Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin has done what he can to alleviate the problem of his incredible shrinking tight end unit.
The best solution? An increase in the use of 10 personnel (one back, no tight ends) groups.
For a tight end-based offense, though, there's only so much that can happen.
"It's still pretty grueling," tight end Matt Furstenburg said. "For two guys, it's pretty tough --- for any camp."
But that's what the Terrapins dealt with for much of the last two weeks. Furstenburg and redshirt freshman Dave Stinebaugh remained relatively healthy. Walk-on Ryan Schlothauer dealt with some nagging ailments.
And Devonte Campbell and Will Yeatman will miss Maryland's Sept. 6 opener against Navy, while Lansford Watson is done for the year.
It's restricted what the Terps could do, but there are encouraging developments. Furstenburg, who started the opener last year at California, continued his promising development from the spring.
Coach Ralph Friedgen observed Furstenburg is about 30 or 40 percent better than a year ago, and his workmanlike approach to camp is especially welcome. Rather than dwell on a hip pointer, Furstenburg endured some pain and remained the likely starter.
"He survived," tight ends coach Charles Bankins said. "That's the only difference that stands out. He's a little more vocal, but he's letting his play speak for itself. He's done a great job and toughed it out and hasn't really complained much."
Stinebaugh, not expected to play a prominent role, instead could be the Terps' first option at what amounts to an H-back spot to open the season.
The biggest question with Stinebaugh after last season was whether he could get bulked up enough to play this year. During camp, his ability to push through weariness is probably the more significant concern.
"My focus with him at this point is when you're in the jungle, they're looking for the weak animal," Bankins said. "You want to sludge around and all that stuff, that's who they're going to attack. You better at least look like you're not tired."
Campbell, who suffered a knee injury on Monday, could miss at least two games. Bankins said Yeatman (broken finger) is in good enough physical condition to play with one hand, though that would clearly limit his effectiveness in some areas. As a result, there's no doubt both Furstenburg and Stinebaugh will receive plenty of chances.
Assuming, of course, Survivor: Tight End doesn't claim another victim.
"[It was like] here we go again, another guy's down," Furstenburg said. "Then we were down to two. Things happen for a reason, we just took advantage of it. Stinebaugh's gotten a lot better, and I've gotten a lot better, I think. ... We're going to be thrown right into the fire right away. We've got to produce."