During one point of Maryland’s open practice on Saturday, the Terrapins’ first-team defensive line featured several standbys.
Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis inside, Isaiah Ross and David Mackall at end. It left a second team rather short on experience: Tackles Maurice Hampton and Andre Monroe, along with ends Bradley Johnson and Keith Bowers.
It’s a mix still entirely in flux as Maryland approaches the two-week mark of camp.
“Do we have enough to rotate eight guys?” coach Randy Edsall said. “Or is it going to be seven? Or will it be six? We have to figure that out.”
Sorting out the defensive line isn’t the only position battle far from clear-cut at this stage. Here’s a few others Edsall mentioned at the end of the practice at Byrd Stadium.
* Fullback. It’s still a tossup between Rahsaan Moore and Tyler Cierski. That’s no surprise. Fullback had the look of a down-to-the-wire decision heading into camp.
* Backup weak-side linebacker: Will Maryland go for a 2-for-1 and count on Lorne Goree to serve as the second option at both inside linebacker spots? Or will freshman Alex Twine, moved over from Star at the start of camp, remain a possibility to contribute early.
* Backup cornerbacks/specialty package options: The apparent choices still include Jeremiah Johnson (who has worked with the starters while Dexter McDougle recovered from an injury this week) and senior Trenton Hughes.
* Punter. The competition between walk-on Michael Tart and freshman Nathan Renfro continues.
“That’ll probably go right down to the end,” Edsall said. “They punted extremely well yesterday and today, they weren’t as consistent. That’s the thing we’re trying to get with the whole team. I was really a little bit disappointed with the performance by the punters.”
—- Patrick Stevens