2009 Maryland Terrapins Football Preview
2008 Record: (8-5, 4-4)
2008 Bowl: Humanitarian Bowl vs. Nevada (W 42-35)
Offensive Coordinator: James Frankling
Defensive Coordinator: Don Brown
Returning Leaders for the Terps:
Other Key Returnees: P Travis Baltz, G Phil Costa, OT Bruce Campbell, DT Travis Ivey, RB Cory Jackson, S Terrell Skinner, CB Anthony Wiseman
Key Losses: S Jeff Allen, CB Kevin Barnes, OT Scott Burley, LB Trey Covington, LB Moise Fokou, DE Mack Frost, TE Dan Gronkowski, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, DT Jeremy Navarre, WR Danny Oquendo, LB Dave Philistin, G Jaimie Thomas, C Edwin Williams
Is this the year that Maryland gets over the hump and gets to the ACC Championship game? Probably not, but the Terrapins were one of the most inconsistent teams in the nation. This is a team that would lose to Middle Tennessee State one week and then beat California the next. Then they get annihilated by Virginia in between victories over top 25 ranked Clemson and Wake Forest. With a little consistency, Maryland could be a surprise team in the ACC.
Coach Ralph Friedgen hopes that the consistency will come from another year of experience from quarterback Chris Turner. Turner is certainly not the model of consistency, but now he is a senior and he has to keep the turnovers down and move the offense a little more efficiently. Even without Darrius Heyward-Bey, Turner has some quality targets to pass to. Torrey Smith is the most experienced option, but Ronnie Tyler, Emani Lee-Odai and LaQuan Williams could all emerge as dangerous pass catchers. But Maryland does not have to rely on the passing attack. In fact, they will mostly use the pass to set up the ground game. Da’Rel Scott had a great sophomore campaign, tallying 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns. But it is not just Scott. Davin Meggett and Morgan Green are more than capable backups and that three headed ground attack could be the best in the conference.
The defense lost seven starters from a unit that was not that good to begin with. Alex Wujciak is a solid linebacker and will have to be the team’s leader. One of the main reasons for the lack of defensive production was due to the poor pass rush. Hardly anybody on the front line was a consistent rusher last year and the prospects of finding a new one are slim. That leaves a ton of pressure on the secondary, especially since they are now without Kevin Barnes. Corners Anthony Wiseman and Jamari McCollough and safety Terrell Skinner are quality players, but none of them could keep up with Barnes. Unless Maryland finds a way to get into the opposing backfield, the secondary will once again rank towards the bottom of the conference in pass defense.
The Bottom Line for the Terrapins:
In the end, the success or failure of this season will depend on the offense. If Turner can take a step up and have a good senior year, the Terps could be in for a good season. However, his success will depend on the play of the offensive line. Guard Jaimie Thomas, center Edwin Williams and tackle Scott Burley are all gone and it could take a while for the line to adjust. Bruce Campbell and Phil Costa are a good duo to work around, but can they make big enough holes for the talented running backs and protect Turner?
By Joel Welser
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