All Matt Robinson could do was pace the sideline during the Maryland football team’s final morning practice of the preseason on Friday. The starting safety was unable to join his teammates for drills, given the harness at his waist supporting the brace immobilizing his left arm.
The sophomore is out for at least two more weeks with a shoulder injury, meaning he will miss the Terrapins’ season opener on Sept. 1 against William & Mary at Byrd Stadium. He has plenty of company.
While starting quarterback C.J. Brown’s season-ending ACL tear was the most jarring injury during training camp, the defense has absorbed one ailment after the other, with ends Andre Monroe, Keith Bowers and Isaiah Ross, linebacker Kenny Tate, and cornerbacks Isaac Goins and A.J. Hendy all going down.
“Injuries are part of the game,” Coach Randy Edsall said. “It’s unfortunate. It really is. But you know, I think there are some guys who have had the opportunity to step up, and you’ve seen some good things out of them. You just get everybody to believe and understand that hey, they’ve got to be ready to go because in one play the could be in there.”
Monroe injured his left knee several weeks ago while running sprints and underwent surgery on Thursday without complications, Edsall said. Monroe had been in competition with Bowers, among others, to start at right defensive end, but Bowers is out at least another few weeks with an undisclosed injury.
Junior Justin Anderson had been listed as a possible starter at right defensive end, but thinning of the ranks there elevates him to first string.
Ross, meantime, has been nursing a sore hamstring and is considered day-to-day, according to Edsall. The junior was the top backup to senior Joe Vellano at left defensive end, but that duty now falls to Quinton Jefferson and Ty Tucker, both of whom are freshmen without college game experience.
“It’s just one of them things,” said Vellano, a preseason all-American. “The craziest thing is you work out all summer doing the same exact thing. A bunch of these guys got hurt running on their own in sprints and kind of tweaked their hamstrings and knees and stuff by just running. It’s not like they’re getting rolled up on.”
Along those lines, it’s unclear how Tate hurt his left knee, except that it happened in a non-contact situation. The senior who moved from safety to linebacker last season is out for three to four weeks, according to Edsall. Sophomore Alex Twine becomes the starter.
Tate’s injury comes after the All-Met from DeMatha proclaimed himself a “full go” early in training camp. Last season, he had surgery on his right knee that limited him to all but four games.
Robinson is among the few injured Maryland players dealing with upper-body distress after dislocating his shoulder during one of the first practices of training camp. Last season, Robinson tore his labrum and right biceps in the season opener against Miami.
Sean Davis, another true freshman, has moved up to first-team strong safety until Robinson is back in the lineup.
The secondary is particularly beat-up with Goins and Hendy out for at least another two to three weeks. Goins has mononucleosis and Hendy is nursing a sprained ankle.
“Injuries are part of football, and of course we hate for it to happen,” senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield said. “But you can’t look at it in the negative sense. You have to come out and just move on. It just means the people that were behind them just got to play a lot better.”