COLLEGE PARK, Md. - With spring practice set to begin on Saturday, offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming workouts.
Locksley and Stewart were joined by John Dunn (recruiting coordinator/tight ends), Keith Dudzinski (inside linebackers), Lyndon Johnson (assistant head coach/outside linebackers) and Andre Powell (special teams coordinator/running backs) among the media contingent.
At a press gathering on Friday, head coach Randy Edsall expressed his belief that this spring will bring fun and competitive practices. Locksley echoed that sentiment on Wednesday.
“Anytime you can create the competition of having guys pushing each other from your one’s to your two’s, it can only make you better,” Locksley said. “We’ve got some things to clean up and we’ll use the spring to emphasize those things.”
The third-year coordinator is especially excited about the return of running back Wes Brown and wide receiver Marcus Leak, who rejoined the team this semester.
“I’m sure both of those guys are biting at the bit to get back out. A lot of guys don’t understand what it’s like to have football taken away from them and the experience that they went through [was a challenge] and they’ve both shared that with their teammates,” Locksley said. “They both played integral roles two years ago in our offense and they allow us to have two more weapons on offense. It’s nice to have them both back.”
From Stewart’s perspective, the mindset of his players will be an important aspect throughout the spring.
“I want everybody to play disciplined, play physical and play smart. If everybody plays like that, I expect everyone to get better. That’s what we expect out of every player.”
Stewart also nailed down a few key areas he expects his unit to improve on in his third year at the helm.
“A lot of people use the spring for a lot of different things,” Stewart said. “Our focus is going to be becoming better tacklers and playing better red-zone defense. We’re going to get better in other areas, but those are our two interests.”
The defense will also see the return of some key pieces, including defensive back Jeremiah Johnson, who missed most of last season due to injury.
“We’re excited to get him back out there. We are excited for him to help lead us from a secondary standpoint,” Stewart said.
In addition, Stewart relishes the opportunity to help develop the players experiencing their first season of spring ball.
“The thing about the spring that you love is that you get a chance with guys that were freshmen last year to get the extra work so fall won’t be as tough for them. You get 15 practices, but you also get a lot of meetings.”
Spring practice will culminate with the annual Spring Game, which will take place at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium on Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m.