The Washington Times - April 8, 2009, 10:17AM

Loyal readers will have to forgive me for not posting this item yesterday. Between trying to catch up on sleep and rapping out a title game follow and scrounging for food and then catching up on more sleep, I didn’t squeeze in a Maryland football item or two from a practice visit in the morning.

There are some position and depth chart switches I’ll get to in the next post, but one of the curious things is tracking where two guys who aren’t on the field are doing.


Both nose tackle Dion Armstrong and left tackle Bruce Campbell are sitting out most practices to focus on academics. Campbell has dressed on the weekend, but Armstrong hasn’t been seen the first seven sessions of the spring.

From the sounds of things, we might not see him again.

“Dion, i don’t think he’ll be here myself,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “Bruce is working hard. I don’t have a problem with how hard he’s working. He’s going to have to have a heck of a semester. He has three really hard courses.”

Clearly, Campbell is a high-level priority given the offensive line’s inexperience. But he also has practiced on his own time, and it would seem he isn’t in the worst shape overall.

If we’re to assume Armstrong isn’t going to be back (and reading between the lines, it would seem that possibility is a strong consideration for Maryland’s staff), nose tackle would be a huge question entering next season. Armstrong at least started a few games late last season, and his immediate backups (A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano) are redshirt freshmen.

Francis is an interesting possibility, a guy who was always a blown-out knee away from playing as a true freshman. But his time might come a bit earlier than anticipated if Armstrong’s situation doesn’t improve in the next few months.

—- Patrick Stevens