Maryland true freshman Shawn Petty is a linebacker-turned-quarterback by necessity, but now the Terps are also in need of a new starting linebacker.
Eight players -- all of them potential starters -- have been lost to season-ending injuries. The latest is senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who tore his ACL last week in the loss to Georgia Tech. One of four team captains, Hartsfield is Maryland’s leading tackler and ranks 10th among active players in career tackles with 338. That also ranks 15th in school history.
Sophomore L.A Goree received an immediate promotion into the starting lineup heading into Saturday’s game at No. 13 Clemson. Goree missed two games with an injury this year, and he didn’t play in two other games, per the coach’s decision. He started seven games in 2011, but this will be his first start this season. He has nine tackles this year and caused one fumble.
“Lorne is a guy that’s played for us and has played well when he’s been in there,” coach Randy Edsall said. “Now he gets the starter’s role and gets an expanded role. We think he’ll do a good job. We feel bad for Demetrius that he’s not going to be in there. He meant a lot to our team in terms of what he did on the field, but the leadership he brought and now he’s going to have to help us lead from the sidelines. It’s a tremendous blow to him and our team, but we know Lorne has the ability to step up and go in and produce the way Demetrius did. He’s going to have that opportunity now.”
Edsall said Hartsfield’s injury wasn’t a huge hit to the depth at linebacker. Alex Twine has moved from outside to inside, Bradley Johnson is now the backup to Cole Farrand and Avery Thompson is the backup to Kenny Tate. Edsall said he won’t change his plans to redshirt any players.
“We’re still good there,” Edsall said. “At this point in time we’ll do what we have to. … We’ll just have to make some other adjustments. Hopefully we won’t have to, but if we did because of more injuries, we would make those types of adjustments.”