Things I’ll be watching for during Maryland’s season-opening football game against William & Mary at Byrd Stadium on Sept. 1.
*Stefon Diggs’ debut. Will he follow the Torrey Smith model and make his mark initially more as a kick returner than a receiver? Remember that Smith caught only 24 passes in his first season but averaged 25.9 yards on kickoffs, where his talents were immediately evident.
*The new FieldTurf. Does it have that new car smell?
*The uniforms. Does Maryland come out right away with those funky “Maryland Pride” uniforms, or does it keep them in reserve?
Remember that the Byrd Stadium end zones will also feature a Pride-like design. Imagine how it will look if a player wearing “Pride” crosses into a “Pride” end zone. I’m worried about my Samsung flat screen being up to the task of coping with such a splash of color all at once. Televisions everywhere might just retreat into test patterns.
A few other thoughts:
*Sure, there’s lots of buzz about Maryland basketball’s recruiting class. Shaquille Cleare? Jake Layman? What’s not to like?
But this will be an inexperienced bunch. So I think a guy who has a large potential role is transfer Logan Aronhalt, a two-time co-captain at Albany. The Terps can sure use his leadership.
*Remember how Maryland football reversed course in February after initially limiting the transfer options of quarterback Danny O’Brien? The school originally excluded not only ACC opponents and upcoming nonconference foes from O’Brien’s consideration, but also Vanderbilt.
At the time, Maryland's thinking was that it didn't want Vanderbilt to benefit if the school made improper contacts with O’Brien. Some criticized Maryland for keeping too tight a grip on its players, and the school ultimately relaxed its grip on the player and wished him the best.
I give Maryland credit for reconsidering its initial position. But I wonder sometimes about the wording of the news release announcing the departure of the quarterback in the first place. Head coach Randy Edsall said in the February release: “Danny told me that he's not committed to our program, that he's not 'all in.' “
It makes sense that O’Brien, who left for Wisconsin, wouldn’t be all in at that moment. After all, he had made the decision to leave.
O’Brien’s people would quibble with any suggestion, though, that he wasn’t entirely committed to the program while he was in College Park. He sure seemed to be. I’ll give Maryland the benefit of the doubt and assume that it wasn’t intending to question the quarterback’s earlier commitment or work ethic.