COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The trio of connections to York County is easy to see.
Yet, the three local names currently involved with the University of Maryland football team are very much going through their own set of challenges.
There's the head coach, Randy Edsall, a Glen Rock native and Susquehannock grad entering his fourth year as the Terps' head coach. Edsall finally put together a winning season a year ago for Maryland and was rewarded by the Terps transferring from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten Conference this season.
There's Red Lion grad Andrew Zeller, the behemoth redshirt junior who earned the starting gig at right guard in Maryland's last four games a season ago and who is now expected to start in Maryland's opening game — Aug. 30 against James Madison — for the first time in his college career.
And, finally, there's former Spring Grove standout David Shaw, a freshman who arrived in College Park six weeks ago and is still adjusting to being in a large classroom alongside other students after having been home-schooled his entire life.
For the first time Monday afternoon, all three were present for Maryland's media day inside the Gossett Football Team House, which sits attached to an end zone of Byrd Stadium, Maryland's home field.
Edsall, while impressed with what he's seen out of Shaw in the team's first eight practices, made it sound doubtful Shaw will see the field this season considering he's third in line behind two experienced defensive nose tackles.
Zeller, meanwhile, is one of several returning starters on the offensive side, but still needs to improve in some areas.
"He's getting better as he continues to improve his technique," Edsall said of Zeller. "And that's the biggest thing we're harping on him about. When he is technically sound he's very good. When he has some flaws in his technique he just becomes average."
When it comes to strength, though, Zeller said he shouldn't have a problem matching up with the bigger defensive linemen in the Big Ten. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 305-pounder said he set personal bests in the weight room this offseason by squatting 560 pounds, power-cleaning 375 pounds and benching 360 pounds.
"The strength-and-conditioning coach told me if football is played in a phone booth I'd win every time,'" Zeller said. "But it's the technique I have to perfect."
Zeller is part of a unit that finished 83rd in rushing offense last season, a stat some pundits feel is Maryland's biggest question mark this year despite bringing back nearly every starter on both sides of the ball. The hiring of new offensive line coach Greg Studrawa should help in this area, though. Studrawa spent the past seven seasons coaching at LSU.
Still, the Terps' tough schedule and questions in the running game has led ESPN to put Maryland ninth in the conference in its preseason power poll.
"Everybody is looking at us as the underdog," Zeller said. "We have nothing to do but prove ourselves. Nobody is going to give us anything."
— Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.