Terps Spring Game Recap

Defense impresses in White team's comback to beat Red, 21-13.

COLLEGE PARK - Maryland held their annual Red-White spring football scrimmage today, pitting the Terps against their teammates in a matchup that will help determine playing time for next season.

The first-team offense for the Terps played on the Red team along with the second-team defense, and the first-team defense played with the second team offense on the White team. The other players were sprinkled between the two, and some even switched sides in the middle of the game.

On the first drive for the Red team, Terrapin quarterback Jamarr Robinson threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith, who beat Trenton Hughes deep on a “go” route. The second-team defense, led by middle linebacker Ryan Donohue, was able to shut down the second-team offense throughout most of the game, and it wasn't until the second half that the White team was able to reach the red zone.

Donohue had seven tackles and one pass break up, and his presence was felt on nearly ever play.

“I felt pretty good,” he said. “I felt like it was a nice cap-off to the spring, but it's all about the team. I think I definitely made a statement [to the coaches], they were a little worried about my speed, so I tried to lose some weight, and I got a little faster. I feel like I showed it today.”

“[Donohue played] much better,” defensive coordinator Don Brown said. “I thought he played faster. He's had an arm [injury], and I think that bothered him to some degree, and I think he responded very positively to that.”

On the first drive for the White team, one of the more remarkable plays of the scrimmage occurred. Quarterback Danny O'Brien attempted to throw a screen pass to wide receiver Tony Logan, but it bounced out of Logan's hands, off of Dexter McDougle's helmet, and in to the outstretched arms of safety Eric Franklin, who quickly dove for the ball before it hit the ground.

“They ran a quick screen out to the receiver,” Franklin said. “And then Dexter McDougle came up, hit the receiver, the ball hit off the back of his head, and I just came up and caught it. I've got long arms, so I thought I could get to it. I just want to come in and help wherever I can, be able to be a good backup, help however I can.”

Early in the third quarter, Danny O'Brien overthrew a pass deep that was intercepted by Travis Hawkins. Hawkins had a poor spring, but impressed the coaches today.

“[Hawkins] had big tackles,” coach Brown said. “He made big plays, and the previous scrimmage he made none. That's probably the guy I feel the best about. Hawkins, I would diagnose as having a poor scrimmage last week, and I think if you asked him he'd say he made the biggest jump from then to today.”

Later in the quarter, Smith was able to beat his defender yet again on a go route, flying by Cameron Chism for the first down. Chism was called for pass interference, but Smith was able to fight it off anyway for the catch.

“I feel I did alright,” Chism said. “My main goal coming in was to try to do better on the deep balls, besides two balls the whole spring on Torrey, one today, and one in one-on-ones with him, I think I accomplished that.”

On the second-to-last play of the first half, Robinson started scrambling after the pressure was put on by the defensive line, and floated it to Ronnie Tyler. Chism was there on the coverage, and absolutely demolished Tyler with a huge hit, and Tyler somehow managed to hold on to the ball.

“I felt good about it,” Chism said. “It was towards the end of the half, and I guess I snuck up on Ronnie and got a good chip shot. I didn't get him like I wanted, but I still got him.”

The White squad came out strong in the second half, as O'Brien marched them down the field for their first score, a touchdown pass to Kevin Dorsey. Dorsey beat the coverage by Avery Graham and then faked out Eric Franklin on his way to the end zone.

On the Red team's first drive of the second half, Robinson threw a deep ball that was deflected up in the air and intercepted by Kenny Tate. On the return, Tate lateraled it to Antwine Perez, who lateraled it to Chism, but it resulted in only a minimal gain. It was one of two interceptions for Tate in the game, who was very impressive in the game, as was the rest of the secondary for the Terps.

“There's a number of guys that I thought made major steps,” coach Brown said. “I think Tate and Perez have had very solid springs, and I think Eric Franklin has made the type of progress that we've expected. I think we're much faster, so when things that you don't want to happen, we can go [fix it]. This is the core of our team right here.”

Early enrollee linebacker David Mackall only played for one series, but his presence was felt. Mackall collected three tackles and was involved in two more, but left unhappy with his playing time.

“[The atmosphere is] alright,” he said. “It's how I expected it to be. I knew it was going to be fun, that was the biggest part of it. I don't think I got the playing time I should have got. I did well, I had four tackles in only one series.”

One of the more impressive parts of the Terps' defense was the play of the interior line. A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano were able to consistently beat their men on the inside, pressuring the quarterback and stopping the run.

“The thing about me and Joe together is that we complement each other,” Francis said. “Joe's real quick, he's real fast off the ball, he flies around, and I like to power up, so we complement each other on pass and run. So on plays where we need somebody to be physical and we need somebody to be quick and athletic, it works well together. During run plays, I usually hold up the block and then he can come in and make a play.”

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, however, D.J. Adams broke off a nine yard touchdown run, his first of two on the day, giving the White squad a lead that they would not relinquish. Chism was able to seal the game for the White team late in the fourth quarter, playing great defense on Adrian Cannon to force a fourth-and-two pass from C.J. Brown to go incomplete.

What was most impressive for the Terps' defense was their depth, especially on the second team. Coach Brown talked about this after the game.

“Our second defense, I thought, played much better this scrimmage than the last scrimmage,” he said. “I thought we tackled better, which is normal, you only get three opportunities to tackle, and now we're in our third scenario. We really showed our depth, there's a couple of guys who I feel much better about now.”

If the Terps can get that kind of production during the season from their defense, they will surely improve from last year's 2-10 campaign.

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