Brian Stewart

Terps defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said improving players' tackling will be among the items on the agenda during the spring practice session. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / February 8, 2012)

Maryland opens football spring practices this Saturday.

Coaches say the defense will emphasize improving red-zone defense and tackling techniques.

On offense, coaches say the team will concentrate on minimizing turnovers.

“A lot of people use springs for a lot of different reasons – fine-tune the offense, fine-tune the defense ... do goal-line, do red-zone defense,” defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said Wednesday.

“Nevada-Reno, they put in a pistol in the spring. That’s when it was invented. Our focus is going to be better tackling and then playing better red-zone defense. We’re going to get better in other areas, but those are two emphases.”

Last season’s statistics dictate the spring’s priorities.

Maryland allowed a score on 48 of 53 red-zone opportunities. That percentage, 90.6, ranked Maryland’s defense 12th out of of 14 ACC teams.

In turnover margin, the Terps were last in the conference at minus-7.

Maryland produced a depth chart in advance of spring practice, but position battles don’t truly come into focus until August. Spring is a chance for coaches to look more at the big picture.