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Former team manager shines in spring game

The Sports Xchange

--Strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson drew praise from Edsall as spring practices wrapped up. "We're probably as healthy and as good as we can be coming out of spring," he said. "That's a credit to Drew Wilson and the kids, as hard as they worked in the offseason. They've bought into his program and what he's doing, and you can see it."

The depth-shy Terps were often worn down in games last season, so improvement in this area is another key component in Edsall's rebuilding plan.

--QB Ricky Schultz, a manager turned No. 2 QB this spring after the transfer of Danny O'Brien, was the feel-good story of the spring game. He completed 13-of-19 passes for 146 yards and the game's only aerial score. He had another 45-yard TD called back by a hold. Schultz won't play in the fall as two highly touted freshmen (Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe) take over behind C.J. Brown. Schultz, who hopes to coach, will be a student assistant on offense, a worthy reward for his vital work this spring.

--Team members voted WR Kevin Dorsey and QB C.J. Brown as offensive captains and DT Joe Vellano and LB Demetrius Hartsfield as defensive captains.


RB Justus Pickett -- Pickett, third on the team in rushing last fall as a freshman, looked much-improved throughout the spring. He hit holes quicker and ran with more confidence. His 70 yards on 18 carries led all rushers in the spring game, and he is in a better position to fend off the coming challenge from incoming stud Wes Brown and speedster Albert Reid.

C Sal Conaboy -- The 6-4, 285-pounder got some starts late last season when Bennett Fulper was injured, and this spring Fulper was moved to guard, giving Conaboy the inside track at center.

Fullbacks -- Fullbacks in general look like they'll get more touches in the new pro-style attack. The Terps showed a lot of I-formation in the spring game to go with a spread look. Incumbent starter, sophomore Tyler Cierski, said the change in philosophy regarding fullbacks is striking. Senior Jeff Fernandez is another beneficiary.

DTs Justin Anderson and A.J. Francis -- This pair looks ready for a big year after a banner spring. Francis, a senior, is emerging as a respected leader, and Anderson, a junior, was a standout in the spring game with two sacks and a blocked field goal. They'll both benefit playing alongside All-ACC performer Joe Vellano and in a new-and-improved deep rotation of defensive linemen in the new 3-4.

LB Demetrius Hartsfield -- He was the most experienced linebacker available this spring, and he shined in the spring game with a team-high 12 tackles, including two for loss. He's a prototype inside linebacker in the 3-4 at 6-2 and 240 pounds. He'll be a factor in the array of blitzes the defense can run out of the new look.

"Guys are excited, guys are happy to be here. Everybody has different priorities, and I didn't knock anybody when they left. Everybody on this team, myself included, thought about leaving because we weren't happy last year. If you're not happy with your situation, you have to make a change, but a lot of guys decided to stick it out and that's who we're focused on. We understand if we want to be better, we have to come together." -- Senior DT A.J. Francis.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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