The Washington Times - April 3, 2009, 11:54AM

Quietly, things are a whole lot different for Maryland’s defensive line this spring.

Jeremy Navarre, Mack Frost, Dean Muhtadi, Bemi Otulaja (who’s among a crew of local players invited to work out for the Washington Redskins today) and Trey Covington … they’re all gone.

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Dion Armstrong? He’s battling academic issues that seem to have coach Ralph Friedgen genuinely concerned.

So in terms of relatively sure things, that leaves Travis Ivey.

It would seem the senior is making himself as sure a thing as there is.

“I think Ivey’s really stepped his game up,” Friedgen said. “Really, from winter workouts all the way through, he’s really matured as a young man. I think if he continues to improve, he’ll have a future in football.”

(This is the point where it should be noted we heard the same things about Navarre last season – even to the point of being told over and over again that he was causing problems for Maryland’s o-line. It turned out the Terps’ offensive line wasn’t as good as we thought, and Navarre found himself contained with double teams – as most players would be – during the regular season).

Anyway, it would seem Ivey will give Maryland a bulky tackle to work with this season.

But what else is happening?

“The other guy who’s impressing me right now is Derek Drummond,” Friedgen said. “He seems to be making play after play. We’re playing him at what we’re calling the defensive end position, which was the old LEO position. His pass rush looks a lot better this year.”

If Drummond is emerging, it would provide some sort of help at a position that’s been a statistical black hole for the last four seasons – and figure out an extra position heading into the fall.

That’s offset by Armstrong’s issues. While offensive tackle Bruce Campbell has practiced some on the weekend despite his academic issues, Armstrong is nowhere to be found. Take him away, and Maryland has redshirt freshmen A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano to work with at nose tackle.

“Obviously, it would help to have Dion Armstrong, but I just don’t know where that one’s going,” Friedgen said.

Patrick Stevens