COLLEGE PARK — — Kenny Tate, who last season struggled away from the safety position where he became one of the ACC's best, will remain at linebacker next season, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday.
Tate, an all-ACC selection at safety in 2010, was moved to linebacker under then-defensive coordinator Todd Bradford before last season. Although Bradford has since been replaced by first-year coordinator Brian Stewart, Tate — who has sat out all of this spring with a knee injury — will remain at linebacker in Stewart's new 3-4 system.
"We've talked to Kenny and Kenny knows that's where he's going to be," Edsall said. "He's going to be in the meetings there. He likes it and understands that that's what's best for him, that's what best for us."
Before undergoing season-ending surgery in late October, Tate finished with 35 tackles and two interceptions in four games last season. Still, he never emerged as the disruptive force many expected after his junior season at safety, where he had 100 tackles and an ACC-best four forced fumbles and generated significant NFL interest.
Clarke on the move
Offensive line remains one of Maryland's most beleaguered units, but that apparently isn't enough to stop once-highly touted lineman Nate Clarke's move to the other side of the ball.
In a YouTube video posted Tuesday morning, Edsall said the freshman will move to nose guard after redshirting last season. Clarke, who recorded about 77 tackles and nine sacks as a senior at Archbishop Carroll in Washington, played offensive tackle in his postgraduate year at Virginia's Fork Union Military Academy in 2010 and entered spring practice this March as the backup right guard.
"With his size, being a 300-pounder who can move, we felt that, 'Hey, we need to put him on defense and put him in there at that nose guard and let him go and attack that center," Edsall said in the video.
"On defense, it's get off on the ball and take your gap and take your gap," he added after practice Tuesday. "There's not as much as on offense – there's all kinds of calls that are made, there's a lot more that has to be processed, and all those sort of things. Also, with the scheme that we're running defensively, he would be better suited and probably be more productive for us playing at nose guard, so we did that."
Odds and ends
Rising sophomore A.J. Hendy has relocated, too, although the move isn't quite as far. The former safety, who had one interception and one fumble recovery in nine games as a true freshman last season, will now play cornerback.
"He looks a little bit more natural, so we thought that was a good move," Edsall said. "I see him doing some things so far in the two practices he's been there that I like."
Redshirt junior Nick Klemm has overtaken redshirt freshman Ryan Doyle at left tackle, Edsall said Tuesday. With Justin Gilbert at right tackle, De'Onte Arnett, Josh Cary, Sal Conaboy, Bennett Fulper and Gary Harraka are competing for the remaining three inside starting positions.
Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson practiced Tuesday in limited capacity, while linebackers Alex Twine and Cole Forrand will likely not return until at least next week, Edsall said.