Notable tidbits beyond kicker Nick Ferrara‘s departure from College Park from Maryland coach Randy Edsall‘s Thursday session …
HENDY WORKING HIS WAY BACK
Sophomore defensive back A.J. Hendy made his 2012 debut last week, working on the punt block/return team in the Terrapins’ 19-14 defeat of Wake Forest.
Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said Wednesday that Hendy is now Maryland’s backup nickelback, and is also a reserve cornerback behind Dexter McDougle and Jeremiah Johnson.
The role as a No. 2 nickel makes sense, since Hendy worked as a cornerback during the spring before shifting back to safety when injuries struck during August camp.
“He’s still getting treatment and everything, but he’s out there and he’s working,” Edsall said. “Right now, he’s a backup out there. We have him on some special teams and he’s a backup on some special teams. The thing is, he’s going to progress and see if he can work himself into more of a role defensively or on special teams.”
EDSALL SEEKING ASSERTIVENESS FROM BURNS
Second-string quarterback Devin Burns made a cameo appearance against West Virginia, and Edsall suggested the Terps hoped to get the sophomore quarterback-turned-wideout-turned-quarterback some work against Wake Forest.
The opportunity didn’t arise during that victory, but it would come as no surprise if Burns got a few looks as a change-of-pace.
Which prompts the question: Almost two months into this stint as a QB, is Burns exceeding expectations?
“I don’t know if it’s better or worse or whatever,” Edsall said. “I think he’s kind of picked them up in terms of what we kind of expected him to do. I think he’s got certain strengths and certain weaknesses. One of the things we’re working with him at getting better at is just being more assertive, taking more control when he’s out there. He’s got to understand he’s one snap away from going in and playing and he’s got to be prepared to do that.”
A LOOK AT MIDSEASON MOVES ELSEWHERE
Georgia Tech fired defensive coordinator Al Groh earlier this week, following the lead of Houston and Wisconsin, which both ditched assistant coaches in September.
Shuffling a staff midseason isn’t entirely uncommon in the NFL, though it is more rare at the college level. Or maybe it was more rare.
“Is it surprising? No. Is it a little discouraging? Yeah,” Edsall said. “But hey, people that are running those organizations, if they deemed it best to make a move at that particular time, that’s their call.”
Edsall said the similarities to how both pro and college sports are run continue to grow, including how it pertains to midyear changes.
“As much as people maybe don’t want to realize it, college athletics is not so far removed from the professional ranks because you see that happening in the professional ranks,” Edsall said. “Now it’s [trickled] down to the collegiate ranks as well. A lot of times you do see that in the pros. Watch as the NFL season goes along and watch what happens when people have bye weeks. We’ll probably start to see some of the same things.”
EDSALL & THE ORIOLES
Edsall, a noted Baltimore Orioles fan, watched the end of Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday.
He probably wishes he hadn’t, since Baltimore lost 3-2 on a Raul Ibanez home run in the 12th inning. But he did offer a coach’s insight from afar on how a difficult choice can be made, such as when Ibanez pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning
“Broke my heart sitting there watching that,” Edsall said. “Couldn’t believe it. That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. Tell you what, give Girardi a lot of credit making that decision. There’s times you have to make decisions that might not be popular, but you make them. Like he said, he had a gut feeling and did something he thought was right. You can’t second-guess yourself as a manager or a coach or whatever. You make the decisions based on what you think gives your team the best opportunity to win.”
—- Patrick Stevens