Between now and the September 2nd season kick-off, Danny Hobrock will be previewing all the major college football teams with new teams being released daily.
2009 Season Breakdown
2009 final record (overall, conference): 2-10, 1-7
Bowl Game:Gator Bowl (W 33-21 vs. West Virginia)
Final Ranking (AP, Coaches'):NR, NR
Conference finish:6th ACC Atlantic
Offensive rank: 102
Defensive rank: 83
2009 Individual Statistical Leaders
Rushing:Da'Rel Scott, 425 yards, 4 TD; Davin Meggett, 338 yards, 6 TD
Passing:Chris Turner, 2,069 yards, 10 TD, 10 INT
Receiving:Torrey Smith, 824 yards, 5 TD
Tackles:Alex Wujciak, 131 total tackles
Sacks:Adrian Moten, 6 sacks (5 solo, 2 assisted)
Interceptions:Cameron Chism, 4 interceptions; Alex Wujciak, 2 interceptions (1 touchdown)
2010 Season Outlook
(* denotes conference game)
September 6 vs. Navy:The season opener will be played at a neutral location in Baltimore and will be televised on ESPN. This game could have a fairly prominent mental impact on the Terps as they try to improve upon their two-win 2009 season. Maryland will see three new starters on the defensive line, but all three linebackers return for the 2010 season including Bronco Nagurski Trophy candidate Alex Wujciak. We'll learn a good deal about the defense in this one against Navy's option offense.
September 18 @ West Virginia: This is as close to a rival as Maryland has. West Virginia running back Noel Devine is a hard guy to stop and will pose a nice early season challenge for the defense. The Maryland offense will face linebacker J.T. Thomas, safety Robert Sands and the rest of what should be a solid WVU defense. A good test for both units.
October 16 @ Clemson: The Terps aren't given much of a chance to pull off a surprise coup of the Atlantic Division this season, but a quality win or two against some of the ACC's tougher opponents, as well as a season opening win against Navy, could go a long way in instilling confidence in the younger players. Maryland's sole ACC win last season came against eventual Atlantic Division champs Clemson. Doing it again or grabbing a surprise win over BC, Miami or Florida State would be much welcomed in College Park.
Preseason Rankings (will not officially be released until August)
Chris Turner, QB; Bruce Campbell, OT; Phil Costa, C; Anthony Wiseman, CB; Terrell Skinner, S; Jamari McCollough, S
Key Returning Players
Da'Rel Scott, RB; Torrey Smith, WR; Adrian Cannon, WR; R.J. Dill, OT; Paul Pinegar, C; Alex Wujciak, LB; Adrian Moten, LB; Demetrius Hartsfield, LB; Ben Pooler, LB; Cameron Chism, CB; Travis Baltz, P
Jamarr Robinson established himself as the starting quarterback following spring practice, though nothing is set in stone with Danny O'Brien still challenging for the starting job. Robinson threw two interceptions in the spring game, but has reportedly done well in making the right decisions and avoiding turnovers overall throughout the spring. He started in place of an injured Chris Turner twice last season in losses to Virginia Tech and Florida State. He played in the two games surrounding his November starts as well, passing for 482 yards, two touchdowns and, perhaps most importantly, no interceptions. He also added 229 rushing yards over the course of the season for good measure.
To be successful on offense this season, the Terps must utilize the weapons they have to make the transition to full-time starter easier on Robinson. Torrey Smith was the team's leading receiver in 2009 and will once again serve as the featured receiver in 2010. The good news for the Terps is that if defenses begin to focus a little too much attention to Smith, they have plenty of options to go to. Adrian Cannon will line up opposite Smith, while Ronnie Tyler will line up in the slot. LaQuan Williams and Quintin McCree provide depth. The wide receivers corps must prove consistent this season with a new man under center.
In the running game, Da'Rel Scott returns after leading the team in rushing a season ago with 425 yards. Scott missed a good deal of last season with a broken wrist, limiting his overall production, but did manage a 1,100 yard season the year before. Davin Meggett will once again serve as a trustworthy runner behind Scott. The two keys to a successful Maryland rushing game in 2010 will be whether Scott can stay healthy and if the offensive line overachieves. Even with tackle Bruce Campbell and center Phil Costa, the Terps offensive line was abysmal. R.J. Dill and Paul Pinegar are locks for right tackle and center, but after that positions are up in the air.
