After learning that the Maryland football program will lose three scholarships for the upcoming season because of their Academic Progress Rate (APR) dipping below the NCAA minimum, first-year Terps coach Randy Edsall has worked to put a system in place to rectify the problem and prevent any future failings.
"Academics is going to be something that's very, very important," Edsall said in conference call with reporters Monday. "I feel good about the things that we're putting into place to allow our young men to be successful in the classroom. They understand they're going to be held to a high standard in everything they do."
During the season, Edsall said the players will get Mondays off, giving them the option of taking labs and meeting with professors during their regular office hours. There's also new personnel in place to keep the players on track academically, including Michael Harris, who was recently hired as an assistant athletic director in charge of academics for the football team.
While Edsall believes the new system will improve the academic situation, this year's penalties are something the Terps will have to work around.
"We'll be compliant with the 82 [scholarships] for August," Edsall said. "We have to play the cards we were dealt. A lot of people were unaware of it, but we'll deal."
Running backs banged up
Running backs Jeremiah Wilson and Gary Douglas tweaked their hamstrings early in spring practice, leaving Edsall with just two healthy scholarship players at the position in Davin Meggett and D.J. Adams.
Edsall liked what he saw from Meggett and Adams last week, but walk-on defensive backs Kwabena Ofori and Desmond Haynes were moved to running back to provide depth.
Fullback Taylor Watson has missed the past two practices. His absence seemed to puzzle Edsall because the apparent injury took place during a practice without pads.
"Hopefully he can get out there because again, there's competition there between Haroon [Brown] and Rahsaan [Moore]," Edsall said. "So if he wants to get in the mix, I know there's injuries, but this spring, the guys that are out there competing are the guys that are going to be able to play in the fall by being out there and being healthy."
Rebuilding the receiving corps
The loss of wide receivers Torrey Smith, Adrian Cannon, LaQuan Williams and Emani Lee-Odai to graduation means that new faces will have to emerge as targets for quarterback Danny O'Brien.
Edsall noted that he's been impressed by Kevin Dorsey, called Kerry Boykins "very steady," and said that converted quarterback Devin Burns and true freshman Tyrek Cheeseboro have the talent to succeed.
"It's just repetitions that they need to get a little more familiar," Edsall said. "To make any kind of evaluation after three days would just be unfair."
Nigel King — who graduated high school early and enrolled in January — is awaiting NCAA clearance, a matter Edsall hopes will be resolved this week.
End zone: Edsall said he has been pleased with Kenny Tate (linebacker) and David Mackall (defensive end) at their new positions. "I think they're right in the exact spots for their abilities and for what we want to do schematically on defense, and to get our best 11 players on the field," Edsall said. … Nick Ferrara and Michael Tart are each handling punting and place-kicking duties. Edsall expects freshman Nate Renfro to join the competition in fall camp.