Normally, head coaches, especially at the collegiate level, are loath to public criticize one of their players.
One head coach, though, has found it necessary to put one of his player on public notice.
Maryland wide receiver Deon Long is returning from a very significant leg injury that cost him almost half of the 2013 season. He didn’t participate fully in spring practice as he continued rehabbing the broken leg, so summer camp has been his first real football action since last October.
Things, however, haven’t gone smoothly for a player who, along with Stefon Diggs, will be two of the top playmaking receivers as the Terps make the transition into the Big Ten. In just a couple of practices this camp, Long has dropped catchable balls and jumped offsides a couple of times for good measure.
That triggered a public calling-out of the player by his head coach.
“Deon’s got to get a lot better,” Randy Edsall said. “I’m not happy with the way Deon is practicing right now. He’s got to do a better job of finishing on every play, and he’s got to be more exact with everything he’s doing, so let’s not heap a lot of praise right now.
“Let’s get him back to the things he’s supposed to be doing and playing to the level of his talent ability. And I think if he does that, then we can talk a little bit more about him.”
For his part, Long, who had 32 catches for 489 yards at the time of his October injury, acknowledged that he needed to step his practice game up and understands what his coach is trying to do.
“He’s the type of coach who sees your potential, and knows how to tap into you and get the best out of you,” Long said. “So he’ll hold [players] to high standards, and you need a coach like that because if he didn’t then he wouldn’t be doing his job. So he just wants to see me flying around more… and being more sharp, which I did [Wednesday], so he’ll be satisfied.”