One of the fiercest position battles of the Maryland football team’s preseason was supposed to be at left guard between upperclassmen Evan Mulrooney and Silvano Altamirano. But Mulrooney fell ill just before camp opened and was hospitalized. Altamirano said he tried to text Mulrooney as often as possible that week – but he was also intent on winning the job as if his teammate was there.
“I tried keeping in touch, but I guess we really couldn’t get in touch that well,” Altamirano said. “I was always going for that starting spot, so I couldn’t let him going down … that shouldn’t stop me from becoming the best that I can be.”
Altamirano was one of the more consistent players during camp, and he was rewarded with the starting role at left guard earlier this week. Even with Mulrooney out, Altamirano performed as if he was being pushed every day and had a standout first scrimmage. He went over 60 plays that day, and won over the respect of Greg Studrawa, the team’s first year offensive line coach.
“Going against the [first team], going against Andre [Monroe] every day, that will definitely make you better,” Altamirano.
The long, slow climb from a Southern California junior college to FBS ball helped Altamirano develop confidence, and competing for a starting role is what he envisioned when he transferred to Maryland in 2013. He appeared in three games as a junior last season but had a productive spring to position himself as a potential starter.
Edsall said Tuesday that there is still no timetable for Mulrooney’s return, although his health is improving. Edsall has said earlier in preseason that developing offensive line depth will be one of the biggest challenges this season — and returning Mulrooney would certainly give the Terps another experienced player in the rotation. For now, Altamirano has an opportunity to take control of his position, ahead of backup Mike Minter.
“Coming out of [junior college] I always envisioned to myself that I could be starter, so I’m confident in my abilities,” Altamirano said, “and I’m glad this day finally came.”