During a teleconference with ACC reporters Thursday afternoon, first-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall stuck to generalities. After 10 spring practices, he offered few clues as what his Terrapins will look like in the fall, only that “it’s gonna be all about discipline,” and “we won’t beat ourselves.”
Even though he confirmed his staff has introduced new offensive and defensive schemes this spring, Edsall would only offer that Maryland would be “multiple” on both sides of the ball.
But then the topic of sophomore quarterback Danny O’Brien came up, and the coach grew effusive. Despite what Edsall deemed a “rough start” to spring practice, there is one certainty as Maryland prepares for next football season: O’Brien willonce again be starting under center.
“He has all the things that I’m looking for in a quarterback,” Edsall said. “He’s really come along very nicely here in these last five or six practices. You can just see him getting very comfortable in what we’re doing. He’s really starting to play very, very well.
“I knew that would happen from just being around him and talking with him and how good he wants to be. He wants to know it all, he’s a sponge. I couldn’t be any more happier with how he’s progressed.”
O’Brien isn’t the only veteran who has caught Edsall’s eye, though. Senior Davin Meggett appears to be atop the running back depth chart after a strong spring thus far.
“He reminds me of one of those wily, old veterans when I was in the NFL,” Edsall said. “A guy who takes it all in, doesn’t say a whole lot, but boy when you watch him work and watch him do things, he’s very, very impressive.
“He’s one of those guys, and you don’t find too many of these guys, but he runs as fast as he has to on the field. . . . It just seems like if he needs to slow it down, gear it down to find a hole, he finds it. But then, when he’s got to burst, he’s got the ability to do that and outrun people.”
As for the position changes, Edsall has initiated throughout the roster this spring, most notably moving first team all-ACC selection Kenny Tate from safety to linebacker, the coach tried to clarify his reasoning while avoiding a direct criticism of former coach Ralph Friedgen’s staff.
“It all comes down to a personal preference, what I feel and what our staff feels will be the best for what we want to do. All coaches and staffs are going to have their different evaluations and put guys in the places they think are the best,” Edsall said. “My whole philosophy as a head coach has always been . . . get your best 11 on the field and then develop your scheme around those 11 and what they can do.”
In Tate’s case, Edsall reiterated that he believes linebacker is the position Tate will ultimately play in the NFL, and that when he watched film of the Terrapins from last year, he felt Tate played close to the line of scrimmage on a majority of snaps anyways.
Edsall said following last weekend’s scrimmage, the staff decided to move offenstive tackle Justin Anderson to defensive tackle. Freshman Lorne Goree has also been moved from outside linebacker to middle linebacker. Correspondingly, junior linebacker Ryan Donohue will move from the middle to the outside.
But with just five practices left this spring, Edsall said any more position changes are unlikely at this point. He’s now comfortable with how his roster is distributed heading into the fall.