Maryland Coach Randy Edsall announced before practice Tuesday night that he is moving freshman Damian Prince from left tackle to left guard, while sophomore running back Jacquille Veii will switch from running back to wide receiver.
Edsall had hinted that moves were coming during his press conference at Maryland’s media day on Monday, and the changes didn’t come as a great surprise Tuesday. The left guard position has thinned with the absence of Evan Mulrooney, who was expected to compete with Silvano Altimirano for the starting job during camp. But Mulrooney has been sidelined the entire preseason with a viral infection and Prince now brings depth, Edsall said.
“Damian has great size, he has good strength and, again, the more reps he gets, the better he will become,” Edsall said. “For the freshmen, it’s about them understanding the playbook and it’s hard because how much is thrown at them.”
Edsall cautioned against the idea of Prince competing with Altamirano, however. The staff has been impressed with Altamirano, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound senior who played more than 50 snaps during a closed scrimmage Sunday and who has seemingly taken control of the starting position. Maryland also has redshirt freshman Mike Minter at the position.
“If we’re going to put him in at guard, we’re going to have to need a guard too. That was one of the reasons we put him in there. We feel though that the four tackles we have, we feel pretty solid. He was really the fifth tackle,” Edsall said. “He’s going to go in as a backup in there at left guard.”
While Veii has been productive in camp, the running back position is a logjam with veterans Brandon Ross, Wes Brown and Albert Reid all vying for the starting job. Edsall has made it very clear that four players would not get carries and the reserves at the position will have to earn time on special teams.
But Edsall also stressed the importance of getting Veii on the field. He has top-end speed and should give the team an added dimension in the slot.
“He’s a guy that we feel is a dynamic guy for us,” Edsall said. “You can’t play four tailbacks. You just can’t do it. Putting him out there, I think that helps us.”