After reviewing game film from last season, Maryland’s first year football coach Randy Edsall came to one conclusion regarding safety Kenny Tate: at 6 foot 4, 220-pounds, he plays like a linebacker.
And so that’s exactly where Tate, an All-ACC selection, will line up when spring practice opens later Tuesday afternoon in College Park.
The practice will be the first of 15 over a five-week period and marks the first opportunity for Edsall and his staff to work – on the field – with a Terrapins’ team that returns 14 starters, including quarterback Danny O’Brien, the Atlantic Coast Conference freshman of the year.
O’Brien’s continued development figures to be critical for the Terrapins, who went 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC last season. Just as crucial, though, could be Tate’s ability to adjust to the “Star” position in Edsall’s scheme, in which he’ll essentially be an outside linebacker.
“When you watch the tape of Kenny from a year ago, almost 90 percent of the time he was playing down,” Edsall told reporters Friday. “He wasn’t playing back in the deep half, the quarters or a post player. When you take a look at his abilities, he’s better suited to being a linebacker.”
Tate led the team in tackles last season with 58 solo tackles and had 3.5 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound former DeMatha standout also had three interceptions, which was tied for second on the team.
Another reason for the move, Edsall said, was to better prepare Tate for his post-Maryland prospects.
“In terms of my having coached in the NFL and had an opportunity to work with guys at that level, when you watch Kenny, his best position as far as we’re concerned, is being a linebacker,” the coach added.
Edsall also moved David Mackall from linebacker to defensive end and Mario Rowson from cornerback to linebacker and Desmond Kearse from safety to linebacker.
Players will be available later Tuesday afternoon.