2008 Maryland Terrapins Football Preview
2007 Maryland Record: (6-7, 3-5 ACC)
2007 Bowl: Emerald Bowl vs. Oregon State (L 14-21)
Maryland Head Coach: Ralph Friedgen (56-31 at Maryland, 56-31 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: James Franklin
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Cosh
Returning Leaders for the Terps:
Other Key Returnees: OT Scott Burley, LB Trey Covington, LB Moise Fokou, QB Jordan Steffy, C Edwin Williams, WR Isaiah Williams
Key Losses: RB Lance Ball, G Andrew Crummey, DT Carlos Feliciano, CB Isaiah Gardner, TE Joey Hanos, LB Erin Henderson, S J.J. Justrice, RB Keon Lattimore, DT Dre Moore, S Christian Varner
Head Coach Ralph Friedgen has acted as his own offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. Now the job has been handed to James Franklin who most recently ran the Kansas State offense. Finding a quarterback is a good place to start when retooling an offense. Jordan Steffy started last season, got hurt and handed the reigns to Chris Tuner. Neither did particularly well, but the battle begins over again. This time transfer Josh Portis is in the mix too.
No matter who runs the team, they have some dangerous weapons to work with. Wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey, Isaiah Williams, LaQuan Williams and Danny Oquendo might just be the best group of receivers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, somebody needs to be able to throw them the ball more effectively if they want to look the part. Another thing working in favor of the quarterback is the offensive line. Injuries were a huge problem last year on the line, but now those injuries have led to a group that has a ton of experience. Do not let the 3.08 sacks per game allowed fool you, that had more do with the quarterbacks than the line, but certainly the line still needs to develop more consistency.
There are big losses all over the defense. Carlos Feliciano and Dre Moore are gone from the line. Linebacker Erin Henderson left early for the NFL and went undrafted. The departures of Isaiah Gardner, J.J. Justice and Christian Varner leave the secondary relatively inexperienced. End Jeremy Navarre, who led the team with 5.5 sacks last season, will slide into the middle to fill the hole left by Feliciano and Moore, but players like Olugbemi Otulaja and Travis Ivey will need to step up and show that they can handle playing a lot more snaps. With Dave Philistin, Moise Fokou and hybrid linebacker/end Trey Covington returning, the linebacker corps will be the strength of the Terps defense. Replacing Henderson’s production will not be easy, but at least there are experienced options. Replacing everybody except Kevin Barnes in the secondary is a big problem for a team that’s best attribute last year was pass defense.
The Bottom Line for the Terps:
The key to getting the offense clicking is the running game. Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball combined for 1,573 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground last year. Now both are gone and a new duo of running backs will take over. Sophomore Da’Rel Scott has had a good enough off-season to turn the duo into a single, but Morgan Green will get some carries even if Scott is clearly the top back. The potential is there and Scott and Green have more speed and breakaway ability than the previous duo, but the lack of experience is a concern. But if the ground game works, the passing game will follow and Maryland will go bowling again.
2007 Maryland Terrapins Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 137.46 (75th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 203.38 (77, 7)
Total Offense: 340.85 (92, 5)
Scoring Offense: 24.08 (86, 7)
Rushing Defense: 147.31 (53, 10)
Pass Defense: 210.69 (33, 5)
Total Defense: 358.00 (40, 9)
Scoring Defense: 21.54 (24, 6)
Turnover Margin: .62 (24, 4)
Sacks: 2.08 (60, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 3.08 (105, 9)
By Joel Welser
Check out all of the 2008 NCAA college football previews online through College Sports Fans.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.