday. Coach Randy Edsall said Cierski would probably be back in a day or so, ensuring that will be something to watch for Thursday morning when the media horde is allowed back in.
The more notable absence was right guard Josh Cary, who started nine games a year ago.
Cary has what Edsall described as a “knee situation” – something that won’t require surgery but could keep him out a week or two weeks.
“Hopefully not too much longer than that,” Edsall said.
Two weeks from Tuesday is Aug. 28. Maryland’s opener is Sept. 1. If Cary’s recovery is on the longer side, it would seem unlikely he could overtake De’Onte Arnett in just a few days. Depending on how long Cary is out, one of Maryland’s camp competitions might have just been decided by injury.
One other injury tidbit: Freshman tackle Mike Madaras is dealing with an ailing shoulder.
PERRY HILLS NOSES AHEAD FOR No. 2 QB ROLE
For the moment anyway, the identity of C.J. Brown’s backup is known.
While Maryland didn’t issue a revised depth chart during camp last year (and here’s guessing that repeats itself this month), Edsall said Perry Hills is ahead of Caleb Rowe for the No. 2 quarterback spot. Both Hills and Rowe are true freshmen.
“I would just say the overall command and presence on the field in terms of running everything and not making as many mental mistakes put him ahead,” Edsall said.
If everything went well for Maryland, it would play one of the two while redshirting the other – ensuring one was a sophomore while the other was a redshirt freshman next year.
Of course, things don’t always go well for the Terps, especially at quarterback; only once in the last five years has the same QB started the opener and the finale (Chris Turner in 2009). This situation bears monitoring, and it’s far from finished at this stage.
ROSS IS BOSS AT TAILBACK?
Maryland has no shortage of young tailbacks, and it’s not hard to get the sense it won’t be a one-man show in the backfield.
Justus Pickett opened camp as the starter. Freshmen Wes Brown and Albert Reid drew praise last week.
But who’s the most consistent of the lot? Redshirt freshman Brandon Ross.
“If we had to start today, Brandon would be the starter,” Edsall said.
In some ways, this isn’t a surprise. Ross has the build to withstand punishment (5-foot-10, 205 pounds) and more than a few folks mentioned he pieced together a solid highlight reel during camp as a true freshman. The problem was avoiding notably shaky plays.
That appears to be a less of an issue, and it could be enough to keep Ross very much in the mix far beyond camp.
HAPPY RETURNS FOR DIGGS
For those who took the under on Stefon Diggs finding his way into a large role in the return game within his first 10 practices, take a bow.
The freshman needed only a week to find himself in position to be Maryland’s primary return man on kickoffs and punts.
“He’s shown he can do things,” Edsall said. “We just have to continue to coach him up and teach him all the little intricacies of being a return guy, but also how to read blocks, how to set some of things up. He’s a quick learner and I’ve been very pleased with his poise in terms of catching the ball and understanding everything I’m looking for in a return guy.”
Given Maryland’s dearth of experience in the return game, it always made sense for the touted Diggs to make contributions there almost from the start. It’s already looking as if Diggs will be the first true freshman to see the field this year – assuming Maryland receives the opening kickoff.
DEAN MOVES UP AT MO
Freshman linebacker Brock Dean has moved up to the No. 2 option at Mo linebacker behind Demetrius Hartsfield, which doesn’t exactly mean Dean is suddenly slated to play a ton.
What it does mean is he’s leaped over junior Bradley Johnson in just the first week of camp.
Johnson, by the way, played in only three games last season and none of the final eight. He worked as a backup in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2010 and started the Military Bowl in place of Drew Gloster at defensive end.