Cornering the market

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If there was a dubious personnel decision made by Ralph Friedgen after last season, it was the Maryland coach’s decision to burn the redshirt of Cameron Chism.

OK, that’s not entirely fair. Friedgen would argue (correctly) he needed Chism on kickoff coverage. And there’s always the thought that a guy might not stay five years, anyway.

So while it was an eyebrow-archer, the actual determination of whether it was a good call or not won’t really be made until Chism’s career is over.

It’s worth bringing up because Chism (and fellow cornerback Michael Carter) are hobbled with hamstring injuries. And fair or not, a “sophomore corner Cameron Chism” is probably viewed as a bit more needed than “redshirt freshman corner Cameron Chism” for 2009.

It is with that background in mind that Friedgen’s thoughts at the midpoint of spring practice (and heading into Saturday’s scrimmage) are presented.

“I don’t think Chism will be ready [Saturday], and I think that’s really hurting him,” Friedgen said. “Right now, I don’t know if he’s going to make the traveling squad. I think [Trenton] Hughes is getting much better. Right now with [Anthony] Wiseman, Hughes, [Nolan] Carroll, we’re going to get Richard Taylor back … to me, he and Carter are going to have troubles.”

Things aren’t operating in a vacuum, either. Maryland signed some defensive backs in February – with one or two possibly having a chance to play quickly.

“When those guys come in, these guys are missing an opportunity to move up on the depth chart,” Friedgen said. “Time could pass them by.”

So, in an oblique way, could the new defensive scheme. Apparently, the Terps are placing a greater premium on size from their corners, which has led Friedgen to tinker with shifting Kenny Tate from safety.

This is straight out of the “get-the-best-guys-on-the-field” playbook. At safety, Maryland also has Terrell Skinner, Antwine Perez and the versatile Jamari McCollough. Two of those guys could easily handle safety if Tate switched spots from time to time.

So it’s probably a priority to play Tate more, and there’s little question he would provide a physical presence while trying to jam a receiver.

“Especially with what we’re doing at corner,” Friedgen said. “He’s a long guy and when he presses you he has those long arms. We’re working him there, too.”

Patrick Stevens

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