While playing for the future sure doesn’t come easy for Ralph Friedgen, as we’ve seen with the repeated promises to play Danny O’Brien if that’s what it takes to win a game, there was one sign Saturday that Maryland is starting to look ahead a little bit.
For nearly the entire second half, Trenton Hughes played cornerback in place of Anthony Wiseman.
On the other side, Cameron Chism and Richard Taylor split time.
Chism, of course, was the starting corner more likely to rest for a spell ever since Nolan Carroll got hurt in the second game of the season. Chism’s also a sophomore, and his best days are presumably ahead of him.
Hughes is also a sophomore, while Wiseman is a senior.
“I think Don [Brown] was very encouraged by Trenton,” Friedgen said. “He played almost 30 plays. I think he had 30 plays, 27 good ones. On defense we gave up five big passes and that really broke out back.”
While Ryan Williams got his yardage on the ground, Maryland still did almost as well at containing him and Tyrod Taylor. Let’s put it this way: The Terps didn’t get bulldozed like last year in Blacksburg.
It was in the passing game where the problems really existed, which can be inferred as a reason Hughes received an extended look.
“We had some opportunities to make plays on defense and didn’t make them,” Friedgen said. “That’s right now a thing that hurting us. Guys are there and just not making plays.”
So was it a short-term thing? Well, Friedgen said Hughes and Taylor are likely to play a little bit more in the next couple weeks. For Taylor, it’s a nice payoff for overcoming injuries and spending six years in the program. For Hughes, it’s a chance to get some snaps.
In Hughes’ case, it’s also a chance to preview the near-future – which will be here all-too-quickly for the Terps.