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Maryland, Edsall have healthy outlook for 2013

August 5, 2013

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Coach Randy Edsall and the Maryland football team enter preseason practice with a healthy optimism about 2013.

They can only hope it lasts.

A catastrophic run of quarterback injuries derailed a promising 4-2 start last season; the Terrapins finished 4-8. Projected starter C.J. Brown was lost for the year in preseason practice, which seemed to set the tone for 2012. Three subsequent quarterbacks were injured as the season went on, forcing Edsall to use freshman linebacker Shawn Petty behind center for the last four games.

“It was unheard of,” Brown said. “It was just a crazy series of unfortunate events. It will never happen again. Game by game, you were praying that nothing else would happen, but it did.”

Edsall, beginning his third season at Maryland, wants to leave that nightmare behind and look ahead as well. Maryland won just six games in his first two seasons, although injuries played a big part in the lack of success both years.

“I feel really good about the focus and the attitude of this team this year,” he said. “I think we have a chance to be a really good football team this year. People believe in what’s going on. I see a group of guys who are very passionate about what they’re doing. They’re excited about what this season can bring.”

The situation at quarterback should certainly be less chaotic.

Brown is healthy and ready to go and is the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback despite missing last season. He played in 10 games and started five as a freshman and had won the starting job by the end of 2011. He threw for seven touchdowns that season as a sophomore and ran for five more.

“I’m eager to get back out there with the guys and put everything else in the past,” Brown said

At least this time around, the backup quarterbacks will have some experience. Sophomores Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe were thrown into the fray because of injuries and combined to start eight times last season. Both — like Brown — suffered torn knee ligaments that ended their seasons.

No matter who’s playing quarterback this year, that job figures to much easier with the return of big-play receiver/return man Stefon Diggs. Diggs caught 54 passes for 848 yards last season as a true freshman.

“He’s got the ability to make big plays every time he touches the ball,” Edsall said.

Brown, Diggs and the rest of the Terrapins want to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference on a high note in their final season in the league. After 60 years as a charter member of the ACC, the school moves to the Big Ten for 2014.

“We want to go out the right way, we want to represent the university well,” Brown said. “Knowing in the back of your mind it is the last year (in the ACC) adds a little something extra.”

Maryland opens its season at home against Florida International on August 31.

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