Stefon Diggs is electric, a playmaker, dynamic — all the synonyms describe the Terrapins football wide receiver’s play on the field to a tee. So watching him cut through college defenses with ease, many are hard-pressed to find something he needs to improve on in his game. His numbers through the first two weeks of this season — 385 all-purpose yards — speak for themselves, right?
But coach Randy Edsall sees more to work on. After all, he knows Diggs is a special talent capable of doing things no one else on a field can do. So when he sees a chance to help Diggs improve on anything, he’s going to take it. And he saw the opportunity during the Terps’ 47-10 victory over Old Dominion yesterday at Byrd Stadium.
In the second quarter, Diggs took a screen pass from quarterback C.J. Brown 41 yards down the right side of the field for a touchdown. On the way, he stiff-armed a defender, high-stepped on the sideline and somersaulted into the end zone. It was a play that epitomized everything Diggs brings to the Terps.
But as he walked off the field, Edsall took the sophomore aside and talked to him for a few moments.
“Just a coachable moment,” Edsall said after the game. “I just try to make sure when we have coachable moments during the game that I think it’s my responsibility to coach the young men up. If I see something that I don’t think is what we think it should be and to help our student-athletes become better, then we’re going to address that. Because if we don’t address it, then we’re saying it’s OK, when it’s not OK, and I don’t want to see any of our student-athletes do anything to hurt their reputations or hurt themselves or have people maybe think poorly of them."
“The high-step, I was really just trying to slow the defender down, I slowed them down a little bit so I could get to the end zone,” Diggs said later. “I thought he was going to catch me, that’s why I dove. But it was a teaching moment. Basically he just talked to me and he said, ‘Just get there.’ He basically said he believes in me. He told me just to stay cautious and stay aware. Do your best to get in without it. It was a teaching moment always. He’s always teaching me lessons and what I took from it was to do better next time.”
Diggs already has one dive into the end zone on the highlight reel, and he’s added another.
Some more quotes from the wide receiver.
Diggs, on whether he had flipped into the end zone before:
“Yeah, I did that in high school and stuff like that, but not in college. It was off instinct mostly. I was hoping he didn’t tackle me.”
Diggs, on high-stepping:
“I do that routinely. But I got the word that we're not allowed to do that anymore, so I mean I was just trying to slow the defender down. I guess it’s like instinct, but I guess I got to work on that.”
Diggs, on Edsall’s thoughts on the flip:
“The flip, he didn’t really like that too much. Next time I’m going to just try to get there without it.”
Edsall also addressed the third-quarter play in which Diggs was shaken up in the end zone after a collision with an Old Dominion player.
“He’s fine,” Edsall said. “There’s nothing wrong with him. I was a little concerned because when I watched the replay, I saw the guy really kind of club his head. Anytime hit somebody above the shoulders with the hands, elbow all that, to me, that’s a targeting foul. That’s what I was trying to do and the other thing is I thought the officials did a good job.”