Senior Guard Andrew Zeller Looks The Part

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- With his scruffy beard, ripped black Under Armour T-shirt, and some bits of turf residue from Byrd Stadium still on him after a practice one morning this month, senior right guard Andrew Zeller looked the part of grizzled, elder statesman of the Terps offensive line.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- With his scruffy beard, ripped black Under Armour T-shirt, and some bits of turf residue from Byrd Stadium still on him after a practice one morning this month, senior right guard Andrew Zeller looked the part of grizzled, elder statesman of the Maryland offensive line.

Zeller, perhaps the one true constant up front after the Terps have ushered in a bunch of fresh faces and shuffled the deck some positionally this month in spring camp, will anchor the right guard spot again in the fall as Maryland realigns for the future.

By said fall, it is expected that redshirt freshman Derwin Gray will hold down the left tackle spot; likely Ryan Doyle left guard; either senior Stephen Grommer (or more likely) upstart redshirt freshman Brendan Moore center; Zeller, a two-year starter and “mauler” type at right guard; and for now junior Michael Dunn at right tackle, that is if redshirt freshman Damian Prince doesn’t overtake him by the 2015 season.

So keeping things together during this transition state is the Pennsylvania native Zeller, who also looks the part of US Marshalls Service, where he has interned while at UMD and hopes to work someday.

And the emphasis for Zeller and the unit is getting stronger and nastier in the run game, which lacked often last year, while pass-pro was solid. It’s also been simply a function of several younger Terps offensive linemen getting bigger and stronger in the weight room and maturing up physically.

Randy Edsall’s new emphasis on bulk and strength, and not so much quickness and speed as in the past, has gone in effect this winter in strength and conditioning. Zeller said it has started with friendly competitions in the weight room, where before it wasn’t much encouraged and records were taken off the walls.

“This whole winter, as an offensive line and a unit, we have really come together and we have spent a lot of time together, and we have spent a lot of time in the weight room,” Zeller said. “This off-season, Coach [Greg] Studrawa and Coach [Randy] Edsall decided it would be best for the offensive line to compete in the weight room. So we have every offensive lineman in the weight room at the same time instead of separating it by class schedule.”

They awake each morning at 5 a.m., arrive at 6 a.m., and “we’re all in here doing our workouts, which has allowed us to push each other more than any other time. We can push each other, and that has allowed us to make big gains in the weight room in the five weeks that we had allotted to us this winter,” Zeller said.

Zeller said the spring is huge as so many jobs are up for battle. He said that has risen the competitiveness considerably “as we have several teams [depth] now, and several seniors. In the past we have had only 1-2 main contributors But this year we will have myself, Ryan Doyle, Evan Mulrooney and Stephen Grommer, all four of us.

"And we have taken the underclassmen under our wings, and that has allowed them to make strides. By having several spread throughout the meeting room, you are going to have a senior next to a younger guy every time and can help him.”

But the biggest emphasis has to be the run block element, where Zeller wants to lead the group in getting more downfield. Terps’ backs had little daylight last night, part a function of the line, some of it on the backs not being able to create much on their own consistently.

Zeller said it starts in the weight room, where only “3-4 guys are under 300 pounds now,” he said, “I mean a lot of guys put on weight this off-season and upped all of our goal weights. A lot of guys are putting up better numbers than they did five weeks ago.”

Zeller said it’s the one thing that sticks in their craw the most, running the ball, “as Coach Stud wants us to be able to no matter what run, a run play and get four yards regardless,” Zeller said. “That’s one thing we are preaching right now to get the run game better.”

The lineman noted that footwork and body control continue to be his own key points of emphasis “and having short steps instead of long steps to get more over-extended.”

Zeller also likes the young pups as well, Gray, Moore, and Prince, where he seem them a lot more attentive in the film room and the carry-over to the field.

“And they are asking questions you would not expect young guys to be asking,” Zeller said. “They have come a long way and have made big strides.”

Zeller mentioned the emphasis in the Big Ten remains being more physical and becoming better technicians, which Studrawa has preached since last year, he said.

Zeller is among the Terps most aggressive offensive lineman. He’s just simply had to combine better technique with his brawn and nasty streak to become a more complete trench-man. Doyle and Dun are both swing guys, with the ability to play either side and either position, which they have in the past. Meanwhile, the youngsters are climbing more and more each day, while the one constant remains Zeller on the right side.

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