The second day of Maryland's spring football practice was today, and head coach Ralph Friedgen is happy so far with the Terrapins' performance in non-contact drills.
"I'm pleased with our effort," he said. "It's good, there's a lot of learning. Not quite as good as yesterday, but the more you put in, the more effect you have. But the attitude is good, the enthusiasm is good."
Before the season, coach Friedgen emphasized speed as an area that they were working on improving, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The coach has been impressed with that so far, and pointed to a few particular players who have done well in the first two days of practice.
"Defensively, I've think we've got a little more team speed than what we've had in the past," he said. "Trenton Hughes had a very good day, maybe his best day since he's been here, two interceptions. [David] Mackall jumped out today, he doesn't really know what he's doing but he has some instincts for the ball. Defensive line wise, I thought Zach Kerr and [Joe] Vellano did some decent things. Our corners were a little ahead of our receivers on the press."
Friedgen pointed to the enhanced maturity on the defensive line as a sign of improvement to come for the Maryland defense.
"AJ [Francis] played quite a bit last year, Justin Anderson, as a true freshman, played quite a bit last year, Zach Kerr, he played probably over 100 plays," he said. "What the difference is, they were young last year but hadn't played. Now they've played, it's a world of a difference, just from a confidence standpoint. They're not going out there thinking ‘Whoa, what am I doing? Gee, I'm in a college game.' And those thoughts go on, trust me. Now what I'm hoping to do is to build their confidence and their belief in themselves so they'll have a kind of swagger about themselves."
The coach also talked about the performance so far of the three early enrollees on defense – Javarie Johnson, Lorne Goree, and David Mackall.
"They're a little lost right now, that's not for a lack of effort, they're just kind of running around with their heads cut off," he said. "And Mackall is a bigger, stronger kid than Lorne and Javarie, he kind of jumped out at us. But I'm not disappointed in the other two at all, they were getting ready to go to high school prom and now they're running around. Wait until you see them Saturday when people start hitting them."
Friedgen also said that this added experience for the early enrollees will only help their development as Terrapins.
"In the long run it will help them out," he said. "It's just this is always a tough time. It's always an interesting scenario to me how our guys reach out and try to take care of these kids, almost a nurturing effect. They're freshmen but they don't get treated like freshmen, when the other guys come back they'll make them get up and sing, but right now they're showing them where classes are. They seem to be happy, all of them."
Friedgen talked about trying to help his players relax at the beginning of spring and easing them in to game speed.
"We're going to try and take the mental part out of it and just play football," he said. "We'll see who can do that for us before adding that other dimension of making them think."
Practice continues this Saturday with goal line scrimmages.
Friedgen Impressed With Speed on Defense
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