Terps’ young backups learn­ing jobs on the field

Walk-on Davis start­ing at cor­ner with Jack­son out; fresh­men gain ex­pe­ri­ence

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Don Markus

COL­LEGE PARK — RaVon Davis started spring prac­tice at Mary­land as a walk-on af­ter spend­ing last sea­son at a ju­nior col­lege in Mis­sis­sippi, worked his way up to sec­ond string, earned a schol­ar­ship dur­ing pre­sea­son camp and found him­self start­ing at cor­ner­back in Satur­day’s sea­son opener against Howard.

An undis­closed “aca­demic mat­ter” kept an­other sopho­more trans­fer, JC Jack­son, on the side­line dur­ing a 52-13 win at Mary­land Sta­dium and could keep him off the field when the Terps play Florida In­ter­na­tional in Mi­ami on Fri­day night.

As of Tues­day, Jack­son’s sta­tus was un­changed. The like­li­hood is that Davis, who grew up in Fort Wash­ing­ton, will make his sec­ond start, with true fresh­man Fri­day, 7:30 p.m. TV: CBS Sports Net­work Ra­dio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Line: Mary­land by 101⁄ Tino El­lis, also a backup wide re­ceiver, play­ing behind him.

Davis “went from a guy that we didn’t even know his name to start­ing at cor­ner for us,” coach DJ Durkin said. “That tells you a lot about his abil­ity, but more than that, how he’s worked and what he’s done.”

Davis and the oth­ers who got their first chance to play col­lege foot­ball Satur­day — in­clud­ing more than a dozen fresh­men — will help give Mary­land depth as the sea­son un­folds. It also gave Durkin and his as­sis­tants what the new coach called “teach­able mo­ments” with his rel­a­tively young team.

As well as Davis played in an emer­gency start, he and some of the other new­com­ers

also showed their in­ex­pe­ri­ence at times.

The Terps built a 28-0 lead early in the sec­ond quar­ter by scor­ing seem­ingly at will, and the de­fense forced five straight three­and-outs to start the game. But af­ter a 35-0 half­time lead grew to 45-0 early in the fourth quar­ter, the Terps sur­ren­dered two touch­downs in the fi­nal 10 minutes. The let­down came against a Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion team that did not score against two Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion op­po­nents a year ago.

“We didn’t fin­ish the way we need to, coasted in there a lit­tle bit and didn’t need to do the things we needed to do,” Durkin said dur­ing a tele­con­fer­ence Mon­day with re­porters. “We didn’t ex­e­cute at the same level as we did at the start of the game.”

While ac­knowl­edg­ing that the one-sided na­ture of the game had an ef­fect, Durkin said Howard’s two late touch­downs helped him and his staff con­vey a mes­sage to the re­serves, par­tic­u­larly the fresh­men, that the Terps can’t af­ford sim­i­lar let­downs later in the sea­son.

“We want to make sure we know how to do it right and not ... be up on a team and al­low them back in the game,” Durkin said.

Se­nior cor­ner­back Will Likely said it was ex­cit­ing to watch some of his younger JC Jack­son Against Howard, “we didn’t fin­ish the way we need to,” Mary­land coach DJ Durkin said. “We didn’t ex­e­cute at the same level as we did at the start of the game.” team­mates get onto the field.

“They’ve been talk­ing about it all [pre­sea­son] camp,” Likely said. “Just see­ing the things they were go­ing through, it brings ex­cite­ment. As se­nior, be­cause you’ve got depth behind you, guys that are will­ing to com­pete, that’s al­ways a good sight to see.”

Durkin said he and his staff spent much of their time with the team Sun­day go­ing over the break­downs.

“You’ve got to learn from these things,”

Big Ten power rank­ings

Go to bal­ti­more­sun.com /track­ingterps for the first in­stall­ment of C.J. Doon’s weekly Big Ten foot­ball power rank­ings and for Don Markus’ Terps blog posts he said.

While Durkin would love to see Jack­son, who grew up on Florida’s Gulf Coast, on the field in Mi­ami on Fri­day, the first-year coach knows he might have to ad­just to play­ing an­other week with­out him. Durkin said Mon­day that “sev­eral play­ers” are af­fected by Jack­son’s be­ing side­lined.

“RaVon was the one that got the start [against Howard], and I think he did a good job with that,” Durkin said. “That means more reps for him. We’re lean­ing on Alvin [Hill] a lit­tle more. Tino played about 40 snaps in that game and did well with those. He will con­tinue to get more reps, as will Ant­waine Richard­son.”

Said Likely: “We’re all to­gether, and we know what any per­son can do. It’s al­ways the ‘next man up’ men­tal­ity. [Jack­son will] be back soon. You can’t worry about things like that. You can only con­trol what you can con­trol. We’ve got some great depth. We’re not wor­ried.”

NICK WASS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

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