Part one centered on Maryland’s offensive depth chart.
Part two, predictably, looks at the defense.
Let’s get to it, by unit (listed starters entering spring practice noted in bold):
Isaiah Ross is the only one of the three players listed at defensive end with playing experience. Ian Evans seemed like a possibility to play early last season but ultimately redshirted.
Justin Anderson started all 13 games a season ago as Maryland’s strong-side end, though former defensive coordinator Don Brown memorably said the 6-foot-5 Anderson was a bologna sandwich away from going back inside. It will be curious to see how his competition with Joe Vellano goes.
A.J. Francis is a two-year starter who made 44 tackles (seven for loss) last season, while Maurice Hampton played in seven games and made five tackles in 2010. Based on past performance, it was unexpected to see them listed as co-starters, though it does remain very early.
Zach Kerr’s tumble down the depth chart also stands out, though it didn’t specifically come up today. It certainly will the next time Edsall speaks with the media.
David Mackall moves from middle linebacker, while Bradley Johnson was Drew Gloster’s backup at defensive end last year and started the Military Bowl. Marcus Whitfield is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered early last season. Mackall, Johnson and Whitfield were all either linebackers when initially recruited or played there at some point during their time with the Terps.
Kenny Tate, Mario Rowson and Desmond Kearse are all converted defensive backs. Coach Randy Edsall used the old “multiple” staple to describe Maryland’s defensive scheme. If there was such a thing as a generic coach-to-English translator, plugging in “multiple” would probably spit out “I’m not going to tell you specifically what we’re going to do” as the polite version and “Why would you think I would tell you specifically what we’re going to do?” as the more blunt and nuanced variation. No matter. Based on this depth chart, Maryland will have five players recruited as defensive backs on the field at once. Maryland might be multiple, but a 3-3-5 (or something very similar) will be an obvious option.
Demetrius Hartsfield switches from weak-side linebacker to middle linebacker, while Darin Drakeford goes from strong-side backer to weak-side backer. Hartsfield ranked third on the Terps with 88 tackles a season ago.
With Tate moved to linebacker taken into consideration, there are no huge surprises here. Trenton Hughes and Cameron Chism started last season, while Dexter McDougle had the third most playing time among cornerbacks. Avery Graham will sit out spring practice because of injury.
In the short term, safety appears to be a place with limited depth. Matt Robinson, Eric Franklin and Titus Till are the only three scholarship players at the position this spring, though Austin Walker has played there some last season and was a valuable piece on special teams as a junior.