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Terps undeterred by lack of depth entering spring drills
Question of the Day
A dozen players with eligibility remaining left Maryland’s football program since the end of a miserable 2-10 season in coach Randy Edsall’s debut.
All three coordinators have changed, with offensive and defensive coordinator hires from outside the program.
Put it all together, and things are different in College Park with spring practice starting Saturday.
“The one thing that is good about it is you will get your reps,” defensive lineman Joe Vellano said. “There’s no question about that. You’ll be able to rep it out.”
The most noticeable changes exist on offense, where three starters (quarterback Danny O’Brien and tackles R.J. Dill and Max Garcia) opted to transfer. The only remaining scholarship quarterback is junior C.J. Brown, who will run new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley’s pro-style offense.
The Terps also will acclimate a five-man group of offensive linemen who redshirted a year ago. Some could easily be needed in the fall after the departures of Dill and Garcia.
Maryland also revamped its defense, hiring Brian Stewart to install a 3-4 system. The Terps lost part-time starters at defensive end (David Mackall), safety (Titus Till) and linebacker (Mario Rowson) on defense.
Underclassmen who left the program early accounted for a combined 48 starts a year ago.
“It’s always disappointing when people decide to move on,” Edsall said. “We want all the players to graduate from Maryland and get their degrees. Just like in real life, when there’s change there’s always going to be things that take place that you can’t control. It’s not going to affect us at all in terms of the spring.”
Nonetheless, Maryland’s offense won’t be blessed with many options until its freshman class arrives in the summer. Thanks to injuries, five of the Terps’ 12 positions on the offensive depth chart (three wideouts are listed) feature a walk-on as a second-string option.
There is more immediate depth on defense, where 15 players who started at least one game will be back. Even there, though, options are missing after the attrition of the past few months.
“It’s an adjustment we have to make,” linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield said. “It’s kind of something you don’t harp on. You just move on from. I wish the other guys the best. Everyone had their own reason for leaving.”
Moving on begins Saturday, when Maryland will squeeze the first of three practices in before spring break. The Terps will then take a week off before working over the following four weeks to lead up to the April 21 spring game.
With an influx of new coaches, an exodus of players and plenty to improve upon, it could be a crucial spring for both Edsall and the program. The lack of numbers could hurt, though the Terps insisted their priorities remain the same.
“It’s going to have some impact not having, what, 85 guys?” tight end Matt Furstenburg said. “I think we’re handling it perfect, and I know coach Edsall is going to make accommodations to our depth. We’re just pushing forward and we have the same goal and that can’t change anything from if people stayed or left.”
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About the Author
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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