Maryland’s losses on the defensive line were not simply confined to the field.
They were probably just as significant in the locker room, where an entrenched starter (Jeremy Navarre), an environmentally aware end who helped launch a campus recycling program (Mack Frost) and pair of hard-working former walk-ons who snagged well-earned scholarships (Dean Muhtadi and Bemi Otulaja) all departed after last season.
Muhtadi was probably best known for being a maniac in the locker room before games. And who could possibly replace an out-of-control screamer in the hour leading up to kickoff.
“It might end up being me,” redshirt freshman A.J. Francis said. “If it’s not, man, maybe Dion [Armstrong]. We have a lot of funny guys on the D-line, but I don’t think there’s ever going to be another Dean Muhtadi. Ever.”
But the unique characters weren’t confined to just one guy.
“For the same reason I don’t think there’s ever going to be another Jeremy Navarre, who was the exact opposite until game time,” Francis said. “Jeremy Navarre would not say a word to anyone until about 10 minutes before the game started, and he would act like he’d been talking the whole time. It was ‘Let’s get ready! Oh, yeah!’ and just start screaming and getting crazy.”
There’s lots to figure out before Sept. 5, when the Terps visit California.
This, though, might not be one of the things anyone quite knows for sure until just before game time.