- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Maryland has four candidates to replace injured offensive tackle Stephon Heyer when the Terrapins open against Navy on Sept.3.

Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday he’s considering using redshirt freshman Dane Randolph and freshman Jared Gaither to fill the void at left tackle. However, right tackles Brandon Nixon or Scott Burley also could be moved. Maryland even is working tight end Derek Miller at tackle for emergencies.

“You can’t sit back,” Friedgen said. “You’ve got to move on. … I think at some point they’ll be a pretty good line.”

Heyer was the worst of a recent rash of injuries. The senior, the team’s only experienced offensive lineman, suffered a season-ending torn ligament to his left knee Friday. He will undergo surgery next week.

Randolph appears to be the front-runner after practicing with the starters in the wake of moving from defensive end during spring workouts. He said he sometimes feels overwhelmed by his new responsibilities.

“You have to think a lot more on offense,” Randolph said. “There’s so much going through your head. Over the summer, I’ve learned the playbook a little better.”

Friedgen regularly mentioned Randolph as one of the emerging young players even before Heyer’s injury.

“In eight [summer] practices, Dane is much improved from where he was from the spring from a knowledge standpoint, and Jared hasn’t made a lot of mistakes the second time around,” Friedgen said. “We’re asking a lot of them.”

Injuries along the line further complicate the task of replacing Heyer. Burley returned to practice for the second session yesterday after missing three workouts with back pains. Nixon appears to be the front-runner to start at right tackle, where Friedgen would prefer him to play. But either Burley or Nixon could move if Randolph or Gaither can’t replace Heyer.

Freshman tackle Zach Marshall also was held out of practice after suffering a possible concussion Saturday. Guard Russell Bonham participated only in noncontact drills after bruising a shoulder Saturday.

Friedgen said the entire offense is nearly installed, but the blocking has fallen behind. The banged-up lineup hasn’t helped, though Friedgen wouldn’t use it as an excuse.

“Where we’re not executing is not because of who to block but how to block,” he said. “It’s more of a technique thing.”

Meanwhile, cornerback Josh Wilson will miss at least a few days with a lacerated calf. Wilson was injured during a punt return Saturday after being knocked from behind into running back Keon Lattimore, whose cleats cut Wilson badly enough to require stitches and crutches. Safety Isaiah Gardner replaces Wilson.

Receiver Isaiah Williams (sprained shoulder) and fullback Tim Cesa (mononucleosis) are day to day. Defensive end Robert Armstrong received a pain-killing injection for his sore back. Linebacker Erin Henderson suffered a sprained knee. He will be evaluated today.

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