In an apparent effort to bolster an offensive line that’s allowed four sacks per game, the fourth most nationally, two freshmen have been bumped up to starters on Maryland’s latest two-deep depth chart heading into the Wake Forest game this weekend.
Andrew Zeller, a redshirt freshman, and Mike Madaras, a true freshman from Good Counsel, are listed as the starting left tackle and right guard, respectively. Zeller moved ahead of junior Nick Klemm, while Zeller got the nod ahead of junior De’Onte Arnett.
Quarterback Perry Hills has taken 16 sacks, which was the second-most nationally heading into Maryland’s bye week. After the West Virginia game, Coach Randy Edsall predicted that Zeller and Madaras would receive more playing time, especially after impressing against the Mountaineers. Zeller had a key downfield block that took out three defenders on Stefon Diggs‘s 56-yard touchdown reception.
“That’s exactly what I’m looking for with our offensive line,” Edsall said at the time. “He blocks on the line of scrimmage, and you teach your linemen to go down and cover, he goes down and takes three guys out with a block down the field. Those are the things. I would think [more playing time] is probably going to happen.”
Other depth-chart items of note:
—Kenneth Tate, who nearly doubled his planned playing time against the Mountaineers, is listed as a co-starter with Alex Twine at outside linebacker. He impressed in 54 plays, including a two-play series that included a jarring tackle at the line of scrimmage and a pass breakup.
–Sophomore Devin Burns has solidified himself as the backup quarterback behind Hills. Burns, a former wide receiver who reverted to his high school position when C.J. Brown tore his ACL, had a 17-yard carry against West Virginia when Hills got knocked out for one play just before halftime.
–Diggs is listed as the starting wide receiver, replacing Kerry Boykins, who sat out against the Mountaineers with a hamstring injury. Not exactly breaking news, given that Diggs has lined up in three-wideout sets to start the past two games, and is Maryland’s second-leading receiver and leader in plays that make you go, “Wow.”
–Wes Brown, Justus Pickett, Albert Reid and Brandon Ross are still all listed as four-way co-starters at running back, though Ross is now the backup kick returner behind Levern Jacobs and received the majority of the carries versus the Mountaineers.
—Justin Anderson is now behind Joe Vellano at defensive end, effectively bumping Quinton Jefferson off the two-deep depth chart. Keith Bowers and Isaiah Ross are now listed as co-backups behind A.J. Francis at defensive end.