COLLEGE PARK, Md - The Maryland football team put the pads on for the first time in preseason camp Wednesday as the Terps continued to fine-tune all aspects of their game in preparation for their season opener at James Madison at the on-campus practice facility.
The offense made big plays throughout the session, with Taivon Jacobs, Stefon Diggs and Amba Etta-Tawo all catching passes down the field from quarterbacks C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe.
Deon Long, another member of the Maryland receiving corps with big play ability, is returning to action this week after missing the final six games of the 2013 season with a leg injury. Three days into practice, Long is excited about the progress he has made to this point.
“You have to start from square one,” Long said. “All the progress you put in before your injury is sort of wiped out. It’s a clean slate. You’ve got to have the mental toughness to build your strength back up.”
Long competed hard against a defensive unit that has impressed head coach Randy Edsall in the first three days of camp.
“The thing I like about the defense is their camaraderie,” Edsall said. “I like the leadership that they’re bringing to the practice field in the first two days. It’s not just one or two guys. It’s everybody. Everybody is very enthusiastic and holding people more accountable.”
One of those leaders is defensive lineman Andre Monroe. The senior, who tallied a team-high 9.5 sacks last season, is looking to build off an impressive junior campaign.
“I have desire. I learned at any early age that this game is a lot about desire. Then I just use the knowledge and play with instincts, which I think a lot of players overlook. That can take an average player and make them a great player.”
Monroe and his defensive teammates are not the only ones who expect big things.
“The defense is capable of anything,” Long said. “The sky is the limit.”