Late last week, before he jumped back into another round of preseason meetings at the Maryland football facility, Randy Edsall ran down a list of players that caught his eye during the team’s training camp. The first he said was Silvano Altamirano, the veteran offensive lineman who took control of a left guard position that was left in flux earlier this month with Evan Mulrooney out.
He also mentioned freshman center Brendan Moore, and there were references to a few other young players before applauding the “the guys you expect” to be productive. Part of that grouping likely includes junior right guard Andrew Zeller, who Edsall said earlier in camp “has the ability it takes to be a really good football player.”
Zeller worked on his future in two ways this summer; every morning by 8:30 a.m. he’d report to the U.S. Marshal Services in Greenbelt, working as an intern and taking the next step toward a planned future in federal law enforcement. Part of the job required sitting in on trials, forcing Zeller to visualize how prisoners were transported to and from the system everyday.
“It was a very good experience. I got to see a lot of things that people don’t usually get to see, from an outside standpoint,” Zeller said.
By 6 every night, Zeller would be back in College Park to eat dinner and workout. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder has gradually become a pillar for Maryland’s offensive line; after he redshirted in 2011, he started in three games the following season. He played in all 13 games last year and started the final three at right guard, and this year he’s eyeing a more complete body of work.
Zeller is currently backed up by redshirt freshman JuJuan Dulaney and sophomore Maurice Shelton; freshman Sean Christie was also listed at right guard entering the season but injured his knee early in camp and is expected to miss the year.
Edsall said during camp that Zeller’s biggest issue was bending his knees and blocking while not being over-extended. There were long days between the U.S. Marshal’s office and the football field, Zeller said, but he attacked his footwork and spent evening’s trying to streamline communication with other offensive linemen on the team. He didn’t necessarily have any groundbreaking moments during camp or the team’s open scrimmage, although he’s already become a key piece of Maryland’s offense.
“Everything is communication. We come out there, we want to make sure everyone’s on the same page and just play fast. And if everybody’s on the same page nobody is hesitating and you won’t second guess yourself,” Zeller said.