Terps notes on Andrew Isaacs, Wes Brown and freshman WRs

  • Running back Wes Brown leaps to gain another yard in practice.
Running back Wes Brown leaps to gain another yard in practice. (Al Drago / Baltimore Sun )
September 11, 2014|By Matt Zenitz | Baltimore Sun Media Group

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland sophomore tight end Andrew Isaacs keeps hearing the same thing from Terps coaches.

“I feel like for the most part I know what I’m doing and I’m getting it done, and that’s what my coaches keep telling me,” Isaacs said.

Isaacs has not been a factor as pass-catcher. Quarterback C.J. Brown has not even thrown a pass in Isaacs’ direction through Maryland’s first two games. But offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said Isaacs continues to progress in all facets of his game, and he said the wide receiver could become more of a factor in the passing game as the season goes on.

“The old adage in coaching is that you do what your players allow to do,” Locksley said. “And as they develop, you put more on their plate, and Andrew is coming along just as we would have expected.”

Even without any catches, Isaacs has played around 45 snaps in each of Maryland’s first two games and has helped the Terps run for an average of 200 yards per game while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

But Isaacs’ skills as a pass-catcher were a primary reason he was rated as a four-star prospect coming out of high school.

Isaacs flashed some of that pass-catching ability during preseason practice, and he is looking forward to getting some opportunities during a game.

“Right now, that role has been blocking, being an underneath pass-catcher for us when opportunities arise,” Locksley said. “He hasn’t had a lot of times where he’s had the touches. But being out there and doing his job, Andrew’s done that. I see him continuing to grow.”

Wes Brown doing well

Locksley and coach Randy Edsall have both declined to say which running back will start for Maryland against West Virginia Saturday.

However, Locksley was complimentary of sophomore Wes Brown.

Brown handled the majority of the workload vs. South Florida last week after Brandon Ross’ second fumble of the game and third of the season.

Brown finished with 61 yards on 13 carries, an average of 4.7 yards per carry.

Through two games, Brown, who is back after being suspended last year, leads the Terps with 142 yards and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

“Obviously with Wes, his ball-carrying skill set, when you play loaded boxes the disadvantage is that there will be some unblocked guys that the running back is responsible for," Locksley said. "Wes has the physical attributes as a runner that when that safety is unblocked and down low … he's shown the last couple of weeks that he can win that battle quite a bit with his physicality. He’s not necessarily going to be a guy who is going to try to make you miss.

“But because of how he runs with good pad level, how explosive he is and powerful he is, they know they have to gang tackle him. Very rarely do you see one guy bring him down. I still think he’s working himself back. But we’re in Game 3 and ... you do start to see some of the rust kind of go off of him.”

Brown still has to cut down on mental mistakes, according to coaches. But he could see a sizable workload against West Virginia considering Ross' issues holding onto the football.

Winfree ready if called upon

Ideally, Edsall will be able to redshirt freshman wide receivers Juwann Winfree and Will Ulmer.

But Locksley said the Terps are confident in Winfree in particular if Maryland is forced to use him.

The Terps began preseason practice deep at wide receiver. However, Winfree is now likely just one injury away from being a member of the Terps’ two-deep at outside receiver after Maryland lost Taivon Jacobs to a season-ending knee injury and Levern Jacobs to a season-long suspension.

“Juwann has been a guy that has been right on the cusp because of the injuries we’ve had of a guy that travels, a guy who is in meetings that’s right there one injury away from possibly being on the field, so that means we’ve been pretty happy with his development,” Locksley said. “Fortunately for us, we have depth at that position that I think allows us that he doesn’t have to go out there. But his development … he’s picked things up probably a little faster than I thought he would, and I think he’s right there where he needs to be if called upon.”

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