With Maryland men’s and women’s basketball eliminated from the postseason, it’s unofficially officially football season. The Terps are back on the gridiron, holding the first of 15 spring practices Tuesday afternoon. It’s the first spring camp of the Mike Locksley era, and he’s as optimistic as you’d expect at this time of year.
Reporters were only allowed to watch the first few minutes, and then we went into what’s apparently the visiting media room, where Locksley spoke with us after practice. As Locksley said himself, we don’t know a lot after one practice. The depth chart is a long way from forming, and none of Maryland’s 2019 recruits and only a couple of its new additions are in spring camp. So questions like “who will play quarterback?” will linger well past the spring game on April 27.
But here’s a little bit of what we do know.
- While Maryland’s two newest transfers—quarterback Josh Jackson and tight end Tyler Mabry—are still taking classes at their previous schools, former Virginia Tech wide receiver Sean Savoy is in College Park, and now he’s playing cornerback. “We made the switch when he transferred in,” Locksley said, citing Maryland’s high number of wide receivers and lower number of corners (Savoy did play both ways in high school). Maryland is applying for a waiver that would make Savoy immediately eligible, but that process hasn’t yet finished.
- Linebacker Keandre Jones is also here and practicing. It’s too early to tell how much of an impact he’ll be able to make with the Terps, but the Ohio State grad transfer is drawing high praise already. “He’s a kid that, when you watch him throughout winter conditioning, was first in all the drills and just brings tremendous effort,” Locksley said. “I like having a guy that comes from a winning program that has been a part of being successful.”
- Senior cornerback Marcus Lewis, who left the team during last season, is back on the roster and was on the field Tuesday.
- Kasim Hill, who entered the transfer portal in February, is still taking classes and rehabbing at Maryland. Locksley said the two are in daily contact, but he wasn’t sure where Hill’s mind was regarding his playing future.
- When asked if players were held out for injuries Locksley said he didn’t bring his list, but mentioned running back Jake Funk and defensive end Brett Kulka as players who aren’t practicing right now.
- Offensive line drills were the closest to us, and Maryland happened to be practicing in a formation that we’ll call “depth chart in human form.” Jaelyn Duncan, Sean Christie, Johnny Jordan, Terrance Davis and Marcus Minor lined up left to right at the front of the group. TJ Bradley, Spencer Anderson, Ellis McKennie, Evan Gregory and Tyran Hunt slotted behind them. Maryland has three recruits—tackles Mason Lunsford and Marcus Finger and JuCo guard Parris Heath—joining the fold in the summer, and it’ll be interesting to see if any can play their way onto the two-deep.
- Locksley doesn’t plan to call offensive plays, leaving those duties to offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery. But the Terps’ head coach will still be heavily involved in the implementation of his offensive system, which is the same one he ran at Alabama. “I’ll use my expertise to help shape it, gameplan it, and then Scottie will be the guy calling plays,” Locksley said.
Maryland has a couple more open practices this week, so we’ll see what else we learn in the short term. In the longer term, definitely expect some defections; I currently have Maryland at 88 scholarships, and that’s assuming punter Wade Lees doesn’t randomly hop back on board (he has one more year of eligibility and is still at the school pursuing a graduate degree). With a new coaching staff, everyone on the current roster theoretically has a clean slate, but a few might see the writing on the wall by the end of the spring.
We’re a long, long way from Week 1, and there should be only so much taken away from these next five weeks. But for a new coach like Locksley, spring practice is an especially important period. So far, he says, it’s off to a good start.