Sometimes when sitting at their neighboring lockers, Maryland football offensive linemen Damian Prince and Derwin Gray reflect on their shared journeys.

As four-star prospects from nearby high schools, the two have known each other since 10th grade, experiencing the same ups — starting games last season — and downs — the rigors of adjusting to college during initial redshirt seasons — since arriving in College Park in 2014.

Their recent conversations, though, have centered on their roles as emerging leaders of a young offensive line playing under its third positional coach in three seasons. The duo started at tackle in Maryland’s spring practices leading up to Saturday’s annual spring game.

“We just try to grow with each other because if you’re not growing in really anything that you’re doing, you’re dead,” Prince said. “We just try to take that in stride and just try to get better each and every practice, every time we come out.”

In their first few years, Prince and Gray were timid in meetings and workouts.

Prince didn’t want to ask a “stupid” question. He anticipated his teammates, though not malicious, would laugh at the simplicity of his queries, so he was reclusive.

Gray, meanwhile, missed his first two spring practice slates with shoulder injuries.

However, their on-field production increased as redshirt sophomores in 2016. Prince started all 13 games at right tackle, while Gray appeared in every contest, opening three at left tackle.

They helped block for the Big Ten’s fourth-best rushing attack — the Terps averaged 199.5 yards a contest — but endured difficulties in pass protection. While offensive coordinator Walt Bell declined to blame just the line last season, citing quarterback timing and running back lapses, too, Prince and Gray are determined to help the offense avoid another conference-worst 49 sacks.

“If the defensive line doesn’t get there, there would be no sacks,” Prince said. “We have to take that personally. We have to put that chip on our shoulder and kind of go about it during the season with that chip on our shoulder, and not just forget, because I’m confident we’re going to have a good, productive season.”

That starts, Prince and Gray said, with the energy of new offensive line coach Tyler Bowen. Coach DJ Durkin hired the former Maryland offensive lineman during the offseason, and he’s taken a modern approach to building the unit.

Bowen uses videos and text messages to remind players throughout the day about techniques and drills they’ve discussed.

Last week, Bowen sent Prince, Gray and the reserve tackles a video of a perfect technique set they did in practice. He also scours the internet for videos of NFL linemen to supplement his message and cues.

“These guys are all visual learners,” Bowen said. “Any way we can find a way to do that, as many tools we can use to keep it light, to keep it new, to keep it fresh, I think that’s always good.”

Bowen highlighted Prince and Gray as two of the most impressive and polished players he inherited when taking over for former offensive line coach Dave Borbely, who moved into an off-field position with the program.

The players appreciate Bowen’s incremental approach, focusing on perfecting one aspect of a scheme before adding another element. They feel that’ll help them continue to progress into Maryland offensive line anchors.

“We always talk about how we came in as highly recruited,” Gray said, “and now we finally have an opportunity to be the both tackles.”