COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland kicked off its third week of spring football practice with some personnel adjustments leading up to the team’s first official scrimmage Saturday.
Head coach Randy Edsall announced Tuesday morning that Nate Clarke (offensive guard to nose tackle) and A.J. Hendy (safety to cornerback) moved positions.
Tuesday afternoon’s practice was their first chance to get on the field in their new spots.
“The big thing with the spring with the players who are here is it’s a chance to evaluate them and make sure they are in the right spots,” Edsall said after the two-hour practice. “As we sat down and evaluated, [we said] let’s go ahead and take a look at A.J. there and he looks a little more natural [at cornerback].”
Hendy played in nine games last season at safety (three starts) and on special teams, while Clarke served a redshirt season as a true freshman.
“With the scheme that we are running defensively we thought it would be a better fit and Nate could be more productive on defense at nose guard,” Edsall said.
Hendy got more reps at cornerback than he normally would have with an injury to Jeremiah Johnson who was only able to participate in individual drills which covered the first 30 minutes of practice.
Sophomore linebackers Alex Twine and Cole Farrand are also nursing injuries.
“Alex just has a bruise so he will be back out there hopefully next week once he gains some strength back,” Edsall said. “With Cole they told me two to three weeks.”
The Terps will be a little thin at linebacker in the next week or so, but should get a boost at that position in preseason camp.
Edsall confirmed after Tuesday’s practice that Kenny Tate will play Sam linebacker in the fall. The senior-to-be who missed all but four games last season is sitting out spring practice while recovering from offseason knee surgery. He is expected to be healthy by the summer.
“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.”
Edsall has called the two outside linebacker positions (Sam and Will) in defensive coordinator Brian Stewart’s scheme two of the most important on that side of the ball.
Edsall likes how the team is progressing through seven spring practices.
“We are getting better,” Edsall said. “I thought today was better than the other day. We are starting to see the execution pick up and the mistakes be cut down. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to work on. Tuesday and Thursday we are going to work on fundamentals and technique.”
The Terps scrimmaged for a portion of last Saturday’s practice, but will have the first of three full-length scrimmages this Saturday.
“We are going to treat it as a real game with the coaches in the box,” Edsall said. “We are doing it that way so we get used to it and so we can identify who can step up and take charge.”
The Terps have eight more practices scheduled including the Red-White Spring game which is set for Saturday, April 21 (1 p.m. kickoff).
Faces in the Crowd: Dick Shiner, one of the Terps all-time greats, attended Tuesday’s practice. Shiner was an honorable mention All-America quarterback in 1962 and 1963. He was also a first team all-league pick in those seasons. Cameron Chism also stopped by check on his former teammates. Chism, a three-year starter at cornerback, ended his collegiate playing career in the fall and hopes to continue at the professional level in the fall.