Shawn Petty was a scout team linebacker for Maryland when last season kicked off. A true freshman, the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder from Greenbelt, Md., was just trying to get into a groove in college and get accustomed to the differences in speed and intensity of the college game.
By November, he was the Terrapins’ starting quarterback.
Injuries to four other signal callers forced second-year coach Randy Edsall to not only take the redshirt off of Petty, but to move him to his old position in high school.
The Terps lost the four games Petty played, but his numbers weren’t as bad as one might expect. He completed 39 of his 84 attempts for 500 yards, six touchdowns and only two interceptions. He also ran for a score.
With Maryland’s quarterback situation improving, as C.J. Brown, Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe are once again healthy, Petty was moved back to linebacker this spring. He is currently listed as the third-team inside linebacker behind junior Cole Farrand and senior Bradley Johnson.
“What he had to do is just – I don’t know too many people that could do what he did,” Edsall told the Washington Post. “He took it all in stride and went out and showed the kind of competitor he was. To go in and do that and not bat an eye, I was very proud of him. Having the chance to be around him, it didn’t surprise me because of how competitive he is and his athletic ability.”
Maryland finished the season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the ACC.
Defense pleases Grobe
Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe has been around a long time and knows you can’t gauge much from a unit by how it performs in the spring game. But that isn’t getting in the way of his excitement over how the Demon Deacons played on the defensive side of the ball in Wake’s annual spring game.
The only points in the Deacons’ 68-play scrimmage was a field goal, otherwise the defense shut down an offense that has some weapons, though they weren’t all on the field. Stellar wide receiver Michael Campanaro missed spring practice nursing an injury, though he’s expected at full strength when fall camp opens in August.
“The defense was awesome today,” Grobe said last week. “I thought they played great. We really dumbed down today, we didn’t blitz and we didn’t have a lot of thinking going on. That ought to be a lesson for our coaches.”
Wake Forest has a chance to be a bowl team this season. Its offense, which struggled mightily last season, has potential and should improve, but if it is to earn a sixth bowl of the Grobe era, the defense needs to play consistently well.
The Demon Deacons were 116th in scoring and 93rd in points allowed. Improvements are needed everywhere, obviously, but their defense appears more primed to make a larger jump. That will help against a very manageable schedule that includes Presbyterian, Louisiana-Monroe and at Army.
Spring Game attendances
Interest in spring football in the ACC continues to grow, as evidence by newspaper coverage in the region. But that wasn’t the case with the spring game crowds drawn by league teams. Some schools, such as Florida State, drew fewer fans than a year ago.
The following is a list of reported spring game crowds. Keep in mind, some school fudge more than others. Boston College’s game was canceled because of the terror attack five days before the game was slated. Louisville, which enters the league in 2014, had 33,000 at its game:
Virginia Tech – 30,000 Clemson – 30,000 N.C. State – 27,500 Florida State – 27,500 North Carolina – 15,000 Virginia – 8,500 Maryland – 8,200 Duke – 5,213 Georgia Tech – 5,000 Wake Forest – 4,200 Syracuse – 3,822 Pittsburgh – 3,642 Miami – Not listed Boston College – Cancelled