Maryland was a tough team to figure out in 2010. The Terps barely beat Navy, gave up 28 points to FIU and looked out-athleted at times in Clemson. Yet, they finished 9-4 (5-3 in the ACC), scored over 60 twice, 50 three times and 42 five times. And,Oh yeah, they fired their long time head coach.
Randy Edsall moves from Connecticut to College Park and brings an enigma with him: Gary Crowton. Edsall’s a proven, solid coach who claims Maryland is his destination job. Crowton’s been everywhere and labeled everything from an innovative genius to a bumbling idiot who has no idea how to use the talent at hand.
Maryland is still a tough team to figure out in 2011.
The team is led by ACC Freshman of the Year, sophomore DannyO’Brien (#5) at quarterback. O’Brien went 7-3 as a starter and threw for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions on 337 attempts. O’Brien is backed up by inexperienced sophomore C.J. Brown (#16) which means that an injury to O’Brien could be devastating to the Terps.
While Da’Rel Scott (708 yards, 5.8 average) has moved on, the Terps have talented tailbacks returning in senior Davin Meggett (#8, 720 yards,5.7 average) and sophomore D.J. Adams (#10, 11 touchdowns on 67 carries).
Maryland will have a new fullback and redshirt freshman Rahsaan Moore (#30) is listed first on the post spring depth chart, followed by junior transfer Jeff Hernandez (#39).
The Terps averaged over 32 points a game in 2010, but are looking for playmakers to replace the aforementioned Scott and wide receiver Torrey Smith(67 catches, 1055 yards, 12 touchdowns). Quintin McCree (#17, 16 catches, 188 yards, 1 TD) comes out of the spring leading at the Z receiver, while Kerry Boykins (#13, 10 catches, 124 yards, 1 TD) and Ronnie Tyler (#4, 13 catches,149 yards, 1 TD) are battling at one X and junior Kevin Dorsey (#12, 15 catches, 187 yards, 2 TD) leading at the other.
One player that had a good day against the Tigers last year is junior TE (#89) Matt Furstenburg who had almost half (98) of his 206 receiving yards against Clemson. While Furstenburg’s 17.2 yard average on 12 catches looks pretty gaudy (and led the Terrapins), he had one catch for 53 yards versus Clemson, meaning his other 11 catches averaged 13.9 yards per catch.
The offensive line has significant experience but has been, and remains, injury plagued and effected by off field issues in one case. In early July Justin Lewis, who started 12 games at right guard in 2010, was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. Adding to depth concerns was leg surgery for Pete DeSouza and a knee injury to Justin Gilbert.
At left tackle, sophomore Max Garcia (#73) moved to the starting position with the injury to Gilbert. Garcia’s experience is limited (played in 2 games as true freshman in 2010), but he has potential. Left guard is anchored by Andrew Gonnella (#77) a senior with 21 starts under his belt.
Centering the ball will be Bennett Fulper (#63) who started the last 7 games of 2010 at center. Depth is also a concern here as listed asFulper’s back ups are listed as a redshirt freshman and a freshman transfer.
On the right side, Josh Cary (#68) came out of the spring leading at right guard position, while the experienced R.J. Dill (#76, 21 career starts) holds down the right tackle spot.
The defensive line is anchored by All-ACC tackle Joe Vellano (#72, 63tackles, 10 TFL) who led the Terps with 5 sacks last year. Justin Anderson(#95) moves from DE to the other tackle where he is listed behind redshirt freshman Andre Monroe (#93) after the spring. Another redshirt freshman,Clarence Murphy (#98) came out of the spring leading at the defensive end position. Maurice Hampton (#90) and Darius Kilgo (#97) are also battling for playing time on the line.
Comparing the March 25th depth chart and the post spring depth chart makes it clear that while the Terps have experience on the d-line the implementation of a new defensive system has led to instability on the depth chart (and in positions for that matter).
The instability and position changes also affect the linebacker position, a strength of the most recent Terp teams. Add in the loss of Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten and that position of strength has become a question mark. Demetrius Hartsfield (#9) has two years of starting experience at the Will position, but is now at Mike. Senior Kenny Tate (#6), an All-ACC safety, has been moved to the hybrid Star position. Darin Drakeford (#52) moves from Sam to Will and David Mackall (#59) has moved from Mike to Rock. There will be a test later.
At cornerback the Terps return Cameron Chism (#22) and Trenton Hughes(#21), both seniors, who each started all 13 games last year. Chism has 4 career interceptions while Hughes had 9 PBU in 2010. However, Dexter McDougle(#25), who backed up Chism in 2010, is listed as the starter at one corner coming out of the spring, while Hughes is listed as backing up Chism at the other.
Junior Eric Franklin (#48) and sophomore Matt Robinson (#40) lead the depth chart at safety coming out of the spring. Neither has been a full-time starter, but both played extensively last season. Franklin saw action in 11 games, recording 23 tackles and three interceptions. Robinson played in all 13 games and recorded 29 tackles and forced two fumbles. Austin Walker (#29) is a veteran reserve safety who is a special teams standout. Highly regarded redshirt freshman Titus Till (#27) is also a reserve at safety.
Typically when a team loses a kicker that holds the school record for consecutive extra points made and was good on 14 of 18 field goals there is going to be a certain amount of trepidation. Probably not so much with Maryland as Nick Ferrara (#43), a freshman All-American from 2009 returns from an injury that forced him to start last year behind Trevor Baltz, a position from which Ferrara never recovered. In 2009 Ferrara was 26 of 26 on extra points and 18 of 25 on field goals before being relegated to kick off duty last year.
Ferrara is also likely to be the kickoff man and had 5 touchbacks in 66 kickoffs in 2010.
Michael Tart (#29) redshirted as a freshman in 2010 and is listed as the first team punter coming out of the spring and will have the tough job of replacing Baltz in this role(41.7 average on 67 punts, 23 inside the 20 and 12 of 50+ yards).
True freshman NathanRenfro may also compete for both the place kicking and punting jobs in the fall.
Tony Logan (#1) returns along with his gaudy 18.1 yard punt return average on 31 attempts (with two touchdowns) and while main kick returner Torrey Smith is gone, Dexter McDougle, Trenton Hughes and a host of others (including Logan) have some experience in this role.