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9 questions facing Maryland ahead of 2015 spring practice

One for each position unit!

Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Maryland football's 2015 spring practice is scheduled to start March 2 and run through April 11, although the increasing amount of snow in the area may push that back a few days. Three new players on the roster should be practicing -- defensive lineman Oseh Saine, defensive back D'Andre Payne and punter Nicholas Pritchard -- but there's plenty more to keep track of as the Terps head into spring practice No. 5 under head coach Randy Edsall.

The Terps' new 4-3 defense under defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski will be one of the main storylines in camp, but there's plenty to talk about ahead of Maryland's second Big Ten season. We've broken down the biggest question facing each position unit ahead of the six-week camp, and will continue to provide coverage throughout spring practice.

1. Is Caleb Rowe the answer at quarterback?

Maryland may still try to bring in a graduate transfer who can compete for the quarterback job immediately, but for now it appears Rowe will be getting first-team snaps. He's a better passer than C.J. Brown was but a far less capable runner, and we'll have to see if Maryland chooses to utilize the deep ball more with Rowe under center. We won't get a real answer to this one yet, though: Rowe will miss the entire spring while he continues to recover from last season's injury, so the focus will shift towards Shane Cockerille and Perry Hills for the No. 2 job.

2. What impact will new running backs coach Terry Richardson have?

Maryland has long used two-running back systems under Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley. With four talented playmakers returning to the unit, there's certainly no reason to think that will change this year. The Terrapins were not able to produce a consistent playmaker with running backs coach Andre Powell, but Richardson's experience in the NFL and with college stars Donald Brown, Jordan Todman and Duke Johnson could provide a different background to help unlock Wes Brown's potential. Brandon Ross, Jacquille Veii and Albert Reid will also be in the mix for carries.

3. Who replaces the production lost at wide receiver?

Top two receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long are both gone for the NFL, with senior Marcus Leak the only returning starter. Brothers Levern and Taivon Jacobs return to the fold and figure to be favorites for starting jobs, but sophomore Juwann Winfree played well at the end of last year and has put on weight from his freshman year.

4. Will tight end become a bigger part of the offense?

It's clear Maryland would like it to be -- the staff continues to target high-profile tight end prospects, but the Terps weren't able to consistently utilize the position with C.J. Brown under center. With the more pass-heavy Rowe at quarterback now, Maryland may target players like Andrew Isaacs, P.J. Gallo and Derrick Hayward more in the offense. Isaacs is likely the favorite for the job, but Hayward has tremendous growth potential.

5. How far along are the young offensive linemen?

Former blue-chip prospects Damian Prince and Derwin Gray have each put on weight, but are they ready to command starting jobs? They'll likely be in contention for them, along with fellow redshirt freshman Brendan Moore. Michael Dunn and Andrew Zeller are the closest things to starting locks that Maryland has on the line, and there's plenty of playing time available to be won.

6. How good could the new defensive end pairing be?

Former WILL linebackers Yannick Ngakoue and Jesse Aniebonam have switched to the defensive line, presumably to form one of the most talented defensive end duos in the conference. As for who plays at tackle between them, that's another good question -- especially when searching for enough strength inside. Kingsley Opara and David Shaw have both put on a considerable amount of weight, and we could see one of them pair up with someone like Quinton Jefferson on the inside.

7. What will the linebacker roles be?

With all three players at the position moving to the defensive line, the WILL linebacker position is probably gone from Maryland's scheme. With a 4-3 scheme looking likely, the Terps will have to reconfigure the linebacker roles, with Cavon Walker, Jermaine Carter Jr., Jalen Brooks and Abner Logan among the most likely names to compete for a starting job.

8. Will the secondary finally put it together?

Maryland does not yet have a defensive backs coach, but there's plenty of talent and experience in the unit. Sean Davis moved to cornerback at the end of the year. If he stays there as expected, it helps answer some questions at that position (Will Likely firmly has the other spot locked down). At safety, graduate senior A.J. Hendy (who missed last year with a suspension) has an opportunity to finally live up to his four-star billing, as Maryland's top recruit from the 2011 class should be the favorite to start alongside Anthony Nixon.

9. What's the next frontier for Brad Craddock?

Maryland's Groza-award winning kicker made a national impression last year, but there's still something left to work on his game: kickoffs. Craddock recorded a touchback on just 38.7 percent of his kicks last season, ranking seventh in the Big Ten. As perhaps the strongest leg in the entire conference, there's really no real reason why he shouldn't be ranked towards the top. If he can improve there, he could grab the rare distinction of being a kicker drafted by the NFL.