Major changes are in store for the Maryland Terrapins football program this upcoming season and new head coach Randy Edsall appears to have a few tricks up his sleeve.
After earning a spot on the All-ACC First Team and finishing last season with 100 tackles (8.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks and three interceptions, safety Kenny Tate will be moving positions yet again.
Originally recruited as a wide receiver from local DeMatha in 2008, the 6'4", 220 pound Tate was converted to a safety before the team’s first practice. Now, for Tate’s 2011 senior campaign, Edsall is making the switch and lining him up at the linebacker position. More specifically, a position known as the "STAR", which is a hybrid of the linebacker and safety that acts mostly as an outside linebacker.
It may seem concerning at first, to hear that an all-conference player predicted to be a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft is making a position switch, but Edsall is confident and Tate is excited about his final collegiate season.
"When you watch the tape of Kenny from a year ago, 80 percent and almost 90 percent of the time he was playing down," Edsall said. "He wasn’t playing back in the deep half. He wasn’t playing quarters, he wasn’t playing a post player. When you take a look at Kenny and you take a look at his abilities, he’s better suited to be a linebacker and he’s better suited to be a linebacker for his future after he’s done playing here."
"Kenny was great," Edsall said. When we sat down and we made these moves and I told Kenny to come in and see me and put my arm around him and told him I had some things to tell him in terms of what we’re going to do. He said ‘That’s good, because you can tell the assistant defensive coordinator what exactly those moves are and what we’re going to be doing.’ I took him into the defensive room and I showed him the depth chart in terms of where we’re going to play him, and he was ecstatic. He said ‘I really like this."
For the upcoming Terps football season, Tate at the "STAR" position is extremely exciting. He’s a great tackler, he has a nose for the football and his size doesn’t go unnoticed for a man with that kind of speed. For the long-term, Tate would, of course, need to pack on some pounds in order to succeed at linebacker in the NFL.
Thanks to Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times for solid reporting, as always.