The Washington Times - December 4, 2009, 12:09PM

Loyal reader Netto fired off a question after producing the best score last week in the D1scourse Challenge (more on that in a later post), and it’s quite a good one about the state of the Maryland football team”

Are there any silver linings along the offensive and defensive lines that we can look forward to next year? I know we have some skill position guys like Smith, Scott, Porzel, Tate, Wujciak and Hartsfield among others. But if Campbell leaves, is Maryland back to where it was a year ago along the lines?

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The Bruce Campbell question is a big one, both figuratively and literally. The mammoth left tackle could turn pro in the next month, and he certainly has all the tools to become Maryland’s next workout warrior at the NFL combine.

Here’s a couple of way-too-early and thoroughly unofficial prospective depth charts for the spring – one with Campbell and one without him:

WITH CAMPBELL

LT: Campbell/Justin Gilbert/Pete DeSouza?
LG
: Lamar Young/Maurice Hampton
C
: Bennett Fulper/John Dillon
RG: Andrew Gonnella/Justin Lewis/Pete White
RT
: Paul Pinegar/R.J. Dill/Nick Klemm

WITHOUT CAMPBELL

LT: Pinegar/Gilbert
LG: Young/Hampton
C: Fulper/Dillon
RG: Gonnella/Lewis/White
RT: Dill/Klemm/DeSouza

Let’s face it: Campbell makes that outfit look a whole lot better.

Realistically, after a full season of shuffling the guard positions, it’s anyone’s guess how those shake out going forward. Will Young be healthy. Does Gonnella thrive after playing as much as he did this year? Will Lewis be more consistent? How much does White help?

It’s worth noting Maryland has 27 career starts among its opening week starters on the offensive line this year. That Campbell-less line has combined for 35. Plug Lewis in for Gonnella, and it drops to 30 starts.

Which is to say the offensive line is a legitimate question mark for next year, too. Those problems in recruiting in 2006 and 2007 will continue to be an issue.

Onto the defensive line.

There’s probably a little more hope here, even though Travis Ivey is a significant loss at tackle. The Terps still have A.J. Francis, and toss in Justin Anderson, Zach Kerr and Joe Vellano and it’s possible to envision a decent (though probably not elite) batch of run-cloggers that will be together for another three seasons.

The problem is defensive end, which probably could have been said for Maryland for the last 15 years. A lot will be expected of Derek Drummond, Masengo Kabongo and Carl Russell, and chances are De’Onte Arnett will contribute next year. Toss in a prep school guy like David Mackall (assuming he re-signs or enrolls this winter) and those are the most likely contributors. Can the holdovers improve? For the unit to thrive, they’ll need to.

The guess here? The offensive line is modestly better than a year ago but still not great. The defensive line will continue to get better – again, maybe not stellar, but certainly adequate enough on its own not to derail the Terps from reaching .500.

Patrick Stevens