#61 Maryland Football 2014 Preview

Maryland Terrapins
Overall Rank: #61
#10 Big Ten
Maryland is pretty well prepared to join the Big Ten. The schedule sounds brutal, and it is, but Coach Randy Edsall has experience and enough size across both lines to win some conference games. And there is talent, experience and depth across the rest of the team too. Maryland returns a huge chunk of their two-deep from their bowl loss to Marshall last year and that experience will get this team back to another bowl game.
2013 Record: 7-6, 3-5
2013 Bowl: Military Bowl vs. Marshall (L 20-31)
Coach: Randy Edsall (13-24 at Maryland, 87-94 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Locksley
Defensive Coordinator: Brian Stewart
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Brandon Ross, RB, 776 yards
Passing: C.J. Brown, QB, 2,242 yards
Receiving: Levern Jacobs, WR, 640 yards
Tackles: Sean Davis, S, 102
Sacks: Andre Monroe, DE, 9.5
Interceptions: Sean Davis, S, 2


Other Key Returnees: RB Albert Reid, WR Stefon Diggs, WR Deon Long, WR Nigel King, WR Amba Etta-Tawo, LB Cole Farrand, LB L.A. Goree, LB Matt Robinson, CB Will Likely, K Brad Craddock
Key Losses: OL De’Onte Arnett, LB Marcus Whitfield


The Maryland defense never allowed fewer than 20 points against ACC opponents in 2013, but the unit rarely lacked in big plays. They did a superb job of getting into the backfield and ranked 18th in the nation with 2.85 sacks per contest. On the line, Andre Morgan totaled 9.5 sacks and 17.0 tackles-for-loss. Returning starters Quinton Jefferson and Darius Kilgo will take advantage of all the attention the opposition places on Morgan. The linebackers will miss Marcus Whitfield, who was a huge reason for all of the sacks, but the other three starters are back. Matt Robinson will man one of the outside spots, while Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree return inside. Farrand and Goree combined for 160 tackles as juniors and will only be more productive as seniors. The secondary is the youngest unit, but Will Likely had an amazing freshman campaign and is ready to turn into the program’s shut down corner for the next three years. Safety Sean Davis totaled 102 tackles and will once again be one of the leaders of the defense. What this group has is experience. The two deep is littered with seniors and that will come in very handy against all of the offenses that Maryland has not seen before.


The Terrapins have a high ceiling on their offense this year too. Nine starters return to a unit that had some decent outings, but averaged just 26.2 points per game. Their inconsistency stemmed from turnovers, mostly due to an inability to hang onto the ball. Quarterback C.J. Brown threw just seven interceptions, so the horrid turnover margin of 2013 could easily become respectable in 2014. Brown is an elusive quarterback who rushed for 576 yards and a dozen touchdowns, while completing nearly 59 percent of his passes for 2,242 yards and 13 scores. Receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long both suffered season ending leg injuries in the middle of the season. Diggs was still second on the team with 34 receptions for 587 yards. He is a big play receiver and the new found depth will give Brown plenty of options down field. The running game may have a tougher time in the Big Ten. Brandon Ross is a tough back, but was not all that effective in goal line situations. The speedy Jacquile Veii will at least provide a change of pace.


The Bottom Line:
The offensive line will be a major factor for Maryland. It is an experienced unit, but how well can they hold up down the stretch against a tough Big Ten slate? The heart of the Big Ten schedule includes consecutive games against Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan. The line will get beat up during that stretch. But the good news on the schedule front is that the non-conference slate is pretty easy. A 4-0 start, plus a season finale against Rutgers, means Maryland will likely need to steal just one other win in conference play to reach a bowl game.


Projected Bowl: Detroit Bowl


2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 149.3 (45th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 248.5 (48, 5)
Total Offense: 396.9 (75, 8)
Scoring Offense: 26.2 (84, 9)
Rushing Defense: 149.3 (45, 7)
Pass Defense: 225.1 (57, 8)
Total Defense: 374.4 (44, 8)
Scoring Defense: 25.3 (55, 7)
Turnover Margin: -0.5 (102, 14)
Sacks: 2.85 (18, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (66, 8)


Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#36 Stefon Diggs


Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#28 Damian Prince
#143 Jesse Aniebonam