- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien had his best scrimmage to date on Saturday, coach Randy Edsall said earlier today on his weekly spring teleconference.
With two practices and a spring game remaining this week, Maryland is getting closer to developing its offensive identity under Edsall, and much of that can be attributed to O’Brien’s progress under first-year coordinator Gary Crowton. Edsall said Maryland has made significant progress installing the schemes this spring, and the staff has been able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the personnel.
So far, O’Brien has been one of the Terps’ biggest strengths.
“I just see him getting more comfortable with what we’re doing,” Edsall said. “I’m very comfortable with Danny from the standpoint that when you’re putting something new in, it’s not going to come overnight, but what I like to see and those very good players are the guys who get better with each practice, with each week, and you can see that progression taking shape with him. I think that’s going to continue.”
Edsall said O’Brien and the receivers are “more on the same page” now, and Kevin Dorsey, Ronnie Tyler and Kerry Boykins have been the top three targets. Tyler and Boykins shared time at slot receiver last season and combined for 23 receptions.The competition still remains within the group, though, heading into Saturday’s spring game.
The one position that is undisputed is O’Brien’s. He had a 7-3 record as a first-year starter in 2010, and despite not starting the first three games, his 22 touchdown passes were third in the country among freshmen and second in school history.
With so many new faces at quarterback throughout the ACC this year, it's been overshadowed that O'Brien's efficiency rating of 134.5 last year is the best in the conference among returning quarterbacks.
While this spring has been a transition for O’Brien in the new offense, he has been watching film on his own and asking the staff countless questions to learn the playbook. He has also acted as a second coach on the field, pointing out corrections to his teammates and leading by example.
“You explain it once to him and he gets it,” Edsall said. "... He grasps it, he understands it, and then when he gets into that situation the next time, there is no hesitation. He gets it done."
Odds 'n' ends:
Freshman receiver Nigel King has made some progress with the NCAA clearinghouse and is able to practice while his appeal works its way through the system, Edsall said.
Offensive tackle R.J. Dill is the only player expected to miss Saturday's spring game, but Edsall said tailback Gary Douglas tweaked his hamstring and didn’t practice all week. Tailback Jeremiah Wilson “took a shot on the leg” and might not practice tomorrow, Edsall said. Dorsey has a hip/groin strain that might hinder him this week.
Fullback Taylor Watson told Edsall he’s going to graduate this summer and won’t be on the team.
3dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
4dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney