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Posted at 09:40 AM ET, 08/22/2011

Defensive line depth, special teams and fullback still to be sorted out for Maryland football


Maryland Coach Randy Edsall still has some decisions to make at a number of positions. (Mark Gail - THE WASHINGTON POST)
After what was expected to be a full game-like scrimmage Sunday, Maryland’s players have Monday off as coaches home in on Miami and begin to finalize the personnel they will use in the opener on Labor Day evening.

The Terrapins practiced in front of several hundred fans during Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday morning. Afterward, Coach Randy Edsall talked about a handful of personnel issues that have yet to be sorted out.

Among them: How much depth does Edsall have on the defensive line? A.J. Francis, Joe Vellano, Isaiah Ross and David Mackall are all expected to be key contributors. During camp, Edsall has praised the progress of end Keith Bowers. Another end, Bradley Johnson, and tackles Andre Monroe and Maurice Hampton are also in the mix for playing time on the second team. But Edsall said coaches have to figure out whether they are comfortable with a six-, seven- or eight-man rotation.

The competition at punter has been tight and is not expected to end anytime soon. Freshman Nathan Renfro and walk-on Michael Tart have been battling for the starting job. Renfro and Tart punted very well in Friday’s practice. Not so much in Saturday’s practice. “They weren’t as consistent,” Edsall said. “I was really a little bit disappointed with the performance today by the punters. [Friday], they were just off the charts. So that’s something we still have to figure out.”

Maryland has a few options at kick returner. Among them, Tony Logan (who will again handle punt returns), starting tailback Davin Meggett, cornerback Dexter McDougle, and freshmen Brandon Ross and Jeremiah Wilson.

“There’s plenty to choose from,” Edsall said. “That’s something we’re going to work on more this week. Do I want to put Davin out there being the starting tailback? If we have some other younger guys, and that can get them some experience and they are in a backup role, then I would probably lean more toward that. But in that first game, there’s something to putting experience in there.”

Fullback is another competition that has yet to be decided. Rahsaan Moore and Tyler Cierski are competing for the spot.

The Terrapins also need to settle on a backup weak-side linebacker. Lorne Goree is one option there.

On the injury front, McDougle has been “a little banged up,” but Edsall is hopeful he will return this week. But Edsall said other than defensive lineman Justin Anderson, who is likely to miss the first two games after undergoing foot surgery, no other players have suffered significant injuries in camp.

Edsall and players were pleased that fans turned out to see Saturday morning’s practice and get autographs from players afterwards.

“Now what I hope is that all the people here today go back and tell their friends and get the word out about what they saw and get more people out here,” Edsall said. “I was very pleased with the people who were here. In the morning, it’s steamy out here and having people here gives them incentive.”

By  |  09:40 AM ET, 08/22/2011

 
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