Just days before training camp began in early August, Maryland’s wide receiving corps appeared to be one of the deepest and most talented on the team -- if not in the conference.
Now, after just one game -- a 52-7 win over James Madison on Saturday -- the list of options looks much different for head coach Randy Edsall.
+ Jacquille Veii
Nigel King, with the ability to transfer without penalty because he had already graduated from Maryland, likely saw little room for playing time and transferred to Kansas to play immediately this season in Lawrence.
On the heels of news Friday that Levern Jacobs had been suspended for the season after violating the university’s Student Code of Conduct, Edsall announced Monday that speedy redshirt freshman Taivon Jacobs would miss the entire season with a knee injury.
So what happens now for Maryland?
Diggs and Long are still the centerpieces. Marcus Leak had two catches for 17 yards against James Madison as he reintegrates himself into the offense. After that, it gets significantly thinner.
No Jacobs and Jacobs means Jacquille Veii, shifted over from running back during training camp, should get more work in the slot. His hands still need tuning as a wide receiver, but the staff sees speed and is willing to work with it.
There are two larger questions here, though:
1) Was C.J. Brown’s inaccuracy in Week 1 a fluke?
Brown was just 11-of-24 passing on Saturday, which he personally called “unacceptable” after the game, and many of them were passes that he is expected to make. Missing open receivers is concerning, especially where neither he nor backup Caleb Rowe were sacked.
Which leads to the second major question.
2) How much will the running game be featured?
Running back Brandon Ross powered the offense when it hit a lull during Saturday’s game, reigniting it and helping to push Maryland to the 52 points it hung on the Dukes.
Brown rushed for three touchdowns off a mix of designed runs and improvisation when the pocket broke down. It’s feasible to think he could rush for 1,000 this season, but will it be out of necessity when the passing game is stalling or as a multidimensional complement to the air attack?
Edsall would not go into specifics during a conference call on Sunday about what he plans to do. Those comments came before an MRI Monday that showed the specific extent to which Jacobs was injured.
"We'll start talking about those things here later this afternoon after we get off the practice field," Edsall said. "See where we are from a depth standpoint and see what we want to do there and, again, we'll just evaluate it here a little later today and into tomorrow and into the week."
Maryland travels to Tampa, Fla., to face South Florida on Saturday.