Kenny Tate will play at linebacker in 2012, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday.
Tate, a safety in his first three years with the Terrapins, moved to linebacker last season with mixed results. He played four games before undergoing knee surgery, then applied for and received a medical hardship.
Tate has not participated in spring practice because of the injury.
“We’ve talked to Kenny and he knows that’s where he’s going to be,” Edsall said. “He’ll be in the meetings there. He likes it and understands that’s what’s best for him and that’s what’s best for us.”
Tate was an all-conference pick in 2010 as a junior, collecting 100 tackles (8.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks and three interceptions. While he had 35 tackles in four games last season, he never appeared to be comfortable playing linebacker despite Edsall’s repeated insistence it was the best position for him.
Tate dressed but did not play in three October games before Maryland announced he would miss the rest of the season with what was initially an undisclosed surgery. Maryland later said the procedure repaired a knee injury.
It was uncertain where Tate would fit into the Terps’ new 3-4 scheme, especially considering his struggles over the first month last season.
No one on Maryland’s staff directly addressed the issue in the offseason, with first-year defensive coordinator Brian Stewart sidestepping a question on his thoughts about Tate and his eventual position during a winter meeting with reporters.
“Right now, he’s one of the guys who won’t be able to participate in the spring,” Stewart said in early February. “What I have to do as a coach, I have to make sure I get the guys who are going to be out there in position. The guys that aren’t out there, I’ll have have a clean thought process for them.”
Now, it seems, a decision has been made. Whether Tate is more successful at linebacker the second time around, though, remains to be seen.
—- Patrick Stevens