Maryland coaches know how talented junior wide receiver Stefon Diggs can be. And that's why they want more focus from him this season.
"He's a great kid," Randy Edsall told The Baltimore Sun. "I love the kid to death. But sometimes, he's a young man that will frustrate you a little bit because you see how much he has and you know (what he can do) when he's focused and he does everything that you're supposed to do. But that's the challenge."
Edsall also said Diggs "hasn't even come close to scratching the surface of how good he can be."
The Sun reported that Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith -- a Maryland alum -- has said Diggs is the most naturally gifted receiver to ever play for the Terps. Still, Edsall says Diggs must become a more complete receiver, which includes being a better blocker, a better route runner and a better student of the game.
"He's a very dynamic guy with the ball in his hands," wide receivers coach and former longtime NFL receiver Keenan McCardell told The Sun. "He understands how to make people miss. But I would like for him to realize that to play at the next level -- and to play a long time at the next level -- you've got to be smart. You've got to be a student of the game. I'm not saying he's not. But you've got to be a real student of the game."
Diggs (6-foot-0, 192 pounds) missed the final six games last season after suffering a broken leg in a loss to Wake Forest. He finished the season with 34 receptions for 597 yards and three TDs. In 18 career games, he has 88 receptions for 1,435 yards (16.3 yards per catch) and nine TDs. He has two TDs on kickoff returns and also has been used on jet sweeps, though not with the success you'd imagine from someone so explosive (5.9 yards per carry on 27 rushes).
Diggs told The Sun he has no issues with his leg. "That's the last thing I really think about," he said. "... I trust my leg and trust what it's going to do for me, and I know it's not going to let me down."
Given his talents -- and that he has NFL players gushing about his talent -- there already is speculation that this could be Diggs' final season at Maryland. Hey, playmakers are wanted commodities in the NFL. But Edsall's criticisms do give some pause. Perhaps it is just a case of a coach poor-mouthing his most talented player. At the same time, Diggs hasn't been a consistently dominant player. His consistency will be closely watched this fall by his coaches, opposing coaches and NFL scouts alike.
Maryland opens Saturday against FCS foe James Madison, and the first month of the season isn't overly taxing, with games against USF, West Virginia, Syracuse and Indiana as well as James Madison. The schedule ramps up considerably in October: Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin are on the docket. A fast start by Diggs would need to carry over against the tougher opponents for folks to be truly impressed.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.