The Washington Times - April 21, 2009, 11:31AM

Yesterday, it was the Maryland offense’s turn. Today, it’s time for the defense.

That unit has progressed substantially in the last few weeks, but it still has some trouble spots.


Granted, not all of these will be solved this week. But they all remain issues for the Terps to address in the coming months.

1. Nose tackle. This hinges on the academic status of Dion Armstrong, which doesn’t sound like it’s falling in the “likely to solve itself” situation. Nix that, it will solve itself. But all indications are it won’t go in the direction Maryland would like. As a result, keep an eye on A.J. Francis in the spring game. The redshirt freshman is the early favorite to start if Armstrong’s grades aren’t good enough.

2. Will linebacker. So far, so good for Demetrius Hartsfield, who figures to start along with Adrian Moten and Alex Wujciak once the fall rolls around. Still, a good spring game wouldn’t hurt a bit. Also worth watching at the weak side is walk-on Hakeem Sule, whose play has impressed coaches over the last month or so.

3. What to do with Drew? Injuries to Wujciak and Ben Pooler meant plenty of work at middle linebacker for converted tight end Drew Gloster, who looks like he’ll contribute on defense next season. The question is where. One thing’s for certain: The Terps need to find a place to use Gloster, because he can help out.

4. Reserve cornerbacks. There’s not a lack of options here, just an absence of sure things. Sophomore Trenton Hughes has had a better spring, and there’s still Michael Carter, Cam Chism and sixth-year senior Richard Taylor. Maryland would probably like to see one of those guys firmly establish himself as the obvious top reserve, especially if injuries strike again.

5. Defensive end. Really, neither the defensive end or “Anchor” positions can be considered truly solved at this stage. Senior Jared Harrell will probably be the guy at Anchor when the fall rolls around, but it’s probably a toss-up between Derek Drummond and Masengo Kabongo at this point. At this particular position, the spring showed what was already known: There isn’t an obvious answer, and probably won’t be until the season starts.

—- Patrick Stevens