Terps prepare for Clemson
COLLEGE PARK—The manner in which Randy Edsall has carried himself during weekly media availability on Tuesday afternoons has not changed.
His arms are crossed as he is seated and leaning on the table in front of him at Gossett Team House, cool, calm, and collected as he’s peppered with questions.
It didn’t change after the team’s best cornerback, Dexter McDougle, was ruled out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a shoulder injury. It didn’t change when quarterback C.J. Brown was concussed by a vicious hit to the chest against Florida State.
It didn’t change when starting linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil was ruled out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
Even now, when what could have been the striking blow had been levied Saturday with news that star receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs had both broken their legs in some sort of morbid coincidence, Edsall remained the same.
“It’s very simple…You don’t focus on the past. You don’t look in the rearview,” Edsall said of overcoming the injuries. “People that live in the past never get ahead. That’s not who we are as a program.”
Maryland has now lost four starters to season-ending injuries, two on offense and two on defense, plus lingering injuries to other defensive starters including linebacker L.A. Goree and safety Anthony Nixon.
And on the horizon for Saturday’s homecoming game is not some winless cupcake that is put on the schedule to make for an easy win in front of a packed house. Waiting for the Terrapins is No. 9 Clemson and early season Heisman contender, senior quarterback Tajh Boyd.
“When you take a look at Tajh Boyd, his numbers speak for himself,” Edsall said. “He’s got an outstanding running back, Roderick McDowell. He’s has a bunch of really good receivers like, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant and Adam Humphries...This is why you come out and play here; to go out and meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
Not only is Maryland facing a high-powered Tiger offense on Saturday, but the rash of injuries on the offensive side of the ball has forced Edsall and his staff to shuffle the cards at wide receiver.
As of now, no Maryland player who is listed as a stand-alone starter at that position for Saturday’s game vs. Clemson was a starter in Week 1 against Florida International.
Amba Etta-Tawo and Levern Jacobs are listed as starters, while Malcolm Culmer and Nigel King are listed as co-starters at the third receiver spot.
“It was tough seeing those guys go down, especially because I know they wanted to help..our team through the season and help us complete our goals,” said Jacobs of Diggs and Long on Tuesday.
“I’m ready. I’ve been waiting for my chance to step up and do what I have to do to contribute for this team.”
Maryland is still figuring out its quarterback situation for Saturday, as well, listing C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe as co-starters at the position to begin the week.
Both Edsall and Brown have maintained that the move is not related to the concussion Brown suffered in the team’s loss to Florida State, but did not rule out the possibility of another injury affecting his ability to play.
“Going into the game [against Wake Forest], I felt really good,” Brown said Tuesday. “We’ll go out this week like any other week. I’m still getting treatment on a lot of things and trying to take care of my body...Right now I feel comfortable with my body. I feel good.”