If there’s one position where Maryland doesn’t have many questions entering the 2012 season, it is tight end.
Matt Furstenburg is the preseason all-ACC pick at the position.
Fifth-year senior Devonte Campbell enjoyed a solid spring.
Ryan Schlothauer might be the most interchangeable piece on the Terrapins’ roster.
And Dave Stinebaugh is finally healthy after missing Maryland’s last 20 games with injury.
With that in mind, it was no surprise tight ends coach John Dunn was optimistic about his bunch.
1. Matt Furstenburg’s an established guy. How well do you see him fitting in to what you guys are shifting toward offensively this year?
JD: Very comfortably. The thing we like to have in our tight ends and Matt has it is good balance. We talk about offensively having balance between run and pass. I think Matt has the same balance. I think he’s a certainly an adequate blocker in the run game and I think he brings some skills to us in the passing game.
2. Devonte Campbell, from what I recall, had a pretty good spring, and it’s a now-or-never situation for him. What’s your take on him?
JD: Exactly what you said. I think he feels a sense of urgency, that this is a last go-round. With him, we constantly talk about being consistent. I think Devonte has certainly shown flashes of being a very good player. He just has to consistently be there, consistently show up. I think that he can help us.
3. Ryan Schlothauer is a jack-of-all-trades, basically. Is his value a little underrated for what you guys do?
JD: Certainly not to me. [Laughs]. No. Guys like him are invaluable. It’s like the utility infielder. What Ryan does for us is we have different positions with him in tight end groups and he can do them all. He knows the whole offense. He can go in at a moment’s notice without a lot of reps. He always knows what to do.
Physically, he’s a big, strong guy. He helps us on special teams. You said it. He’s the jack-of-all-trades, and he’s certainly a joy to have in our room and a joy to coach. He’s certainly not undervalued by me, I promise.
4. Dave Stinebaugh is a guy who hasn’t seen the field since September 2010 [edit: Actually, it was early October], almost two years ago –
JD: That’s exactly right. I’m excited to see him. I really haven’t gotten a chance. He’s been hurt basically the whole time I’ve been here. I might have had him two practices before he got hurt again, so I’m excited to see what he can do. Hopefully, he’ll hold up and kind of get in the groove of things and put the pads on and see where it goes.
5. Given that you have as many veteran guys as you do, is this basically a developmental year for P.J. Gallo?
JD: We tell all freshmen they determine who plays. The whole team – they determine. We’re never going to keep a kid off the field that can help us win. If he proves that, then we’ll find a way. Now, if we go through and maybe not, then certainly it could be a development year. He has good guys to learn under.
I think he’s in a great position because he’s in a position where he can look at the older guys, he can watch the way they work, he can watch the way they take notes. He’s rooming with Matt in the dorm [during camp]. Everything he does, he can learn and watch and he’ll obviously get his chance on the field. But he has guys he an watch and learn from and that will really help him.