- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2012

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Maryland linebacker Kenny Tate missed the final two months last season with a right knee injury and eventually received a medical hardship.

As he’s worked his way back for what has become his second senior season this summer, he’s already reminding teammates of the guy who was one of the ACC’s top defensive players in 2010.

“He’s already talking trash,” wide receiver Kevin Dorsey said Sunday at the ACC Kickoff event. “He’s been out there maybe two weeks. He still has the knowledge and skill set. I just want to see him come out and be the way he was before.”

That would be a significant boost to the Terrapins, who went 2-10 last year. It was just as forgettable a season for Tate, who was moved to linebacker after a 100-tackle season as a safety.

Tate had 35 tackles in four games but did not make nearly the same impact last year. Defensive end Joe Vellano believes that will change this season, which begins Sept. 1 against William & Mary.

“You can tell Kenny has come back with an attitude,” Vellano said. “He’s one of those guys that expects to play at a high level, and he doesn’t like to sit on the bench. I think he’s going to have a big year.”

Tate is listed atop the preseason depth chart at Maryland’s strong-side linebacker position, where he will compete with sophomore Alex Twine during camp. Dorsey said Tate recently told him he was at about 90 percent as the Terrapins close in on the start of camp Aug. 6.

“He’s fighting back,” Dorsey said. “He’s been coming along pretty well. He’s been able to complete all the workouts he’s been in without any pain to his knee. I think he’s going to have a pretty good year.”

The Diggs difference

Balleyhooed wide receiver recruit Stefon Diggs won’t open camp atop the depth chart.

It doesn’t mean his new teammates don’t envision him making a difference.

“He’s really quick,” Dorsey said. “He’s in and out of his breaks. He has really fast feet and good hands. I would say he knows more than half the playbook already, which is good — especially as a freshman coming to camp. He’s definitely going to be able to play a big role. He’s going to be a guy you can give a 4- or 5-yard pass and he can turn it into a 20-yard first down.”

It won’t be hard to find Diggs in his first season; he’ll wear No. 1 from the start of his career.

Air Brown

Junior quarterback C.J. Brown made his greatest impression as a rusher last year, managing 574 yards on the ground to set a Maryland record for a quarterback. Meanwhile, he managed only 842 passing yards and a 49.4 completion percentage over 10 games (five starts).

So Brown’s rushing will be a prominent part of Maryland’s new pro-style offense? Perhaps, though Vellano observed Brown is eager to show he’s a complete quarterback.

“I think he wants to come out throwing,” Vellano said. “Everybody thinks he’s the runner, but wants to throw more than anybody.”

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