Starting strong safety Matt Robinson, who missed all but three games last season due to a shoulder injury, has hurt his other shoulder and will be out three weeks, including the season opener against William & Mary.
Robinson had a strong true freshman campaign in 2010, surprisingly playing in all 13 games and recording 29 tackles with two forced fumbles. Last year, he started the first three games of the year and had 36 tackles with two forced fumbles before he was sidelined.
Wah. The hits keep coming (the injury apparently happened during the same practice that C.J. Brown suffered his torn ACL). The Terps have a few options for a short-term replacement.
Robinson and Eric Franklin are expected to make up a experienced safety duo for the Terps, with Robinson serving as the hard-hitter and Franklin leaning more towards coverage. That combination will have to wait at least another week to re-unite in game action.
On the depth chart, Robinson's backups are walk-on Clarence Claiborne, true freshman Sean Davis, and Zach Dancel. Dancel is ineligible this season after transferring from New Mexico, and it's unlikely the Terps will start a walk-on in their opener (seeing as it might be their best chance to win a game this year), so Davis is the favorite out of that group.
Davis has been working with the first-teamers in practice, but there are a few other possible options.
Jeremiah Johnson, who is battling for time at cornerback, has reportedly told defensive coordinator Brian Stewart that he can play safety if the team needs depth. Johnson has been practicing there, and that certainly suggests that Isaac Goins is winning that position battle.
Undray Clark and A.J. Hendy are also possibilities, but while both can play safety, they're better suited for Franklin's role.
Judging by the timetable, Robinson could be back for the Terps' second game, at Temple. If not, he will make his return against Connecticut on September 15.