Randy Edsall and the Terps find 'great inspiration'
The first interception at Tuesday's practice in College Park drew a roar from his defensive teammates who were bunched together on the sidelines.
Freshman cornerback Will Likely read the eyes of quarterback Ricardo Young, jumping his route and picking off his pass near the far sideline.
The second was perhaps more dramatic, a ball tipped into the air after coming out of the hand of freshman QB Shane Cockerille, only to be intercepted, fumbled, and recovered again, all by the scrappy, 5-7 Likely.
"Will’s very competitive," head coach Randy Edsall told the media after practice. "Will plays with a ton of confidence and everyday he’s out here working to get better."
The Florida native separated himself on Tuesday, the only defensive player to make not just one but two noteworthy plays during live action.
But there's a problem. Too much depth.
It's a problem Edsall won't be complaining about, especially considering the other holes he has to fill because of players who have graduated at other positions, but it's a problem nonetheless.
"When you look at corner, we’ve got five guys who can play," he said. "We’ll just have to see how it continues to play out and where we might be able to fit him in, but he’s a very good football player.”
Which makes for this obvious statement of fact, with a bit of wordplay: Will Likely will likely have to fight for playing time if he wants to see the field during his freshman season in College Park.
Likely comes from a traditional hotbed of football talent, Belle Glade, Fla., ranked as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and the 17th best player at his position from the Class of 2013.
"I've been here since the spring, so you can say I have the advantage of knowing the playbook and things like that," Likely told CSN. "It's always a motivation that you always have to work and somebody is always working harder than you. You try to compete every day and bring your "A" game."
The secondary will rely on two cornerstones--Dexter McDougle and Jeremiah Johnson--two upperclassmen who will anchor what is proving to be the most solid defensive unit on the team.
"Jeremiah has been a great mentor for me when I first came here," Likely said. "He was one of the guys, he and Dex, they helped me out with the defense and let me know the wrongs and rights in the defense."
With a defensive line that is compensating for the loss of A.J. Francis and others, the secondary could be expected to be more of a security blanket if the pass rush isn't able to get to the quarterback.
"The DBs are the most experience on the team, so we don't feel that pressure," Likely said. "We're just ready for the season."