GREENSBORO, Ga. —- Jeremy Navarre … defensive tackle?
Make no mistake, the Maryland senior is ready to make the switch.
The senior, who started at defensive end the last three years, is up to a hearty 288 pounds after an offseason featuring plenty of weight room work and perhaps just as much protein in his diet.
A lot of chicken and other meats, it turns out, can transform an end into a tackle, a position Navarre occasionally played last season.
“I’m more comfortable now playing D-tackle,” Navarre said “I knew my time was coming. I know in the future I’m going to have to play D-tackle, probably. I think I’m ready for it.”
The Terps need him to be, especially after the loss of tackles Carlos Feliciano and Dre Moore. Navarre’s move inside represents a new direction for Maryland’s defensive line —- less reliant on bulky run-cloggers, more dependent on speed and agility.
Navarre joked about knowing he would have to cross a barrier from spry outside rusher to more of a bulky inside guy. And it’s taken time —- the former high school wrestler came to Maryland at 245 pounds.
That was three camps ago. Now, he enters his last, and even admitted he’ll miss the screaming of line coach Dave Sollazzo once it’s all over.
Before then, he has plans to leave College Park with something other than a losing season.
No matter what, Navarre will have a slightly different view of things this fall.
“I’m really, really excited about it,” Navarre said. “I’ve had the best attitude going into spring camp since I’ve been here —- since my freshman year when I didn’t know anything about it. It’s a new challenge. I’ve been there a couple times the last couple years, so I know what it’s like. We’re smaller, but I feel more aggressive, quicker, athletic besides just trying to fill the holes with guys we’ve been having.”
—- Patrick Stevens