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What we learned from Maryland football’s spring game

Catch up on some takeaways from the Terps’ annual spring game.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Fans and media got their first look at Maryland football since the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in December Saturday afternoon when it held its annual Red-White Spring Game.

The preliminary — not concrete — No. 1 offense and No. 2 offense played for the red team, with the No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense donning white jerseys.

The red team prevailed, 20-19.

Here are some key takeaways from the scrimmage.

An early look at Maryland’s offensive line for 2023.

When Maryland’s first-team offense took the field on Saturday, it offered a sneak peek at how the Terps’ offensive line may look when their first game comes around in early September.

The red team’s starting offensive line was organized as follows: senior Gottlieb Ayedze at right tackle, senior Corey Bullock at right guard, senior Aric Harris at center, redshirt senior Amelio Moran at left guard and redshirt junior Delmar Glaze at left tackle.

Maryland lost copious offensive linemen from last year’s team, which boasted an experienced presence in the trenches. Left tackle Jaelyn Duncan, right guard Spencer Anderson and center Johari Branch all graduated and left for the NFL. As well, guard Mason Lunsford transferred to LSU. With rising sophomore Coltin Deery also in the transfer portal, Maryland’s offensive line will look a lot different in 2023.

“[Offensive line coach Brian Braswell] has done an awesome job gelling that room together,” redshirt senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa said. “I love how they work ... those guys are, you know, busting their butts and working hard to get better.”

Tyrese Chambers stood out among a talented pass-catching corps.

Last year, Jacob Copeland was named the spring game’s most valuable player after transferring from Florida.

This year, it was another transfer from a school in Florida that made his name known.

Tyrese Chambers, who came to his home state to play for Maryland after two years at Florida International, put together arguably the most impressive individual performance of any player on Saturday en route to being named the game’s most valuable player. He had 37 yards receiving and two touchdowns — one from Tagovailoa and the other from redshirt freshman Cameron Edge.

Chambers hauled in 96 passes for 1,618 yards and 13 touchdowns in two seasons at FIU following a 2019 FCS All-American campaign at Sacred Heart. When the red team took the field, Chambers looked more than fit enough to be out there alongside fellow transfer Kaden Prather, veteran Jeshaun Jones and junior Tai Felton.

“It’s been good. It’s been fun,” Chambers said. “This is a receiver-friendly offense, and for the past couple of years this offense has been running through receivers. So it’s a great opportunity to showcase your talent and win games for this school.”

Other pass-catchers to stand out were redshirt sophomore wideout Robert Smith (two receptions, 51 yards and a touchdown), junior wide receiver Tai Felton (five receptions, 75 yards), Leon Haughton Jr. (three catches for 69 yards) and redshirt freshman tight end Preston Howard (three catches, 61 yards).

“When fall comes, it’s fast. It comes fast. Last year, I came in in the summer, so it was a lot to adjust to. But I feel like this spring, how coach [Locksley] sets it up is real good for us,” Howard said.

Maryland lost Rakim Jarrett, Dontay Demus Jr. and C.J. Dippre in the offseason to either the NFL or transfer portal, so there is plenty of production for new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to recoup. To see the passing attack click early was a welcome sight for the Terps.

“We got to continue to work on, you know, with timing, feel of the routes and stuff like that, but I think, you know, they work hard every day,” Tagovailoa said of his receivers. “They love coming to practice and I love working with this offense and stuff like that. And I think they’re going to make big plays for us.

Two injury scares for defensive backs.

Cincinnati defensive back transfer Ja’Quan Sheppard was one of Maryland’s most highly coveted transfers of the offseason. But, the former Bearcat went down early in the first half Saturday following a collision with Prather on a pass attempt, and he was carted off.

Sheppard, a 2022 All-AAC first-team selection, tripped over Prather and landed awkwardly. He was able to get onto the cart on his own power, with the entire Maryland team out on the sidelines to support him. He gave a thumbs up to the crowd and his teammates on the way out.

Head coach Mike Locksley said after the game that Sheppard was able to make it back to the sideline and was kept out of the rest of the game for precautionary reasons.

Later in the game, senior Tarheeb Still had a collision of his own, tripping on a fallen receiver. He jogged over to the medical tent right after.

Locksley was unable to comment on Still’s status postgame and said that the team is still awaiting news from athletic trainers on his injury.

Additionally, senior safety Beau Brade played the entirety of the game in a non-contact jersey, although his movement wasn’t hampered in any discernible way.

The health of Terps’ defensive back room is a major priority heading into the season, and they’ll have plenty of time to get back to full strength before the season opener on Sept. 2.