5 things to look for at Maryland's spring practice

March 01, 2013|By Don Markus | The Baltimore Sun

YOUNG'S DEVELOPMENT: Junior quarterback Ricardo Young has yet to play in a college game despite being at two different Division I programs, Virginia Tech and New Mexico, as well as a short stay at a junior college. With redshirt senior C.J.Brown not ready to do anything more than 7-on-7 passing drills -- if that --Young will get a chance to challenge for the starting job come fall.

DEFENSIVE LEADERSHIP: With the departure of seniors Joe Vellano, Demetrius Hartsfield and A.J. Francis, the Terps are going to have to find players to take over as the leaders and playmakers on defense. Linebacker Cole Farrand, who tied Hartsfield for the team-high in tackles (78) last season, has a chance to fill that role, but he will need others, such as cornerback Dexter McDougle and noseguard Darius Kilgoe (the only returning starter from the defensive line), to step up as well.

PROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK: It's probably a good thing that both Young and Brown are quarterbacks who can move around -- and out of -- the pocket. The quality of the offensive line is still a question mark, but last season provided ample opportunity for players such as left tackle Mike Madaras and Evan Mulrooney (who is competing with junior Sal Conaboy at center) to get on-the-job training as freshmen. Junior college transfer Silvano Altamirano will see a lot of time this spring at left guard.

COMPLEMENT OR COMPETITION: Transfer wide receiver Deon Long is saying all the right things going into spring practice about how much he looks forward to playing with Stefon Diggs, but the well-travelled Long is used to being the primary target at both New Mexico and then at Iowa Western Community College. Diggs caught 58 passes last year, but even without an experienced -- or even true college quarterback -- the Terps did a good job spreading things around in the passing game.

KICKING IT AROUND: Even with their rash of injuries last season, the Terps still could have been bowl-eligible if the kicking game had been more reliable. Placekicker Brad Craddock finished the season 10 of 16 as a freshman, but the misses included a last-second 33-yarder against North Carolina State that hit the upright in a two-point Homecoming loss and a 35-yarder against Boston College in an earlier three-point defeat. The presence of sophomore walk-on Brendan Magistro (1 of 1 on field goals, 3 of 3 on PATs) and the arrival of Broadneck kicker Adam Green in the fall could make for an interesting competition going into the season.

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