Baltimore Orioles

Brown ready for breakout season with Maryland

837479.png

Brown ready for breakout season with Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- C.J. Brown earned the job as Maryland's starting quarterback last season because of his ability to run with the football.

It is a trait that makes him susceptible to injury, and the last thing the Terrapins need is to lose the only quarterback on the roster with playing experience.

In their first meeting last week, the Maryland coaching staff discussed the possibility of reducing Brown's sprints downfield -- and decided against it.

"We've got to do whatever we have to do in order to win," second-year coach Randy Edsall said Monday. "You know what? We can't sit here and play cautiously or be afraid to do the things that C.J. can do to make us better."

That means Brown will get the chance to build on a breakout season in which he scored five touchdowns and orchestrated three of the top eight rushing performances by a quarterback in school history, topped by a 162-yard effort against Clemson.

Danny O'Brien had a better arm, but he lost the job last year to Brown and ultimately left the school during the offseason.

That leaves Brown, a redshirt junior, as the unquestioned starter. Both backups are freshmen, so if Brown gets hurt, Maryland's chances of bouncing back from last year's 2-10 disappointment will be all but over.

Brown, one of four co-captains, knows this. And it doesn't change a thing.

"Anytime you think about getting hurt or playing a different way than you're used to, you're going to be more prone to injury," Brown said. "Maybe I'll be smarter in not taking a big hit or getting down, but I'm not going to change my playing style. I can only do what I do. Injuries are meant to happen, and if it does, than maybe it was just meant to be."

As a preventive measure, Brown spent hours in the weight room to beef up his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame.

"I've worked extremely hard during the offseason to maintain my body, to put on mass and put on muscle," he said.

His effort made an impression on his teammates and the coaching staff.

"C.J. has worked extremely hard. He knows that he's the quarterback, he's the leader," Edsall said. "I think he's done a tremendous job working to make himself better fundamentally as a quarterback, but he's also taken the leadership role to another level. He commands respect from his teammates."

During the season, Brown will be the focal point in the huddle. During the offseason, he led by example.

"The first thing I noticed when we came back from the winter session is that in every drill and every sprint, C.J. was coming in first," senior wide receiver Kevin Dorsey said. "You can see that he put on a show to show this is his team, that he can step up to the plate and get the job done. It hasn't stopped. He's been consistent all summer. I know he'll have a good year and show people that not only can he run, but he can pass, too."

If there was one problem Brown had last year, it was inconsistency as a thrower. He completed only 49 percent of his passes and threw seven touchdowns compared to six interceptions.

New offensive coordinator Mike Locksley worked with Brown to improve his poise in the pocket and insists things will be different this year.

"Obviously one of his strengths is his feet, but he doesn't get enough credit for his ability to throw the football," Locksley said. "We've had to tweak some mechanical things with him, but I've been really impressed with C.J. as a whole, not just as a runner. What we've got to do is find who the playmakers around him are and then just get him to play smart as a quarterback."

And, of course, keep him upright. If Brown gets hurt, the Terrapins will have to turn to Perry Hills or Caleb Rowe.

"We've got to make sure we get Perry and Caleb ready to go," Edsall said. "Hopefully, nothing would happen to C.J. But in the sport of football, in that position, those things can happen."

NOTES: The team began summer practice Monday with 17 seniors and 68 percent redshirt freshmen and sophomores, according to Edsall. ... The school unveiled its new, privately funded 3 million turf field. The word "MARYLAND" runs across midfield and both end zones have a design reminiscent of the state flag. ... Unlike last year, the players will have their names on the back of their uniforms.

Quick Links

MLB Postseason 2017: Wild Card Race

andrus_rangers_usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

MLB Postseason 2017: Wild Card Race

The 2017 MLB Wild Card race is at full throttle and at this point it will be a matter of who gets hot at the right time.

Both races will not be settled this week. Likely we will have to wait until the final weekend to see who will be in the postseason.

With so many teams still in the hunt, the American League race is absolutely bonkers. While the National League looks more condensed, the schedule has this playing out up until the final game of the season.

RELATED: FULL MLB POSTSEASON UPDATE

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Specifically looking at the American League, the race for the second Wild Card spot is wide open. Ten teams are still mathematically alive but realistically it is six teams battling for one position.

The New York Yankees (85-67) completed an impressive three game series sweep over the Twins, winning the series by a combined score of 18-6. New York’s postseason magic number is three but they have their sights on the Boston Red Sox for the AL East Division.

Well ahead of everyone else in the race, the Yankees will still be a factor in the battle for the second Wild Card. They play three teams (Toronto – six games, Tampa Bay – three games, Kansas City – one game) that are still alive.

Losing five of their last six, the Minnesota Twins (78-74) are not sitting in a comfortable position. This weekend against the Tigers is crucial in solidifying their position because they travel to Cleveland next week for a three game series. That is a series they do not want to enter with a one-to-two game lead on the Los Angeles Angels

Being the first team out does not put the Angels (76-75) in a good position because they are currently in a series with the Indians and then travel to the Houston Astros over the weekend.

The Texas Rangers (75-76) are in a prime position to make-up ground playing Seattle and Oakland in eight of their final 11 games.

Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles face off this weekend for a four-game series. Anything but a sweep or a 3-1 series win would basically eliminate each team from contention.

AL WILD CARD RACE:

New York Yankees:     +7.0
Minnesota Twins:           ---
Los Angeles Angels:     -1.5
Texas Rangers:             -2.5
Kansas City Royals:      -3.5
Seattle Mariners:           -4.0
Tampa Bay Rays:          -4.0
Baltimore Orioles:          -5.5
Toronto Blue Jays:        -7.0
Oakland Athletics:         -9.0

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Less crazy but perhaps more interesting is the race in the National League. It’s a four-team race for two positions, with two teams each from the West and the Central.

Sitting 6.5 games to the good, the Arizona Diamondbacks (88-65) are in a pretty good spot. They do not play a single team over .500 the rest of the way and can essentially be on cruise control the rest of the way until October.

The Colorado Rockies (82-70) are positioned the best out of the remaining teams. Plenty of opportunities for the team to gain on their lead with the Padres on the road and the Marlins at home in their next two series.

If the Rockies were to slip, the Milwaukee Brewers (81-71) and St. Louis Cardinals (79-72) are right behind them. Both are preoccupied with their NL Central race with the Chicago Cubs that is still in each team’s control.

NL WILD CARD RACE:

Arizona Diamondbacks:  +5.5
Colorado Rockies:             ---
Milwaukee Brewers:         -1.0
St. Louis Cardinals:          -2.5
Miami Marlins:                -10.0

RELATED: MIKE RIZZO PROVIDES UPDATE ON BRYCE HARPER

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 34 - Training camp preview with SI's Andrew Sharp

wizardstipoffep34.png
CSN

Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 34 - Training camp preview with SI's Andrew Sharp

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast, we previewed 2017-18 training camp with Sports Illustrated's Andrew Sharp. Chase Hughes and Chris Miller first laid out their biggest storylines entering training camp, including what to expect from John Wall.

After Sharp hung up, Chase and Chris gave their predictions for individual awards and who will win the title in the 2017-18 NBA season.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

[RELATED: MORRIS TO MISS START OF TRAINING CAMP]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES