Freshman quarterback Perry Hills was named the starter for the season opener by Maryland head coach Randy Edsall Tuesday morning, Edsall said. Hills was one of three quarterbacks competing for the starting spot along with Caleb Rowe and receiver-turned-quarterback Devin Burns after former starting quarterback C.J. Brown's season-ending injury.
I met with all three guys this morning and pretty much after the scrimmage and practice yesterday, I wanted to be clear that Perry is the number one guy, the starter, Edsall said. Caleb's number two and Devin's number three. I just wanted our team to really understand who they're working with and get as many reps so they can all get comfortable.
Now that the Terps have a starter at quarterback, they will need to stay healthy for the season, something that has been hard for them thus far. Aside from Brown who is out for the season with a torn ACL and starting strong safety Matt Robinson who is out for three to four weeks with a shoulder injury, the Terps have some more players who are struggling with injuries, many of them defensive players, according to Edsall.
Defensive end Andre Monroe was competing for a starting role on the defensive line before a knee injury suffered during sprints ended his season. Keith Bowers, another defensive end who was competing for the starting position, is out for two to three weeks and fellow defensive end Isaiah Ross is listed as day-to-day. Defensive backs A.J Hendy and Isaac Goins will both be out for three to four weeks with an ankle injury and mononucleosis, respectively. Linebacker Kenny Tate also has an injury and will visit a doctor to evaluate the severity of his injury.
Offensive lineman Josh Cary is out for three to four weeks and walk-on quarterback Dustin Dailey is also out with a high ankle sprain. Running backs Brandon Ross and Albert Reid also suffered some minor injuries in practice Tuesday afternoon, but Edsall said they should be back relatively quickly. Kicker Nick Ferrara is also listed as day-to-day.
With all the injuries piling up, the Terps may start the season short of many strong players. Edsall said the team's mentality with all the injuries is that the players who are left have to be ready to compete, especially in the game of football where injuries are out of their control.
You get the guys behind them ready to play, Edsall said. I mean it's that saying that we have, everybody is really one or two plays away from playing and they have to make sure they're mentally and physically prepared to step up and play at any time based on injuries.
Edsall and the Terps' coaching staff have also made some position changes, moving defensive tackle A.J. Francis to end with Darius Kilgo at the nose tackle position. Freshman Roman Braglio has also been moved from linebacker to defensive end, a position that Edsall said the coaching staff envisioned Braglio ending up at.
Freshman safety Sean Davis will most likely start against William & Mary with Robinson unable to return in time for the season opener. Edsall likes what he's seen from the young defensive back but realizes that there is room for improvement.
I think he's done a good job, Edsall said. I think he's picked things up. Of course, there's a lot more things he's got to get better at and refine and all of those things, but he's a guy that goes hard, plays hard and the more reps he gets, the better he's going to be. Hey, he's the best guy and he's who we're going to go with. Now what we've got to do is get him ready.
The punting situation has still not been decided by the coaching staff, though Edsall did rule out Nick Ferrara from the competition. The Terps want Ferrara to stick to place kicking which would include kickoffs, field goals and extra point attempts, leaving Brad Craddock and Nathan Renfro to battle for the punter job.
That's still ongoing, Edsall said of the punting competition. That might go all the way to game time, until we decide who the guy's going to be.
The Terps will also be holding walk-on tryouts on Sept. 3 after the regular season opener. There are some positions the Terps will be looking to add depth to, but Edsall said he is just looking for players that can contribute.
We're always looking for linemen if we can find linemen, Edsall said. But really, anybody that we think might be able to come out and aid us and help us. Wide receivers, DBs are something we're looking for, but really, any position.
The next open practice session will be held on Friday, Aug. 24.