Veterans leading the way through Maryland’s spring practices

Maryland wrapped up its first week of spring ball with its first padded practice on Saturday. As head coach Mike Locksley mixes in the new and old faces in preparation for the 2023 season, the running back room returns everyone from a season ago as the newly-minted veterans build on last season’s success that amassed the most rushing yards since 2019.

“It feels good coming in here knowing that even on a bad day, you got somebody that can help you out and that’s what it’s all about because to win in the Big Ten at the running back position, it’s not gonna take one guy, it’s not gonna take two guys. It’s gonna take every single one of us,” running back Roman Hemby said. “So we have a close-knit friendship, brotherhood. Going out there every day and playing with one another is definitely a special feeling.”

The biggest difference? There’s a change coaching the position with Latrell Scott announced as Elijah Brooks’ replacement one day prior to the start of spring ball. Transitioning into a new gig and learning his personnel is step one as spring ball gives Scott and the players a chance to get comfortable among each other.

“I want to make sure I can get in and learn the system, learn our players,” Scott added. “My biggest thing for them is I want to know what I can do to help them. It’s a very talented running back room and I want to kind of enhance their strengths and kind of correct some of the weaknesses. It’s just kind of been a learning process.”

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After the first practice, running back Roman Hemby noticed slight changes. “Just new terminology. It’s different fundamentals sometimes, just things that I feel like even if it was a still old coaching staff we would do, updating things and we always want to find ways to advance our offense and take that next step.”

Maryland will once again lean on a committee approach with Hemby leading the way after finishing third among all FBS freshmen in yards from scrimmage (1,287) and had the second-most rushing touchdowns by a freshman in program history. Still, it’s just his second round of spring ball but Hemby enters the spring as a key piece on offense with several new pieces getting acclimated in College Park. Hemby is adjusting this spring to shoulder the load this fall.

“Just taking the little things that I learned throughout the way. Rehabbing more often, just keeping my legs under me so that I can play those snaps late in November when my body starts to wear down and things like that,” he added. “Just elevating my game to where I can just keep bettering myself to help this team.”

The cornerback room, meanwhile, remains largely the same while former Cincinnati cornerback Jaquan Sheppard is in the midst of his first spring ball as a Terp. “I’m the oldest in the room now, me and Quan, so I really just gotta lead the young guys,” senior Tarheeb Still said. “Make sure we’re prepared. Make sure they give effort every day, and. Just go out there and just have fun with it really. Cause those guys, they really showed me a lot. They looked away from me. So I’m gonna do the same for the young guys.”

Still will likely man the slot again this season, but in a room that produced a pair of likely Day One and Two selections in the upcoming NFL Draft, there’s added motivation to end his career on a high note. “It just gets me going. It makes me, go hard. I think about that in the back of my mind,” he added. After crediting the secondary’s communication one season ago, Still will look to lead the next wave of cornerbacks with Gavin Gibson, Corey Coley and Lionell Whitaker in place to solidify the depth.

“Really it starts with habits…we’ll go watch film and then really you gotta get to know a guy, get comfortable with him, and then spend a lot of time, and then you can just, over time, they’ll come along and learn. But really it just starts with the little stuff like building good habits.”

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