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After dealing with a hamstring injury for most of the spring, running back Jeremiah Wilson returned to the practice field this week and participated in his first scrimmage.
"For his first scrimmage," head coach Randy Edsall said, "I thought he had a pretty good day for himself."
Wilson rejoined a running back corps that has been so depleted this spring that Edsall had to convert defensive backs Kwabena Ofori and Desmond Haynes to assure some depth at the position, along with projected starter Davin Meggett and goal-like specialist D.J. Adams.
As Wilson returned, another Terp suffered an injury. R.J. Dill, who spent time at both tackle positions last season because of the myriad of injured offensive linemen, went down with a sprain knee. However, Edsall said he expects Dill will be fine.
In the secondary, Edsall implied it was no lock that incumbent cornerbacks Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes are locks for starting jobs. Right now, the coaching staff is still figuring out the best for that position.
There's really good competition, and guys are competing and putting pressure on the other guys.
Edsall went on to say that because his newly implemented defense contains multiple coverages which should allow for more personnel and opportunities for different players.
The team is waiting for sophomore Avery Graham to get back in the mix. Graham is sitting out of practice due to a shoulder injury, and missed time last season as well. Edsall also said the incoming freshman could factor into the competition. This year's recruiting class featured five defensive back recruits including Undray Clark, Makinton Dorleant, Lukas Foreman, Jeremiah Hendy Bowie and Michael Williams.
Because of injuries and missed practices on the offensive line, offensive guard Josh Cary seized his chance at playing time.
If you're not out there practicing you can't be as good as you want to be. It hinders the ability to make some progress that you'd like to make. It also opens a window of opportunity for some guys."
Edsall said Cary's play this past week was one that opened his eyes, which is good news for a team that has dealt with so many injuries along the offensive line recently.
"[Cary] was taking advantage of his opportunities because of the fact that some guys there at his position weren't out there on Tuesday and Thursday and he had a chance to step in with the ones.
One of the biggest storylines of the week was the return of Cliff Tucker to the football field. After spending four seasons being coached by Gary Williams, Tucker made progress in the guard-to-receiver transition."
"You can see that he's been away from it for four years," said Edsall.
Tucker played between 25 and 30 snaps during Saturday's scrimmage.
The Big Picture
Following the scrimmage Saturday, Edsall admitted the offensive had the upper hand. However, the first-year head coach is still unsatisfied with the progress the team has made, considering all of the injuries and the new offensive and defensive schemes.
"The spring is never going to meet the expectations that I'm looking for," Edsall said. "Spring is a process. It's not the finished product that you're looking for."
Progress made each week and consistency are two of the objective he would like the team to reach this spring. The key: getting back to the basics, offering eye discipline as the key. Essentially, players need to know where they belong, better read their keys and maintain proper gap responsibilities.
"It's just a matter of guys just going out and doing their job. Instead of trying to make a play just do your job. Offensive and defense," Edsall said, "it's set up from a standpoint of 11 guys doing their job, and if the 11 guys do their job a lot of different guys can end up making a play."