COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- For forever and a day, the West Virginia game has been considered a 'barometer' game for Maryland. Win and the season goes well. Lose, well for the most part, go home.
That's how's it been more years than not for the border rivals, and this year may be no different.
Maryland is 2-0 heading into the Sept. 13 noon showdown with the 1-1 Mountaineers, who gave Alabama a run in the opener and who's 'Air Raid' offense is clicking on all cylinders now behind healthy senior quarterback Clint Trickett. The Terps have yet to hit on all their offensive cylinders, while Saturday will represent the biggest challenge to Brian Stewart's senior-laden Terps defense.
"They are playing well. They are a good football team and they are playing and executing at a high level," Edsall said during his Thursday fireside chat with beat reporters.
Some good news late this week was that Edsall welcomed back junior left guard Evan Mulrooney on Sept. 11 for his first practice since missing all but the first day of August camp with a viral infection and being hospitalized. Mulrooney looked his usual chipper self at the team house yesterday, and Edsall said he had not lost much weight. Mulrooney, who many figured would win the starting spot heading into camp, was cleared the day before and will be back in the game two-deep next week at Syracuse, Edsall said.
"He's the happiest guy on campus. He was excited and he was thrilled that he got cleared and was able to get back out there with his teammates and slop around as offensive linemen do. So he was all smiles this morning," Edsall said.
Edsall said Mulrooney had been doing some individual work on the side for the last week "but it will be good to have him back on the field, his personality and everything else. But he will still have to continue to get acclimated because he missed all that time. But he is a smart kid and he will catch up to it."
Edsall said it's big because now it gives the Terps three centers and they can put true freshman Brendan Moore back on the redshirt list. Moore had been in the depth and within range of playing this season had Mulrooney not come back. Edsall said both Mulrooney and Stephen Grommer can play both guard and center, and the time Mulrooney missed allowed the others to get more reps make them even deeper.
"Right now, it allows you to...you don't have to use Brendan Moore, we don't have to worry about him being the third center now," Edsall said.
Meanwhile, this week, Edsall named Kenny Goins (special teams), Ryan Doyle (offense) and Keith Bowers (defense) game captains for WVU, while the flag bearers will be Andrew Zeller (US) and Sean Davis (state).
Scout Team Players of the Week were WR Juwann Winfree (offense), DB J.T. Ventura (defense), and Tehuti Miles (special teams). Of Winfree, Edsall said of perhaps the next true freshman that may have to play if there is another injury this season:
"He's gotten better," Edsall said. "He's really progressing. He's made some catches out there and done things with the scout team and I like what he is doing."
Edsall said the biggest thing is Winfree has sat in on the game prep meetings for the first two weeks and learned the game plan as he continues to ramp up as a first-year talent.
"He is progressing nicely for a freshman," Edsall said.
Meanwhile, Edsall said converted freshman slot Will Ulmer, the former quarterback, is learning how to play the position, "and is giving you everything he's got and wants to learn, is eager to learn, and I am happy with what he's doing."
Edsall said Ulmer will redshirt unless something drastic happens.
As for the running back situation and depth, Edsall said all three will play, while they added some more ball security drills this week and the practice week went well.
"It's just a matter of guys paying attention to the little things and understanding situations," Edsall said.
He added that junior Brandon Ross showed no ill effects of last week's two fumbles at USF, "and he just knows whenever his opportunity arises, whenever that is or how many times it arises, he has to do a better job of hanging onto the ball," Edsall said.
Edsall also touched on two of his suspended players, junior receiver Levern Jacobs and sophomore linebacker Abner Logan, who have not lost focus through the adversity. Last week he named both scout team players of the week. Logan is up for appeal in mid-October and could return to play as the Terps hit the meat of their Big Ten schedule.
"I think the thing is it shows they are true team players, that they understand that if they are down there on scout team they should be down there working as hard as they were if they were running with the first or second team," Edsall said. "Not only improve their abilities, but also give a good look to the offense or the defense and making them better. So, I think it just shows a level of maturity and shows the commitment to being a good teammate."
Edsall said both receiver Taivon Jacobs (knee) and defensive back Nnamdi Egbuaba (labrum) came out of their surgeries last week well and have begun rehab.
All in all, Edsall repeated what he said earlier in the week about WVU and Saturday's showdown, which will be followed by two road games and may indeed be a barometer game for the Terps.
"Like I said on Tuesday, they are a really good football team. But what we need to do is worry about ourselves," Edsall said. "And go out and do the things that we have to do to get better. I don't worry about the other team. I worry about ourselves. I will let everybody else worry about everybody else. I respect every team that we play, and it's no different than West Virginia. I think they are well coached, I think they've got athletes, I think they are playing well. Again, I am worried about us, I am worried about making sure we do the things that we have to do to score points, prevent points, and play the field position game."
He said every week you have to prepare as if you are playing "the best team in the country," and he's not paying attention to what's going on with West Virginia or any revenge factor and what not.
"If you are more worried about what happened a year ago, or revenge and all those sorts of things....once the ball is kicked off you have to get back down to execution and fundamentals and techniques and playing hard and making big plays and all those sort of things," Edsall said.
WVU A 'Barometer' Game For Maryland
TerrapinTimes Top Stories
Carter As Competitive As EverCOLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Even in passing or in jest, don't mention to Terps junior linebacker Jermaine Carter, Jr., that fellow 'backer and upstart Shane Cockerille holds the lead in…
TTDave's Inside The ShellWelcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland-football recruiting roundup.
TerrapinTimesYesterday at 11:09 PM
Watch: Quick Feet For No. 22 OT/Terps CommitOwings Mills (Md.) Mc Donogh offensive tackle Jordan McNair, who is committed to Maryland, in action during his senior season.
Scout FootballYesterday at 12:40 PM
Watch: DeAndre Lane emerging as senior leaderThe Maryland native already has one more catch than he did all of last season.
TerrapinTimesYesterday at 11:30 AM