Young Playmakers Stepping into Larger Role in Maryland Football’s Defense

Maryland football is now under the ten-day mark until its season opener against Buffalo and head coach Mike Locksley and the Terps are now entrenched in prep for game one. “We’re still installing things from a situational standpoint, but really happy with the way they’re pushing through,” Locksley added Wednesday. “We were practicing in the heat of the day. We play early, our first game is at noon so we’ve gotta be prepared to play in this type of heat and I like the way we came out today.”

Maryland will trot out two new starting safeties this fall with Beau Brade and Dante Trader replacing the production generated by Nick Cross and Jordan Mosley one season ago. Locksley also credited Glen Miller and Isaiah Hazel for providing quality depth at safety, but it’s time to shine for a pair of former in-state standouts.

“Beau is now in his junior year but even been more pleased with 13, Glen Miller, as well. He’s added some great depth to that room as well as 14, Isaiah Hazel. Both those two have given us more depth there at the safety position. They’ve both have played limited roles, played special teams, but both the younger safeties in Beau and Dante have done a good job of getting us lined up, making calls” he added. Brade knows he has big shoes to fill and translated that focus into precision through fall camp.

“I think me, Dante [Trader], really the whole safety room, has really come together this offseason. We need to really lead the defense even though we’re probably the youngest and least experienced position group on the defense. I think we’ve shown what we’re capable of throughout camp.”

Maryland has a handful of familiar faces at linebacker this fall, but the trenches will introduce a pair of new names in former Florida State defensive end Quashon Fuller and defensive tackle Henry Chibueze. Senior nose tackle Ami Finau admitted he isn’t teaching Chibueze when it comes to practice every day. “We just kind of feed off each other with the experience he has from Liberty coming here. He used to play [offensive] line so he kind of already understands the game of it and the blocking schemes, so we kind of just teach each other.”

Fuller, meanwhile, will primarily play defensive end this fall and become an asset in run support. “He stands out as a super-twitchy guy. Very athletic and talented.” The two, along with the emergence of guys like Austin Fontaine, Tommy Akingbesote, Taizse Johnson and Tank Booker, have created additional depth in the trenches as Locksley once envisioned. Maryland football’s head coach has routinely cited a four-year plan to build depth in the trenches and added on Wednesday that the staff enters the season “six, seven deep with our interior [defensive] linemen.” Even Kite is seeing the benefits of that plan now coming to fruition.

“When me and Ami [Finau] first got here, we really didn’t have any depth, he added. “We’ve brought in a lot of guys, young guys that are going to be like instant impact on this team so that’s nice just taking the load on us older guys.”

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