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Terps' Stinebaugh Vying For Starting Role

By Matt Zenitz

COLLEGE PARK -- Whether it was on offense, defense or special teams, Perry Hall coach Keith Robinson always knew he could count on Dave Stinebaugh when he needed a big play.

As a senior in 2008, Stinebaugh, a four-year varsity player at Perry Hall, tallied 45 catches for 632 yards and nine touchdowns for the Gators' offense and recorded 75 tackles, seven interceptions and five fumble recoveries for the team's defense. As a junior, he caught 55 passes for 1,035 yards and 16 touchdowns and also intercepted four passes defensively.

During his high school career, Stinebaugh saw time at tight end, wide receiver, linebacker, free safety and even at punter.

"By the time he left, he was almost like having an extra coach out on the field," Robinson said. "In addition to being an extremely talented player, and an ultra-competitive kid, he also has a great understanding of the game. And when we got to crunch time, he was always someone we were calling on to make a play."

Now, Stinebaugh, entering his redshirt sophomore season at the University of Maryland, is looking to instill a similar trust in first-year Terrapins coach Randy Edsall, although he says he is still busy trying to play catch up after missing all of spring practice in April while recovering from shoulder surgery.

The 6-foot-4, 240 pound Stinebaugh, who has focused on tight end with the Terrapins, missed most of last season with knee and shoulder injuries before undergoing shoulder surgery in December.

"It was just exciting to get back with the guys and get back playing again," Stinebaugh said following the Terrapins' first day of preseason practice Tuesday. "After missing a lot of last season and then missing spring, it was just exciting for me to get back on the field and I'm determined to go prove myself now."

Stinebaugh spent the majority of the winter and spring in the training room, going at least twice a day five days per week. And, while his teammates hit the field during spring practice, he spent extra time in the film room and studying Maryland's new playbook.

"I just wanted to get myself mentally prepared even while I couldn't get physically prepared," he said.

Finally healthy, though, Stinebaugh, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds while at Perry Hall, is hoping to earn a substantial role at tight end, whether it's as a starter or even as a backup. He caught three passes for 23 yards during five games last season before getting hurt.

Junior Matt Furstenberg, who started 11 games last year, enters preseason practice atop the Terrapins' depth chart at tight end, but, especially with fellow tight end Will Yeatmen graduating, there appears to be room for Stinebaugh, at the very least, to earn playing time behind Furstenberg.

More than anything, though, Stinebaugh is focused on staying healthy and helping Maryland compete for an ACC championship.

"I just want to be able to play this year with no injuries," Stinebaugh said, "and I also just want to win. Personally, I'd obviously like to play and put up some numbers, but I just want to help the team win and for us to be good. I'll do anything I can to get us to the Orange Bowl. …

"Ultimately, you do want to be a starter, and that's what I'm shooting for, and will do everything I can to get that job. I feel like I bring some versatility to the tight end position, can stretch the field vertically and can just help out the offense in some different ways."

And Edsall, glad to have Stinebaugh back in the mix now, is anxious to see some of that versatility in action during preseason practice while looking to determine just how Stinebaugh fits into this year's Terrapins offense.

"It's great to have him back," Edsall said. "We feel like he's going to be a guy that can help us in what we're going to do offensively. But, as we continue [preseason practice] and continue to see him in action, we'll get a better idea of exactly what we can expect out of him and how we can incorporate him into what we want to do."

Posted Aug. 12, 2011