Dienhart: What I'll be watching at Maryland fall practice
There might not be a program in the Big Ten with a brighter future than Maryland, coming off a bowl trip in DJ Durkin’s debut followed by a monster recruiting class. But work remains to be done if Maryland wants to move up the pecking order in the rugged Big Ten East. Now, the Terps look to take the proverbial next step in their evolution under Durkin.
Here are five things I’ll be watching at practice.
1. Quarterback. The program needs to improve what has been an inconsistent position for several years. North Carolina transfer Caleb Henderson could be the man, but many want to see true freshman Kasim Hill, who drips with promise. Tyrell Pigrome and Max Bortenschlager started games last year and also are in the mix.
2. Running back. This could be a position of strength with players like Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison. In fact, it may be the deepest position on the squad. Johnson ran for 1,004 yards, averaging a whopping 9.1 yards per carry. It will be fun to get a look at some touted youngsters like Anthony McFarland.
3. Big boys. Is the o-line ready to take the next step? The staff has recruited well up front in recent years, as six touted prospects are on the depth chart. That’s why some think this may be one of the strongest positions on the team. The unit has a new coach in former Fordham OC Tyler Bowen. Tackles Derwin Gray (left) and Damian Prince (right) could be outstanding. Brendan Moore is an anchor at center along with Terrance Davis at right guard.
4. Cornerback. This spot was in bad shape when DJ Durkin took over. But the unit has made some big strides. Can it keep improving? It’s a young unit than needs former Florida Gator JC Jackson to lead the way. Ex-JC RaVon Davis is another key cog.
5. Defensive line. Lots to prove for a defense that was among the worst in the nation in stopping the run. Cavon Walker and Kingsley Opara need to anchor inside. Jesse Aniebonam and Chandler Burkett are forces off the edge. Cam Spence and twins Breyon and Brandon Gaddy could emerge. This group has a lot to prove. Eager to see it work.