News and Notes- Practice 8/24

News, Notes and Quotes from today's practice with Coach Friedgen.

After a scrimmage in which head coach Ralph Friedgen described play as sloppy and frustrating, the Terps put together a day of practice loaded that helped put yesterday behind them.

“Our effort was fine. Offensively, we just had too many penalties. When we did get something going, we couldn’t get points on the board,” Friedgen said.

And one person who helped lead the way was the quarterback, Jamarr Robinson. After completing nine passed for 102 yards with a score and an interception last evening, Friedgen said he was pleased with his team leader. However, that does not mean there’s no room for improvement.

“He hasn’t been running the ball as much as I’d like for him to do. Sometimes he forces it. [Offensive coordinator] James [Franklin] thinks he’s just trying to go through his reads,” Friedgen explained. “Other than that, I’m very pleased with his leadership. I’m very pleased with his reading of coverages for the most part. Every now and then he just throws it to the guy that’s covering. If he can take that out, he would be playing very good right now.”

Friedgen, who was very high on Zachariah Kerr yesterday, continued his praise of the defensive lineman, saying that he has handled the increased playing time well.

“It was his best scrimmage since he’s been here,” he said. Kerr played 53 plays in the scrimmage.

In addition to Kerr, Friedgen felt linebacker David Mackall really improved his play. Perhaps it was the change of position that was the key to his newfound success.

“David Mackall made some real strides yesterday,” he said. “I think Mike [linebacker] is a better position for him than Sam [linebacker]. He’s better in the box, and Don [Brown’s] using him to rush the passer.”

In the secondary, the team expects defensive back Cameron Chism to return soon. He participated in individual drills today, but Friedgen is playing it safe when it comes to the health of his starting corner.

“We’re not pushing him,” Friedgen said. “He told me he may go tomorrow. We really don’t want to rush him back.”

But as Wally Pip made it most famous, an injury allows other players to step in and shine. The injuries among the secondary, linebacking core and tight ends have allowed younger talent to get the attention of Friedgen.

“We’ve had some adversity with our tight ends and our linebackers and also with our corners, but it’s also been an opportunity for younger players,” Friedgen said.

“I think [Avery] Graham has gotten a lot of work. He had three pass breakups yesterday that were pretty good against good receivers. [Dexter] McDougal has really had a very good camp. Him and [Trenton] Hughes have really battled it out. He might have the slight edge at this point.”

As for tight ends, Friedgen acknowledged the lack of depth. He also acknowledged that Matt Furstenburgh and Dave Stinebaugh have earned their playing time, and will be the team’s two tight ends going into their matchup with Navy on Sept. 6.

“Fursternburg is playing the best he’s ever played. He had a touchdown yesterday and played very well. And then Dave Stinebaugh he really improved. He’s not a finished product yet, but he’s a lot further along than I thought he’d be.”

The other tight ends, Devonte Campbell and Lansford Watson, are both dealing with injuries. Campbell, who returned yesterday from a concussion, has an MCL strain. The team has yet to receive the MRI results, but he’s expected to be out two to four weeks.

Watson had surgery today to repair an ACL tears and old cartilage damage. Friedgen said the operation was absolutely necessary.

In response to a criticism that Friedgen pushes his players too hard, the coach explained that he has changed his methods a bit to adjust to the changing atmosphere in today’s game.

“I only know one way and I’ve done that for 40 years now,” Friedgen said. “To me, it’s been an easier camp than it usually is.”

Friedgen ran the team hard following the scrimmage yesterday, giving them “hard times” to beat. “And after 137 plays they all made the times,” Friedgen added.

The head coach also admitted that injuries are a reason for the change in practice. Because of the lack of depth at the tight end and fullback positions, Friedgen has changed up some of the drills he’s done in the past, as well as reduced the contact. “I can’t afford to get them hurt,” he said.

Also, the early game against Navy has changed the practice schedule. Friedgen said the team usually doesn’t begin game preparations until later this week. He also said that Navy’s triple-option offense is really mixing things up.

“How much we do against each other is really more of a speed-type thing than anything else. I try to get [defensive coordinator] Don [Brown] to simulate some of the pressures that Navy has. That makes it a little different preparation than in the past.”

But the new practice regimen is not worrying the head coach whatsoever. In fact, he’s been impressed with his players this year more than in years past.

“This team has been working hard. We’ve have one bad practice. I think we’re in pretty good shape, wherein the past I’ve always been concerned.”

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