Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Maryland.
Spring Practice Starts: March 10
Spring Game: Saturday, April 21
Three things to look for:
1. New schemes on both sides of the ball. Randy Edsall reached out to Mike Locksley in time to get his new offensive coordinator out on the recruiting trail, which likely played a big role in the Terps landing Stefon Diggs - the highly touted wide receiver from nearby Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.). But this spring will be the beginning of Locksley installing his varying pro-style offense. He has described it as a combination of one-back passing attack, spread running game, and traditional pro-style. On other side of the ball, new defensive coordinator Brian Stewart was hired in January to bring aggressiveness back to the Terps' defense. Stewart will also coach the defensive backs, and uses a scheme that will call on linebackers like Darin Drakeford to play hybrid-type pass-rush/coverage roles.
2. C.J. Brown's new role in the new offense. After starting five games in 2011, and appearing in ten, junior quarterback C.J. Brown figures to be the man under center for the Terps this fall. Brown was arguably much more productive rushing the ball - setting a school record for single-season rushing yards by a quarterback - than he was passing the ball - completing just 49.4 percent of his passes. With Locksley promising this varying, pro-style system, Brown will likely be asked to take on a much less-specialized role. There should not be any shortage of opportunities for Brown to work on his skills as a drop-back passer this spring, with only two quarterbacks on the roster until fall camp.
3. Plenty of room for a breakout star. In addition to the twelve scholarship players who have left the program since the end of the 2011 season, several key contributors will be limited or out of spring practice due to injury. Offensive linemen Justin Gilbert and Pete White, All-ACC linebacker Kenny Tate, wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro, and kicker Nick Ferrara are among the players who will miss spring practice nursing injuries. The glass-half-full approach to this situation for Maryland is a great opportunity for a player under the radar to break out. The players who do see snaps this spring will have an extra advantage with new schemes on offense and defense.
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