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Posted at 06:09 PM ET, 08/29/2012

Stewart on defensive injuries: ‘You have to play with the guys that you have’

With Maryland football injury list seemingly expanding by the day, defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has been presented with quite the challenge, especially in the secondary.

Coach Randy Edsall ruled out safeties Matt Robinson (shoulder) and A.J. Hendy for Saturday’s opener against William & Mary.

“Unfortunately injuries are part of the game,” Stewart said. “I am coaching the guys that are out there and am making sure that they know what they are supposed to do. I’m trying to get them to play at a high level.

“You have to play with the guys that you have. I have to make sure that I teach at a level that everyone knows what they are doing from the starter to a guy redshirting. That’s where my comfort level comes from knowing that I coached at a level that everyone is prepared.”

Those injuries pushed freshman Sean Davis to the fore. Davis, a Maret graduate who rose from obscurity to multiple Division I offers, will likely start at strong safety in Robinson’s stead on Saturday.

While at Maret, the speedy Davis had 1,424 total yards and 12 touchdowns his senior season while splitting time at running back and wide receiver, and boasted 4.42 speed. Once he joined Edsall’s program, Davis turned his attention full-time to the secondary.

“When you put young guys in, athletically you know they can do the job, that’s why they are here on scholarship,” Stewart said of Davis. “You have to keep on giving them reps so that the mental nature of the game becomes natural to them. Things start to become second nature to them.

“Once you start playing that’s when you know who you are and who the players are and how they handle situations. Without the game you don’t have a true measuring stick. That tells you that the game is pretty important.”

Other notes from Stewart

■ With Kenny Tate (knee) sidelined for up to a month, sophomore Cole Farrand locked up a starting spot at inside linebacker. So far, Stewart is impressed.

“He has done a great job in the preseason,” Stewart said. “As we go through the games and evaluate things game by game it will determine who will be the best Mike linebacker for us. He does a good job of handling the huddle, knowing his assignments and bringing energy to the defense. He has done all of those things very well to this point.”

■ Concerning the other freshmen, Stewart was hard-pressed to single one out for praise.

“It’s hard to pinpoint one over another,” Stewart said. “All of the young guys from Alvin Hill to Abner Logan, they have all done a good job of picking up the defense, being good student athletes and going about their business the right way.”

■ Preseason all-American Joe Vellano has taken on even more of a leadership role throughout camp. “Joe has done a great job both as a leader and on the field,” Stewart said. “He is pushing himself. What I do is different from what he has done in the past. He has done a great job buying in and going full speed. I am pretty excited about getting the chance to see him play live.”

By  |  06:09 PM ET, 08/29/2012

 
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