Injuries are part of the game and it's unfortunate, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said. It really is. It's unfortunate. I think there are some guys that have the opportunity now to step up and you see some good things out of them and you just get everyone to believe and understand that, hey, they got to be ready to go because in one play, they could be in there. That's why you practice and why the guys have to practice hard all the time so they're prepared when their name is called.
One of the biggest stories during training camp was the loss of starting quarterback C.J. Brown who suffered a torn ACL when making a routine cut during a non-contact drill. Brown's absence leaves many questions about the Terps' hopes this season with the offense in the hands of true freshman quarterback Perry Hills. Since Brown went down, Hills has been practicing with the first team offense and had his position as the new starting quarterback announced by Edsall earlier this week.
I just see a guy that's out here continually getting better and continually handling himself in the right way and learning the game plan and going out and executing, Edsall said of Hills. I'm excited to watch him and everybody get playing, because again, there's been some exciting things that have happened here during training camp and a lot of times when you have that youth combined with the experience we have in those seniors, that's a good blend. Sometimes youth is a good thing because they don't want to worry about anything.
Senior linebacker Kenny Tate was injured earlier in camp as well and team officials reported that Tate would have to miss about three to four weeks with a left knee injury. In his place, sophomore linebacker Alex Twine practiced with the first team defense on Friday. Twine is a very capable backup but the injury to Tate is disappointing as he missed most of last season with an injury to his other knee.
Of course he's disappointed because he's not out here practicing, Edsall said of Tate. He's got to miss a couple of games, but again, he's been through this before and it's just one of those issues he had no control over and just got to deal with it and he is. He's been in good spirits, but like I said, he's disappointed. He's a competitor. He wants to play.
Injuries to defensive backs Matt Robinson and A.J. Hendy leave the secondary very lacking in depth. The secondary was already a concern coming into the season and the Terps will now start the season with the secondary in the hands of a much younger group of players. Edsall, however, is not fazed by the apparent lack of depth at the position.
I'm not concerned because those are the guys that we've determined have to play, Edsall said. We got to get them ready and they've got to get themselves ready. We'll show them how to do it, we'll tell them what they have to do, but they got to go out and do it.
The running back position has been interesting to watch during camp, but injuries have hampered the competition as well, with redshirt freshman Brandon Ross missing the past few practices with a hamstring problem. Ross was Edsall's favorite in camp until the injury sidelined him for a couple of days. Edsall said the competition for the starting tailback spot is between Ross, sophomore Justus Pickett, freshman Wes Brown and freshman Albert Reid.
I think it's very hard to get four guys playing time in there, Edsall said. I think that you probably see three in terms of going in there, but again, we've got some guys that are really nicked up a little bit.
The Terps open the regular season at home in Byrd Stadium against the William & Mary Tribe on Sept. 1 at 3 p.m.