The Monday night release of Maryland’s depth chart has become appointment viewing during this peculiar season. It reminds me of walking the narrow streets of Barcelona this summer and encountering the awe-inspiring 13th-century architecture that stopped you in your tracks. Regardless of what you heard or what you knew, you honestly never knew quite what it would look like. And it took two long glances to fully digest what you saw. And even more to make sense of what was in front of you.
It’s the same with the projected football lineup in front of my face now. So without further ado, here is this week’s two-deep depth chart, which includes some key changes from last week’s two-deep depth chart:
Sophomore C.J. Brown is listed as the starting quarterback over sophomore Danny O’Brien. No one should be surprised by this. Brown followed up his 124-yard rushing effort against Georgia Tech with a 162-yard rushing effort in his first career start against Clemson. Reporters got word earlier Monday that Brown, not O’Brien, would be made available to them this week (I had requested both quarterbacks as well as a half-dozen other players), so that was another indication that Brown would start the FSU game.
Okay, on to wide receiver. Now, keep in mind that we know wide receivers Kevin Dorsey and Tyrek Cheeseboro and linebacker Avery Graham were banged up against Clemson. The severity of the injuries was unknown, but Coach Randy Edsall acknowledged that he expected to be without some players who played in the Clemson game. On that note, Dorsey was not among the four receivers — two starters, two backups — listed. True freshman Marcus Leak is the starter at one position; Kerry Boykins is his backup. Quintin McCree is the starter at the other position; Tony Logan is his backup. The notable absence is senior Ronnie Tyler. Whether the absence is based on performance, injury or another matter — Tyler served a two-game suspension earlier this season — is speculation. But Tyler did drop at least one catchable ball that I recall in the Clemson game.
Got all that? Let’s move to defense, keeping in mind that Maryland started five freshmen against Clemson because of injuries. Edsall said Sunday that it was unlikely that players who missed the last couple games would be able to return against FSU. So that immediately led to the notion that linebackers Kenny Tate, Darin Drakeford and Demetrius Hartsfield, as well as defensive lineman Andre Monroe, would be doubtful — or scratched — for the Seminoles’ game. As for the depth chart, Mario Rowson is listed ahead of Tate; 17-year-old Alex Twine is listed ahead of Drakeford and Hartsfield is not listed at all on the depth chart.
So in summary, of the 22 players on Maryland’s two-deep defensive depth chart, nine are freshmen and four are sophomores. As for starters, five are freshmen and two are sophomores.
Next up is Thursday’s highly anticipated release of the ACC-mandated injury report, which will help us make more or less sense of the two-deep depth chart depending upon what surprises pop up in that document.
It’s been an interesting season.
UPDATE 1 P.M.: At his weekly media availability, Edsall said Cheeseboro and Graham are out for the season.