Left tackle Justin Gilbert was show a lot of promise in 2010 before he injured his leg in Saturdays loss to West Virginia. An MRI yesterday showed an ACL tear, resulting in the loss of the offensive lines anchor for the remainder of the season.
Justin [Gilbert] was really playing well for us, Friedgen said at his Tuesday press conference. Everybody has injuries. We cant afford to lose anymore [players].
Nobody knows what the loss will feel like more than running back DaRell Scott. He acknowledged Gilbert was a do-it-all player for the Terps; a real key to their success in the rushing and passing game.
He was doing everything for us – he could protect, he could get out and block for us. He was a dual threat for us. He was helping us out with whatever the game plan was, Scott said.
And now, Friedgens greatest fears are becoming a reality. With Gilbert out, he had to reshuffle his offensive line, plugging in a redshirt freshman, Pete DeSouza – a move he described as his major concern.
DeSouza will be taking over for J.R. Dill, who will be sliding from right tackle to replace Gilbert on the left side. However, the team seems confident that altered lineup will be sufficient against Florida International come Saturday.
Definitely its a blow for us, but I think its also an opportunity for Pete DeSouza to step up and show hes done a great job since camp, wide receiver Torrey Smith said. For his first time [against West Virginia], I think he did a pretty good job.
The redshirt freshman earned praise from his head coach for his fill-in job against the Mountaineers. Friedgen added he had a good practice yesterday, and he hopes it can carry over against the Golden Panthers.
Offensive line coach Tom Brattan said DeSouza is coming along and embraced his plunge into a starting role. But DeSouza is stepping in; Dill is making a transition that his coach believes is quite the challenge.
You rave at [Redskins offensive tackle] Stephon Heyer playing both right and left [tackle], or [Baltimore Ravens tackle] Jared Gaither being able to play both right and left [tackle] – its like two different positions, Brattan said.
Fortunately for the Terps, Dill has experience at the position. He played left tackle when he first arrived at Maryland and at times last season, according to Brattan. Its not totally alien, he added.
Another notable injury for the Terps is linebacker Darin Drakeford, who underwent an MRI on his shoulder. Drakeford is ruled out for Saturdays game.
As for quarterbacks Jamarr Robinson and Danny OBrien, both expected to play, according to their head coach. OBrien, however, will be playing through pain.
The best thing we can do for him is rest him. He told me yesterday he was better than he was last Monday, Friedgen said. How long is it going to take for him to be 100 percent? I dont know – its a high ankle sprain.
Although there was no word on Robinsons shoulder, his favorite target was quick to suggest hed be just fine. After all, this is the game of football.
[The quarterbacks are] banged up. Its football. There are not too many people that are 100 percent Saturdays. I feel like Jamarrs a tough guy; hell grind it out, Smith said.
And in football, nobody is ever really healthy until springtime. Heck, ask Bill Belichick how his quarterback feels. Tom Bradys been a mainstay on the Patriots injury report for years now. Like Brady, the Terps quarterbacks will out there for game time.