Saturday, April 30, 2011,8:31 p.m.UPDATED 11:49 p.m.By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comWith the completion of Saturday's Red-White football game, the first full spring practice session under new Maryland football coach Randy Edsall is now in the books. During 14 grueling practices, the coaches learned what the players brought to the table and imparted their plan upon them while the players had time to size up the new head honcho and study the fresh playbook.
The 15th designated practice was the "reward," a game dominated by the watered-down offense against a defense with its hands - or at least blitzes - tied behind its back.
The Danny O'Brien led Red team defeated the White squad 35-7 before asparse crowd at Byrd Stadium. Receiver Ronnie Tyler caught both of O'Brien'stouchdown passes andAnthony Green returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown in the win.
"I thought we made good progress throughout the spring," Edsall said. "We still have a lot of work to do. But I thought the overall attitude and intensity was good and the players understand what we're looking for."
The Red side consisted of the the Terrapins first-team offense and defensive reserves, while the defensive starters and offensive backups played for the White squad. Despite playing with a limited arsenal of plays, O'Brien quarterbacked his side to 21 points in the first quarter and completed 16-of-23 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Both passing scores went to wide receiver Ronnie Tyler, who finished with three catches for 99 yards. Running back Davin Meggett finished with 12 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. His backfield partner, the power packed D.J. Adams also found the end zone and rushed 13 times for 56 yards.
"We did a great job of executing the plays," said Tyler, who burned the secondary for a 65-yard score on the play from scrimmage. "Those are the types of plays that we need to execute in games to be successful."
Playing in their base 4-3 format allowed for few defensive highlights besides Green's pick-sixin the second quarter off a throw from C.J. Brown that put the the Red squad up 28-0.
Senior linebacker Kenny Tate, who is making the transition from the secondary, tied senior corner Cameron Chism with 11 tackles
The Terrapins return 13 starters from last season's 9-4 team, but the first-year coach has talked throughout the spring about having open competitions for roles throughout the lineup. Noarea is that more evident than at wide receiver, a unit Edsall deemed "inconsistent" throughout the spring.
Last season Torrey Smith, who was drafted in the second round by the Baltimore Ravens in the just completed NFL Draft, and Adrian Cannon led the way. Both of those targets have moved on, leaving the position without a go-to target for O'Brien, the reigning ACC Rookie of theYear.
Wide receivers Kevin Dorsey and Quintin McCree, whose 16 receptions from last season tops the returning options, are also battling for time. They each finished with four receptions on Saturday, totaling 32 and 25 yards respectively and junior Kerry Boykins caught two passes.Promising freshman Devin Burns and Nigel King add additional depth to the unsettled group.
"Everyone saw what (Ronnie) can do today," O"Brien said. "Those three (and Boykins), and if the young guys can feed off of them, we are going to be very deep at receiver.
Another intriguing player to watch is Cliff Tucker, who is making the transition from the basketball court to wide receiver. After playing four years of hoops under Gary Williams, the Texas native who grew up with football in his blood, is trying his hand at catching the pigskin on the college level. Tucker, who started for the White team, caught one pass for five yards on Saturday before leaving in the first half after tweaking his ankle on the play.
"Four years, never got hurt in basketball." said Tucker, who intends to concentrate on football during the summer and be on the team come fall. "The first spring here, (hurt).
The first-team offense was beyond clicking in the first quarter, racking up touchdowns on it's initial three possessions, starting with O'Brien's quick strike pass to down the left side to Tyler, who found space behind broken coverage.
"It was a play action pass and the safeties bit," said Tyler. I was wide open so I can't take a lot of credit for it. Danny (O'Brien) threw a great ball and I just had to catch it."On the next drive, O'Brien missed on his first two throws, but then reeled off five straight completions in the 11-play, 78-yard drive. Kerry Boykins caught passes of 32 and 5 yards on the drive, the latter setting up a two-yard touchdown run up the middle by running back D.J. Adams.
After stopping the White team on four downs at midfield, it only took another five plays to move 50 yards, 42 coming on the legs of Davin Meggett. The senior runner had carries of 20, 7 and 15 yards with the final tote resulting in a touchdown after he moved quickly up the middle of the defense and darted right into open field.
The first-team bogged down after that, failing to put up points until midway through the fourth quarter when O'Brien again threw to Tyler down the left sideline. This time the pass was behind the open target and the 5-foot-9 Tyler reached out with one hand for the catch and his momentum carried him the final few yards to make 35-7.