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Maryland football Spring Game preview: The big questions for the Terps

Some starting jobs are still up for grabs, as well as numerous other important positions on the two-deep.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Friday is Maryland's Spring Game, everyone's favorite football game that doesn't actually count for anything (besides the Military Bowl). The game begins at 7 p.m. (we'll have more info tomorrow), but what will Maryland fans be looking for? Let's take a look at the most important question each positional unit will be facing Friday.


Who's the backup? Unless something wild has happened during the closed practice sessions, C.J. Brown is pretty safe as the starter, but the backup position is pretty much up for grabs. Randy Edsall has said Caleb Rowe is in the lead for the position, but Perry Hills and even redshirt freshman Shane Cockerille each have a claim for the spot. All four should get snaps Friday.

Running backs

How will the Terps get enough carries around? As it stands, there are four running backs who are in the running for first-team time -- Brandon Ross, Albert Reid, Wes Brown and Jacquille Veii. Most fans probably imagined Ross and Brown were the two most likely to receive the bulk of the carries before spring practice, but reports have Reid and Veii with the first-team in the most recent open practice.

Wide receivers

Who wins the third starting spot? Deon Long and Stefon Diggs are more than firmly entrenched as the starters (and will be performing in individual drills for fans Friday but will not be playing in the game), but the third spot is pretty wide open. Marcus Leak appears to be the front-runner right now, but Amba Etta-Tawo, Taivon Jacobs and Nigel King are all in the running (with Levern Jacobs firmly in the four receiver spot).

Tight ends

Does Maryland have an actual receiving option here? Dave Stinebaugh is gone, and while Maryland rarely used him as a pass-catcher, he came up big when he needed to. Now, P.J. Gallo looks like his probable replacement, but former four-star recruit Andrew Isaacs is trying to get some opportunities as well.

Offensive line

Who claims a spot before the freshmen come in? Derwin Gray and Damian Prince look ready to fight for starting jobs (as does Larry Mazyck, if his paperwork ever gets sorted out), but who can cement their place first? Sal Conaboy looks as solid as anyone at center, but the first unit has had a surprising face in Moise Larose at left tackle. Evan Mulrooney, Andrew Zeller and Michael Dunn are the other players currently playing with the first team.

Defensive line

What happens at nose tackle? Quinton Jefferson and Andre Monroe are the unquestioned starters off the edge, but Darius Kilgo and Keith Bowers are competing for time in the middle. They're two very different players -- Kilgo is much larger (Bowers is a converted end), and it's possible that they'll just be co-starters, trading time situationally. With Nate Clarke injured, it's important that both are effective this season.


Who provides depth inside? Jalen Brooks and Jermaine Carter, Jr. are both hurt, while Abner Logan is suspended for the semester. That leaves Brock Dean as the only listed backup to L.A. Goree and Cole Farrand in the middle. Alex Twine moved inside to help with injuries last season, could he make the move permanently? There's certainly enough depth at SAM with Matt Robinson and Cavon Walker, so it would not surpise.


Who steps up at cornerback? Dexter McDougle and Isaac Goins are gone, while Jeremiah Johnson continues to recover from injury. Will Likely has continued to impress this spring, and will undoubtedly be one of the two starters at the position, but can someone like Alvin Hill provide the consistency needed at corner? Jarrett Ross and converted safety Undray Clark are other options, and the Terps would certainly prefer not to have to rely on true freshman Daniel Ezeagwu so early in his career.

Special teams

Who returns the kicks? This is one of them good problems, as the Terps have an absolute gluttony of playmakers to choose from at the two returner positions. Stefon Diggs is the obvious choice, but with his injury troubles last year the Terps may want to pull him from that duty. Will Likely, Jacquille Veii, Jarrett Ross, Levern Jacobs, DeAndre Lane, Taivon Jacobs and Joe Riddle are other options, but some true freshmen may make a push.