Depth, Experience Plentiful at Tight End
April 13, 2012
By Anna LaBonte, Maryland Athletics Media Relations
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Under new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, the Maryland football team is adjusting to a high octane, pro-style offense. The veteran tight ends have thrived under the new system, bringing praise from the entire coaching staff.
"I think [the tight ends] are going to be one of the things that's going to help us this year," said head coach Randy Edsall. "I've been pleased with what I've seen so far with Matt Furstenburg, Devonte Campbell and Ryan Schlothauer. You've got a chance -- if you want to -- to have three tight ends in there helping you and doing things for you. I think that's a bonus."
Furstenburg leads the Terps as one of the top tight ends in the ACC. Entering his third season as a starter, Furstenburg ranked third in the conference in receptions per game (2.6) and receiving yards per game (29.0) among tight ends last year. His performance against Clemson, in which he had five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns, is evidence of his play-making ability.
Campbell, who is set to accompany Furstenburg in the team's two tight-end sets, had a pair of touchdown catches last season. Campbell has played in 17 games over the past two years, and looks to bring a physical presence to the field.
"The good thing about our group is we have a veteran group," said tight ends coach John Dunn. "They've played quite a bit of football here."
Schlothauer and Dave Stinebaugh round out the quartet of returning tight ends. Schlothauer has seen playing time mostly on special teams the past two years, and Stinebaugh has been limited by injuries and is restricted this spring, but both look to have an impact on the offense in the fall.
Dunn is one of the reasons the tight ends have adjusted to Locksley's offense so well. The Terps have had three position coaches in four seasons, but Dunn is returning for his second season.
"We've built a strong relationship with him over the past year and a half now," said Schlothauer. "We know what he expects of us, and he knows each and every one of us and our personalities. He knows when to put the right one of us in at the right time."
Locksley's new system has taken adjusting for the entire offense, but the tight ends are enjoying the challenge. The fast pace of the offense is a welcome change for the quartet.
"Right now we're a lot more aggressive when we come off the ball," said Schlothauer. "There's a lot more hitting and running."
The tight ends are also a versatile unit.
"For the tight ends, we're spread out a lot more than we were previously," added Campbell. "We're doing a lot more receiver stuff. Schematically it's kind of the same, but with Locksley's little wrinkle on it. It's slightly different, but it's a lot of the same things, just packaged differently."
The tight ends are finding added responsibilities due to their experience. Campbell, Furstenburg and Schlothauer are entering their senior year while Stinebaugh is going into his junior year with the Terps. The group is often looked to as leaders both on and off the field, expected to help teammates adapt to the new offense.
"We have a lot more responsibility because we're the oldest position in the offense," said Campbell. "We have to stretch the field and help the offense any way we can, but the biggest responsibility we have is being leaders this year."
With the majority of the tight ends graduating after the 2012 season, they intend to leave everything on the field to achieve their goal.
"Win," said Schlothauer of their goal. "Win, one game at a time, then win the next game."