Redshirt Tracking: Maryland Plays Four True Freshmen in Opener

COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Quarterback Danny O'Brien #5 of the Maryland Terrapins hands the ball off to running back Justus Pickett #44 during the first half against the Miami Hurricanes at Byrd Stadium on September 5, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

It's been several days since the excitement of Monday, which gives us some time to do some less-interesting-but-still-noteworthy stuff, like reminding everyone that four true freshmen burnt their redshirts against the Hurricanes.

Needlessly wasted redshirts - I know they aren't entirely wasted, but you know what I mean - are one of my pet peeves, and always have been, so rest assured I'll be keeping close count of this. Remember when Friedgen burnt ten redshirts in the 2-10 year? Gah. And remember that he came thisclose to burning Danny O'Brien's redshirt in the last game of a lost season. Yikes.

Anyway, luckily enough, the true freshmen who got snaps in the opener were all fairly reasonable, and most were probably just matters of time given the fact that they were in the two-deep on the depth chart.

Justus Pickett is the big name, and was the first true freshman on the field (he did return the opening kickoff, after all). He returned 5 kickoffs, though none for any more than 17 yards, and added a surprising 6 carries for 23 yards. It's clear that the staff has plans for Pickett for the entire year, so no problem with this. I imagine his carries will diminish when D.J. Adams returns, but I wouldn't expect them to evaporate entirely; up-tempo spread attacks rotate players a lot, and Pickett will get his looks, I assume. As far as the kick returns go ... he should be safe, but the leash will be short after a pretty lackluster game there.

Keith Bowers, the former three-star DE from Florida, was the next, and much like Pickett he got a lot of time, even before Isaiah Ross went out of the game with an injury. Ross sounds like he's done for at least a few weeks, and in the interim Bowers will be the starter, unless the depth chart gets reworked. Obviously, another reasonable decision.

Fullback Tyler Cierski also burnt his redshirt, which was no surprise, but I can't recall him getting more than a snap or two. It doesn't appear that Crowton's scheme will make much use of a fullback, which is a shame given that everyone who's seen Cierski has been impressed.

The last true freshman was Alex Twine, who had to come in on the second-to-last series after Darin Drakeford went off with an injury. That's a real shame; Drakeford seems fine, and barring injury I wouldn't expect Twine to get too many more looks. Given that he was in the two-deep though, it was again inevitable.

No other true freshmen were on the depth chart save punter Nathan Renfro, so I'm not expecting any immediate redshirt burnings unless Edsall decides Ferrara, whose lone punt went an impressive 48 yards, should focus on place-kicking. Still, the injuries to Stinebaugh and Ross have eroded some depth, and you never really know what's going to happen on Maryland's offensive line.

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