Feature photo by Connor Mount.
The Maryland Terrapins football team released its first depth chart of the season Monday in preparation for the season opener against Howard on Saturday.
The depth chart is a formality and does not change the coaching staff’s ideal distribution of playing time. Head coach DJ Durkin has been adamant that the team will rotate players frequently at running back and on the offensive and defensive lines.
Some of this week’s starters could find themselves coming off the bench later in the season as the staff explores what matchups and personnel combinations are best suited for the competition. Durkin said he would not hesitate to shift the focus of the offense on a weekly basis.
“We’re open to all options,” Durkin said at Tuesday’s press conference. “Something I’ve said to the staff many times is that we’re going to do whatever it takes to win games. We’re going to figure each week what gives us the best opportunity to win. If that means playing more than one quarterback at a time, running the ball 70 times or throwing 60 times, then we’ll go with what we feel gives us the best chance to win.”
Ty Johnson will start Week 1 at running back, the position Durkin thinks has the most depth on the team.Johnson beat out senior transfer Trey Edmunds, senior Kenneth Goins and freshman Jake Funk. Senior Wes Brown is suspended for the team’s first three games.
“Ty’s been a consistent guy in terms of his running ability,” Durkin said. “He’s done a good job with ball security. He’s a guy that can really put a foot in the ground and take it the distance. Ty is a good pass protector, he’s really worked on that, improved on that. And he’s good out of the backfield. So, he’s kind of the total package.”
The other running backs will be used in different packages to change up the style of offense and the pace of play.
No matter who lines up in the backfield, starting center Brendan Moore is excited to clear paths for them.
“Oh, it’s really gonna be awesome,” Moore said. “We have endless, endless talent at the running back position. I trust any of those guys, even the freshmen, really, I trust any of those guys to do what needs to be done.”
Complimenting Moore on the offensive line will be Michael Dunn at left tackle, Mike Minter at left guard, Maurice Shelton at right guard and Damian Prince at right tackle.
They will be in charge of giving Perry Hills time to throw to starting wide receivers D.J. Moore, Malcolm Culmer, DeAndre Lane and William Likely. Derrick Hayward and Avery Edwards are both listed as first stringers at tight end.
The defensive lineup will also change a lot throughout the season. Strongside linebacker Jalen Brooks said that the team’s defensive athletes are being trained to learn the role of multiple positions for each play.
“They’re cross-training all of us,” the junior said. “So that’s helping us all understand the defense better.”
Brooks has been working at multiple linebacker spots and with defensive linemen, as well as the cornerbacks, depending on the defensive scheme.
“I’m just happy that they trust me enough to play all those positions,” Brooks said.
Shane Cockerille hopped from fullback to quarterback last year and now to linebacker for this season. Brooks, Jermaine Carter and Cockerille are listed at the linebacker spots.
The line is occupied by Roman Braglio on the edge, Kingsley Opara and Cavon Walker up the middle and Jesse Aniebonam at the new end/backer hybrid “buck” position.
In the brand new secondary, it will be Alvin Hill and J.C. Jackson on the corners and Darnell Savage and Denzel Conyers playing safety.