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Around the ACC: Terps start practice

8/11/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Good morning, ACC fans. I'm in Tallahassee, and getting ready to head out to FSU practice, but first I wanted to catch you up on a few Monday practice reports from around the league:

MARYLAND

The Terps started practice on Monday, and coach Ralph Friedgen is a shell of his former self after losing more than 100 pounds. Here are a few tidbits from Monday's practice, as reported by the sports information office:

    • Two-year starter Chris Turner and Jamarr Robinson were the lone quarterbacks on the roster in the spring, but they have been joined by a pair of talented true freshmen in C.J. Brown and Danny O'Brien.

      "I looked at the young quarterbacks and they did pretty good for the first day," Friedgen said. "We put a lot of stuff in and they had the extra meeting today. I thought Chris was very sharp. I though Jamarr showed some signs of improving. I was impressed with the quickness of [Caleb] Porzel, He is a quick little kid. We have to get him and D.J. Adams in on Saturday [for the scrimmage]. I want to see what they can do."

      • Practice Tidbits: Junior WR Adrian Cannon made a number of impressive catches during individual drills, including a one-handed grab along the sidelines. ... During one of the 7-on-7 drills, O'Brien went 6-for-6, including a long completion to Quintin McCree. O'Brien and McCree also connected again in 11-on-11s on a long completion. ... Running back Gary Douglas redshirted last season as a true freshman, but was impressive during fall practice. Douglas continued to show impressive athleticism. He had good runs after the catch Monday and showed some elusiveness.

      • Return Game: Torrey Smith, who set an ACC record for kickoff return yards last season, is penciled in as the primary kickoff return man, but the Terps are in search of a new punt returner with the departure of three-year starter Danny Oquendo. Sophomore Tony Logan, who handled the job in the Humanitarian Bowl, is listed No.1 on the depth chart. Anthony Wiseman and Kenny Tate are backups for new special teams coordinator Charles Bankins heading into the preseason, but Porzel and Travis Hawkins also fielded punts during individual drills.

      • Switching Lines: True freshman Cody Blue, who enrolled in January and participated in spring drills, has moved from the defensive line to the offensive line. Blue was a backup at defensive end, but will slide in at tackle. "Cody has the height and I think he's going to get a lot bigger," Friedgen said. "It's going to take him time to learn it, and we'll see how he does. If he doesn't adapt, we can always move him back to defense. I think this gives him the best chance of playing."

      WAKE FOREST

      Wake Forest's third preseason football practice of the season marked the first time the squad practiced with shoulder pads. The first two practices were in jerseys, shorts and helmets. Adding the shoulder pads made for a crisper practice, according to head coach Jim Grobe.

      And from the players' perspective, the lack of sprints following practice was a big relief.

      "Tomorrow's the last day of [Summer II] exams and we've got guys still doing papers and still studying for exams," said Grobe. "We had a pretty good practice tonight. We're a pretty worn out group anyways. I figured if I ran them tonight, I might make them too tired to study and I didn't want to do that."

      Adding shoulder pads made Monday night's practice more interesting for both the coaches and the players.

      "It was more fun tonight," said Grobe. "The first couple of days in shorts are good to install stuff but everything's mushy when you're trying to run plays and it doesn't look crisp. Tonight, with the shoulder pads on, we had some good crisp work against each other."

      One of the highlights was an offense vs. defense pass-rush session.

      "Some of the young guys found out what it's like to rush against Chris DeGeare and some of the big offensive linemen," laughed Grobe. "That was fun."

      DeGeare, Wake Forest's 6-foot-4, 335-pound senior offensive tackle, is one of the top linemen on the squad.

      "I think we had better team periods, just crisper getting off blocks and that kind of stuff," said Grobe. "I think the kids had fun tonight. It's always good when you have a good work night and have fun doing it.

      "We're still really sloppy. We've got real good energy, guys bouncing around and I'm sure that's going to end here pretty soon. They're going to get tired. But right now we have good enthusiasm. We had some collisions tonight but guys are taking care of each other pretty good. I think the energy is exciting. We're dropping too many balls and missing blocks and missing assignments on defense and things like that. It's not because of a lack of trying so that's encouraging. I like the chemistry of this football team. These guys respect each other. We've had three really good practices right now."

      MIAMI

      • After opening camp with two practices in helmets and shorts, Miami practiced in shells for the first time Monday morning at the Greentree Practice Fields.

      • For the third straight morning, the heat index stayed consistently in the upper 90'\s as the Canes worked out for just over two hours.

      • Sophomore linebacker Ramon Buchanan intercepted a pass deflected by senior safety Randy Phillips in 7-on-7 action.

      • Senior tight end Jimmy Graham and junior wide receiver Leonard Hankerson each made big catches in 7-on-7 drills.

      • Defensive linemen Allen Bailey and Marcus Forston each recorded a sack in 9-on-9 drills.

      • Sophomore wide receiver Thearon Collier and senior tight end Richard Gordon each made catches of 15-plus yards in 9-on-9 play.

      • Some 11-on-11 highlights included junior safety JoJo Nicolas breaking up a pass intended for Jimmy Graham, senior running back Javarris James breaking through for a big yard gain and senior defensive back Sam Shields forcing a fumble.

      DUKE

      Duke battled through a blistering heat wave on Monday morning, working out at the Brooks Practice Facility for over two hours.

      "It's always a challenge this time of year," coach David Cutcliffe said following the session. "It's been a mild summer, and our guys have worked very hard.
      I think we're in extremely good condition. As tough as it sounds, we need some of this right now. If we hit September games, and we're going to get this 100-degree heat, then to be able to play four quarters we need a little bit of this right now. What you have to be careful of is to not deplete your team to where it affects tomorrow. We've got to push them up to a point and then obviously not to the point where they can't recover, and our medical staff does a great job of watching those kids."

      As preseason camp marches on, the coaching staff will continue to evaluate the freshmen on the roster to determine which will earn immediate playing time.

      "I've already started that process; I did a long evaluation yesterday," Cutcliffe noted. "I just sat by myself in the staff room, looking at the depth at every position, and looking at the players, then looking at our practice tape just to get an idea. The hard part is we're installing, and we're putting an enormous amount of offense and defense on them and sometimes a confused player will look like a non-motivated player. So we're jumping back and forth between getting our young people evaluated, and then getting our system in place."