The best part of spring football is the position battles, the unheard names rising to the top to take control of jobs that the incumbents couldn't hold. Sometimes they're surprising; other times, the favorite wins. But they're always entertaining. Back at the beginning of spring football, we overviewed the battles. Now we take a look at them after getting a chance to let them settle out a little:
(Note: nothing offensive line here, because that's not a battle. It's a cluster%$@#.)
Robinson and O'Brien have pulled away - by all accounts, they're officially the top two quarterbacks, with a pretty sizable tier between DOB and CJB, and then another gap between Brown and Belton, with Burns close behind. Robinson probably still has pretty good odds on winning the competition, but all O'Brien needs to do is have a sufficiently impressive spring game and he could pull even. His stats in scrimmages have occasionally passed Robinson's, so it's something to look out for.
However, much of the intrigue that surrounded the battle due to five horses having a chance is now gone. This is a two man race, and I expect it to stay that way.
This is an untraditional battle, as there's no clear cut "winner"; instead, they battle for a larger share of the carries. Regardless, it appears that, just as was the case with QB, the top two are pulling away - Scott and Meggett are the top dogs at running back:
Senior Da'Rel Scott and junior Davin Meggett are atop the depth chart at tailback and both are having a good spring season.
"I think Meggett and Da'Rel are running better than they had last year," Friedgen said. "Davin broke off a 75-yarder today against the first team defense."
Porzel's absence from the spring due to academics has hurt his case, while Adams and Douglas have remained silent for the most part. If the spring has been any indication, expect Scott and Meggett to get the lion's share of carries.
I find the first one a little tough to swallow, because Torrey Smith holds a couple of Maryland records, but Friedgen called Quintin McCree "neck and neck" with the (hypothetical) Heisman candidate. We'll have to let that shake out, but Smith is pretty safe money.
The other ones, however, are legitimate possibilities; Tyler wasn't all that productive as a starter, and Boykins has apparently had a nice little spring. Meanwhile, Fridge called the Cannon-Dorsey battle "tremendous", and had plenty of kind words for Dorsey. I wouldn't expect a dethroning any time soon, but keep your eye peeled - it's a possibility.
Even though it looked like the entire TE position was up for grabs at the spring, TE coach Charles Bankins thought differently: Devonte Campbell was the clearcut winner at the time, and I've heard nothing to contradict it. Lansford Watson has bulked up and accept his role more, and Furstenburg is more active, but they're "chasing Campbell" at this point. I've heard nothing for that to change, so for the moment I'll assume it's the same situation.
Regardless, Maryland does use a pretty decent amount of two tight end sets, so they'll all get some playing time, but Campbell is in good shape to be the official starter.
Competitors: De'Onte Arnett, Zach Kerr
You don't hear much about this battle, so I'm not exactly sure where it's progressed to. In the little news available on it, Friedgen praised Kerr while remaining mum on Arnett. There was recently some talk of Arnett moving to the offensive line, and that's probably not an indication that he's taken a firm hold of the lead at nose tackle. Frankly, it might fit Kerr a little bit better.
This one's a little bit new, but apparently Joe Vellano has been incredibly good in the spring at defensive tackle, and on more than one occasion. Says Friedgen:
He has singled out sophomore defensive tackle Joe Vellano a number of times for his improved play. "He continues to make plays day in and day out," Friedgen said.
Good enough to take over A.J. Francis' job despite his solid in-season play? I can't answer that. All I can say is that Vellano has apparently been very good, and that's surprising. I still think Francis gets the nod with his experience, but this is certainly worth keeping an eye on - it's a developing situation.
Originally, I called it a fight, and apparently they don't want that - apologies, fellas. It's more of a "friendly competition" vibe, it seems. Both McDougle and Hughes have impressed the coaching staff over the spring, so it's as tight as ever. McDougle might have more natural talent, but Hughes is more experienced. They'll likely split time to an extent, but my money is on McDougle right now - as he irons out those problems caused by inexperience, he'll be harder to keep off the field.