“Again, we’re going to look for our five best guys and guys that help us come off the ball and make sure we can run the ball better,” Edsall said. “When we get back out here, we’ll probably have some changes, because that’s the way it usually works out.”
Edsall and his staff have now had one full-padded practice and Saturday’s closed scrimmage to observe the unit, which currently has four players with starting experience atop the depth chart. A key competition currently unfolding is at center, where senior Evan Mulrooney is trying to hold off redshirt freshman Brendan Moore for the starting spot. Edsall said that “there’s been good things there” between Mulrooney and Moore, who split first-team reps throughout the practice on Friday.
After starting five games at center as a redshirt freshman in 2012, Mulrooney served mostly in a reserve role as a sophomore and had most of his junior season cut short after being hospitalized with a viral infection prior to last season’s fall camp. Mulrooney re-established himself as a potential during spring practice, although Moore also had a productive spring and impressed the staff with his intelligence and strength gains. He’s gained nearly 25 pounds since arriving in College Park as a three-star recruit out of Westwood High in Austin.
The jewel of that recruiting class, of course, was former Bishop McNamara tackle Damian Prince, who has been receiving first-team reps throughout camp at right tackle. He’s the most inexperienced atop the preseason depth chart, which includes senior Andrew Zeller at right guard, senior Ryan Doyle at left guard and junior Michael Dunn at left tackle. Prince is currently ahead of sophomore JaJuan Dulaney and two true freshman at right tackle, while senior Stephen Grommer is competing with Zeller at right guard. Sophomore Mike Minter is currently listed as Doyle’s backup at left guard.
Dunn missed the late stages of spring practice with a back injury but has made a full recovery in his return for fall camp, where he’s currently ahead of injured redshirt freshman Derwin Gray. While Edsall has not provided a timeline on Gray’s return from a torn labrum suffered last spring, he’s expressed confidence in the unit’s competition and the versatility, a luxury that will allow the fifth-year coach to make adjustments as camp rolls on.
“We’re going to have our five best offensive lineman on the field. Our sixth guy might be a backup guard right now, say a right guard, but if the left guard goes down, we’re going to move the second guy over to play left guard or do whatever we got to do to get the best guys on the field,” Edsall said last week. “Now’s the time for them to step up.”
More links from Maryland’s fall camp: