It's difficult getting a handle on Maryland football. Coach Randy Edsall remains intact, but first-year coordinators Mike Locksley (offense) and Brian Stewart (defense) are installing new systems. Even special teams coordinator Andre Powell is in his first year. At least he was on the staff last fall.
If you want transition, you've come to the right place. Last year's theme was the shift from grandfatherly Ralph Friedgen to authoritarian Edsall. This year's storyline is more about upheaval on the field. Either way, there's plenty to digest. Saturday's Red-White spring game is the first chance to see Edsall's new-look Terrapins.
After the transfer of Danny O'Brien to Wisconsin, C.J. Brown is left to run the pro-style offense of Locksley, even though the strengths of the junior quarterback were accentuated last year in the spread offense of Gary Crowton.
|Red-White spring game|
|When » Saturday, 1 p.m.|
|Where » Byrd Stadium|
"The skill set is there with C.J.," Locksley said. "He's shown the leadership. He has the arm talent that you want at the position. He can make plays with his feet."
Locksley also gives high marks to his receivers. Seniors Kerry Boykins and Kevin Dorsey have demonstrated their reliability. Sophomores Marcus Leak and Devin Burns and freshman Nigel King have had exciting flashes.
"[They're] very atypical of young receivers," Locksley said. "That's the one position that definitely has the talent you want. We'd like to see the execution be better. We'd like to see them grow up quicker."
The difficult task for Stewart has been to shift the Terps from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and do it without linebackers Kenny Tate (knee) and Darin Drakeford (ankle) and ends Joe Vellano (foot) and Keith Bowers (heart).
In their absence, senior inside linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield has emerged as a leader and model of intensity. In practice Tuesday, he tussled with guard De'Onte Arnett, pulling his helmet off and flinging it skyward.
"His overall demeanor surprised me. I thought he was consistent throughout spring ball," Stewart said. "He hasn't missed a beat. He studies. It's important to him."
Saturday's scrimmage will be an interesting measure of the units as it pits the defense (Red) against the offense (White) with a point system for positive plays. It concludes the spring workout period, which included 15 practices and plenty of new plays and concepts.
"[We'll] take a look at everything and say, 'Here's the things we do well,'?" Edsall said. "We won't have such a big menu when we get to the fall. We tried to install a lot this spring. What we'll do now is look at it and pare it all down."
Then in August, the primary issue will be the indoctrination of incoming freshmen, including playmaking wideout Stefon Diggs (Good Counsel) and running back Wes Brown (Good Counsel).
"This class coming in, they're gonna have opportunities," Edsall said. "There's gonna be opportunities for them to get on the field early. They have to earn it, and if they do, that's great."