The only chance for Maryland’s football players to make a first impression on Randy Edsall was perhaps the most notable ongoing development of the Terrapins’ five weeks of spring practice.
With Saturday’s spring game at Byrd Stadium looming, Maryland fans will have a chance to see some of the first-year coach’s early calculations.
A handful of new names - guard Josh Cary and defensive linemen Andre Monroe and Clarence Murphy, among them - populate what amounts to the starting units for the spring game. For Edsall, such decisions merely come down to production.
“That’s a great thing,” wide receiver Kerry Boykins said. “It’s how it should be because it makes you compete. If you come in thinking your spot is already solid, then you feel like you don’t have anything to prove and maybe you wouldn’t work. But if you know your spot is up for grabs, you’re going to work as hard as you can and do everything in your power to keep your spot.”
Imbuing those qualities in his new team was one of Edsall’s primary missions this spring. Maryland installed new schemes and terminology on both sides of the ball while adjusting to a new staff.
For much of the past five weeks, though, Edsall emphasized effort, mental preparation and other unquantifiable facets as priorities for players to develop.
“If there’s guys here who think just because they were starters last year that they’re going to line up and start or if they think they’re going to be able to not practice and be starters, it isn’t going to happen,” Edsall said.
Especially after the last month. Though he has access to film of Maryland’s recent seasons, Edsall has 14 practice sessions with which to judge his new team.
That’s enough time to formulate opinions on the skills and work ethic of his players. All along, though, he’s preached a consistent message to the Terps.
“He’s always like ‘Don’t get complacent,’ ” defensive tackle Joe Vellano said.
Players would be wise not to throughout the summer months. After a spring with a few surprise starters and a handful of players limited to weekend workouts because of academics, Edsall and his staff will craft a depth chart next week to take into August camp.
Even then, nothing will be guaranteed.
“The depth chart changes, and you can see it changing,” Boykins said. “That right there shows you that you have to come out here and work. If you don’t work every day and the guy behind you is working better and doing your job better than you are, he’s going to have that job.”
NOTES: Maryland’s spring game will include 12-minute quarters with a 12-minute halftime. … Edsall is providing some culinary incentive for the scrimmage. The winners will have a feast of shrimp and steak next week, while the losers will dine on franks and beans. … Offensive linemen Pete DeSouza, Justin Gilbert and Justin Lewis and cornerback Avery Graham will not play in the spring game. Edsall said he doesn’t think wide receiver Kevin Dorsey will play, while running back Jeremiah Wilson is questionable.
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Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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