Defense Way Ahead of Offense
One conclusion Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen was certain about after reviewing tape of Saturday’s 111-play Saturday scrimmage was that the defense is miles ahead of the offense entering the second week of camp.
Of the 14 sacks made by the defense, Friedgen said, 10 occurred on plays in which there were missed assignments. Senior center Phil Costa (knee) did not play in the scrimmage, which left an inexperienced line to deal with the blitzing scheme that first-year defensive coordinator Don Brown has employed.
“We don’t want our defense to get a false sense of security,” Friedgen said. “If no one blocks you, you have a pretty good chance to get to the quarterback. That’s because you have young kids and [Brown] is coming at them from all different angles, and with different personnel groups.”
Safety Kenny Tate, who coaches say could thrive in Brown’s defense because of his versatility, had five tackles, a sack and an interception in the scrimmage.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Tate said. “And it’s very confusing for the offense. Coach Brown has a thing about playing fast. If you’re not playing fast, he is a little upset.”
One of the things coaches wanted to see during camp was progress by sophomore quarterback Jamarr Robinson, who is expected to be second-string to senior Chris Turner.
In the team’s first scrimmage, Robinson completed 6 of 8 passes for 97 yards and threw one interception. Friedgen said that there have been times during camp when Robinson “really does some pretty special things” but added that consistency is paramount to Robinson continuing to develop.
“Sometimes I think he just loses focus,” Friedgen said. “When he is focused, he plays very, very well. He has a strong arm and he can make some tough throws. Then when he kind of gets out of it, you say, ‘Why are you throwing there?’ Sometimes he can’t tell you.”
Sophomore Mike Barbour continued to demonstrate why he holds a lead in the place kicking battle by making four of six kicks in the scrimmage, including a 47-yard field goal. Barbour’s only misses were from 45 and 40 yards.
Friedgen said Barbour was probably one more successful kick away from winning the competition over junior Nick Wallace and true freshman Nick Ferrara.
Friedgen said true freshman running back Caleb Porzel was expected to undergo an MRI on his left knee Monday. Friedgen said he believes Porzel suffered an MCL sprain in the scrimmage and that he should miss about a week of practice.
Friedgen said he moved sophomore Lamar Young up to first-team left guard, ahead of sophomore Maurice Hampton. And redshirt freshman Justin Lewis dropped to second-team right guard, behind sophomore Andrew Gonnella.
“They are all going to have to play,” Friedgen said.
Maryland will hold its second scrimmage Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
“Writers only get in if they buy a suite,” Friedgen said.
August 17, 2009; 2:52 PM ET
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