The bright spot of this defense will certainly be the linebackers. Highlighting the bunch is Alex Wujciak, who will man the middle linebacker position once more. Wujciak was named to the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy watch lists and was eight in the nation last season with 131 total tackles. Adrian Moten led the team in sacks with six and returns as the strongside starter, while Demetrius Hartsfield reassumes his weakside position after missing time with an injury last season. Ben Pooler filled in for Hartsfield when he was injured and provides exceptional depth at the position.
Whereas the linebackers corps return all starters from a year ago, the defensive line must replace three of theirs. A.J. Francis is the lone returning starter after an ACC Freshman All-American performance in 2009. Joe Vellano has reportedly impressed the coaches this spring and could be a factor in the middle, while Zach Kerr and De'Onte Arnett are also competing for the starting job. Derek Drummond should get the start at the weakside end position with Justin Anderson a favorite to start opposite Drummond.
The secondary also loses three starters. Cameron Chism returns as the experienced leader of the squad and will lock down one of the corner spots. As for the other cornerback spot, Trenton Hughes and Dexter McDougle still find themselves in a battle heading into the fall. The safety positions are a bit easier to read. After moving to defensive back from wide receiver, Kenny Tate is now poised to take over the full-time starting job at free safety. Antwine Perez will man the strong safety position following a 45 tackle junior campaign in a backup role. Serious strides need to be made in the secondary to improve upon last year's 105th ranked pass efficiency defense.
Special Teams Overview
Travis Baltz will return for his senior season as punter. He has three years of starting experience and was even named to the All-ACC first team in 2008. Last year he averaged 40.7 yards per punt, but was injured for several games, forcing the Terps to turn to kicker Nick Ferrara to handle the punting. Ferrara managed a 39.8 yard per punt average filling in for Baltz and hit 18 of his 25 field goal attempts and every one of his 26 extra point attempts. He had a long of 50 yards on the season and will be back for the 2010 season.
Torrey Smith is expected to handle the kick return duties coming off a season in which he averaged 25.7 yards per return and broke away for two touchdowns. Tony Logan handled punt return duties last season, returning 15 punts for 100 yards. Both Smith and Logan give the Terrapins a nice little spark on special teams.
Head Coach: Ralph Friedgen
There were a number of people, in College Park and elsewhere, calling for Friedgen's head after last year's 2-10 showing. He is expected to retire in 2011 with offensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator James Franklin set to take over head coaching duties upon Friedgen's departure. For Maryland, who has struggled to reclaim Friedgen's early success at the school, heading in a new direction is a popular choice among many fans according to a 2009 Baltimore Sun article.
Friedgen was a guard for the Terps in the late sixties and then served as a graduate assistant from 1969 to 1971 before being named offensive coordinator in 1982. He left Maryland in 1986 and served on the coaching staffs of Georgia Tech and the San Diego Chargers of the NFL before returning to the Terps as head coach. He began his head coaching career with three seasons of 10 or more wins and even won the ACC in 2001—his first season as head coach. The Terps went to a bowl game in 2008, not exactly an age ago, but appear stagnant and gasping for air in the ACC.
Top 2011 Draft Prospects
Da'Rel Scott, RB; Alex Wujciak, LB; Antwine Perez, S; Travis Baltz, P
6th ACC Atlantic
Last place in the Atlantic Division seems reserved for the Terps in 2010, although they are certainly capable of throwing us a curveball with such talented players as Torrey Smith and Da'Rel Scott on the offensive side of the ball and linebacker Alex Wujciak a preseason candidate for virtually every postseason award he would qualify for. While there are bright spots here and there, questions on the offensive line do not bode well for a team that will field a new quarterback this season. Six new full-time starters on the defensive line and in the secondary could present some problems with early matchups against Navy and West Virginia. Friedgen has been good for College Park, taking Maryland to an ACC title and six bowl games including the 2002 Orange Bowl, and there are those who still stand behind him as head coach, but the days of 10+ win seasons appear to be over until some new blood is introduced into the program. - Danny Hobrock
Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.
Check out these other stories.....