One of the players with the most potential for stardom on the Maryland defense is safety Kenny Tate. Tate, who will be a junior next season, was a starter in the Terps' secondary for most of last year, and played in all 13 games as a freshman.
"I had my games," he said. "Some games I rushed real well, some games I covered real well, but I still feel like I haven't put everything together yet in a whole game, so I've got stuff to work on. [I need to work on] just seeing the ball, quickness, getting out of breaks, cuts, things like that, and you can always work on your pass moves and getting past offensive linemen."
Earlier in this series, we saw linebacker Alex Wujciak be extremely confident about the Terps' outlook this season, hoping for and expecting an ACC Title game berth. Tate, however, took that to another level.
"I'm very confident," he said. "We're a different team than last year. For the team, I feel like if we come out and do what we have to do, I feel like we will be in a New Year's Day bowl. That was one of our goals for this year."
Joining Tate at the safety position this year will be Antwine Perez, a transfer from USC who will get his first chance as a starter for the Terps. Tate says that the two have different skill sets that will only help each other and the team.
"I think we complement each other just because we just play loose," he said. "We've got a good bond off the field. Last year's defense was pretty close, but this year's defense might even be closer. That bond has really helped us. [Perez is] able to sit back and he can come up and make a big hit on somebody while I'm sitting there covering him with my long arms and that complements me. I'm a big target out there, covering those receivers so you can't see [Perez] and if the receivers do get past me then I've got Perez right there for the big hit."
Tate mentioned certain players on the Terps that have impressed him during spring practice so far, including two receivers and one name that has been brought up often this year.
"The receivers are bringing it," he said. "Ronnie [Tyler] and LaQuan [Williams] are always gonna bring it, we switch off every day going against each other, and that's what's gonna make us better. David Mackall has done really well, the linebackers are flying around, but they don't really know what they're doing yet."
Tate also emphasized how much more comfortable the Terps are now with Don Brown's defense, saying that the team knows "every play".
"We know the whole defense. Every time he puts something out there we're all ready for it, and if we're not comfortable with something we go right to him."
Coach Friedgen expects Tate to have a great year for the Terps, saying that he wants "Kenny to have a breakout year, take it to the next level and make plays with his range." Tate is ready for the challenge and should be giving Terps fans quite a treat to watch in the secondary.
Better Know A Terp - Kenny Tate
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