#38 Maryland Football Preview

Maryland Terrapins

Overall Rank: #38
#5 Atlantic Coast Conference
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2010 Record: (9-4, 5-3)
2010 Bowl: Military Bowl vs. East Carolina (W 51-20)
Coach: Randy Edsall (65-46 at Connecticut, FBS only)
Offensive Coordinator: Gary Crowton
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Bradford

Returning Leaders:
Rushing:, Davin Meggett, RB,  720 yards
Passing: Danny O’Brien , QB,  2,438 yards
Receiving: Matt Furstenburg, TE,  206 yards
Tackles: Kenny Tate, LB, 100
Sacks: Joe Vellano, DL, 5
Interceptions: Kenny Tate, LB and Eric Franklin, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees: Quintin McCree WR, D.J. Adams RB, Demetrius Hartsfield LB

Key Losses: Da’Rell Scott RB, Torrey Smith WR, Adrian Cannon WR, Alex Wujciak LB, Adrian Moten LB, Antwine Perez DB

Last season was, in terms of wins and losses, a mediocre one for the Terps. They had quality wins against Boston College and N.C. State, and played a tight contest with Miami (Fl). However, in their eight-win regular season, four of them came against teams that regularly struggle to win half of their games. The Terps will have the opportunity to redeem their close loss to Miami (Fl) as Maryland opens its 2011 schedule at home against the Hurricanes.

The loss of some key players and a difficult schedule could make Head Coach Randy Edsall’s debut season a rocky one. Da’Rell Scott, Torrey Smith, and Alex Wucjiak will now be playing in the National Football League, guard Justin Lewis has been dismissed from the team, and tackle Justin Gilbert reinjured his knee and will be sidelined until October. However, Randy Edsall’s recent history has shown that he can transform a team from one of insignificance to one of respect. Coach Edsall took the Connecticut Huskies from an FCS (formally D-IAA) team to a BCS bowl game (Fiesta Bowl) in just seven years. With a history of success and the ACC as recruiting tools, Coach Edsall should be able to fill holes in his team at a rapid pace.

Out-of-conference play sees Maryland taking on the likes of West Virginia and Notre Dame. Add those opponents to an already vigorous conference schedule, and it could offer a tumultuous season for the Terps.

The Terps have traditionally been a balanced offense, with stars being formed from all offensive positions. However, in 2011 with new head coach Randy Edsall, we can expect to see an emphasis on the running game. Edsall coached star running backs Donald Brown and Jordan Todman at UConn and is equipped to provide the Maryland running backs the same opportunities.

Returning running backs Davin Meggett, son of NFL star and Towson University alum Dave Meggett, and D.J. Adams are bruising backs and have shown they can carry the load of a pounding offense. Last season Meggett carried 126 times for 732 yards while splitting carries with Da’Rell Scott. Adams played the goal line role and had 11 touchdowns on only 67 carries. If the offensive line can gain cohesiveness amidst injuries and expulsions, defenders could be beaten and bruised from this Maryland squad.

Defensively the Terps took some major losses this off-season by graduating standout linebackers Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten. In 2010 Maryland ranked #3 in the ACC in rush defense behind these two tackling machines. As a solution, Maryland has added a new linebacker position called the “Star” and will move pre-season All-ACC safety Kenny Tate into that slot. Tate led all returning Terp defenders with 100 tackles (8.5 for a loss) and three interceptions.

Offensive line appears to be a point of contention for the Terps this year as Justin Lewis was removed from the team and Justin Gilbert suffered an ACL injury in the spring. Gilbert appears to be out until mid-October leaving Max Garcia as the presumed starting left tackle. Coach Edsall and sophomore quarterback Danny O’Brien will desperately need the front rotation to stay healthy. An injury to either starting tackle could lead to major shuffling on the line, possibly changing the dynamics of unity and consistency.

The receiving core is young and inexperienced. Torrey Smith, Adrain Cannon, and LaQuan Williams have all graduated and left a group of green receivers to learn a new system. Quintin McCree, Kevin Dorsey, and Ronnie Tyler are set to fill the position needs, with wide receiver recruit Tyrek Cheeseboro filling the slot/injury reserve position. Young receivers tend to lack crisp route running skills, which are crucial to a young quarterback that may be under pressure often.

The Bottom Line:
Coach Randy Edsall is taking over a program that has been fighting relative mediocrity over the past several years. Since 2004 the Terps have not had more than eight regular-season wins. During that time Maryland has played in four non-BCS bowl games with a 3-1 record. The recent bowl game appearances have been in the Armed Forces, Humanitarian, Emerald, and Champs Sports Bowls. Coach Edsall will need to work with what he inherited for the 2011 season, which includes two freshman de-commits, but will be able to build on his own recruits moving forward.

The veteran core of linebackers from 2011 has graduated, and the offensive line has taken its off-season bruises as well. The starting quarterback is a sophomore, and the receiving corps is untested.  A new coaching staff, which has eight out of ten coaches in their first year at Maryland, has a tendency to change the team dynamics and cohesiveness.  

With that said, the Terrapins have a young core to their team and a ton of natural talent to build on.  Coach Randy Edsall is a top-notch recruiter and is coming from a program that he took from relative obscurity to a BCS bowl game in merely seven years. Maryland is a program that boasts a tradition of great players, plays in a power conference, and now has a head coach that focuses on rebuilding. 2011 may not show a significant change in Maryland football, but the future looks bright in College Park.

Projected Bowl: Belk Bowl (Formerly Meineke Car Care)

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 138.15 (82th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 214.69 (65, 6)
Total Offense: 352.85 (80, 9)
Scoring Offense: 32.23 (29, 2)
Rushing Defense: 124.46 (21, 3)
Pass Defense: 227.85 (78, 10)
Total Defense: 352.31 (39, 6)
Scoring Defense: 22.15 (38, 7)
Turnover Margin:  1.15 (4, 2)
Sacks: 2.15 (47, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 1.69 (46, 4)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings:
#5 Kenny Tate

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