2011 Maryland Preview – Offense
Maryland RB Davin Meggett
CollegeFootballNews.com 2011 Preview - Maryland Terrapin Offense
Preview 2011 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: Watching head coach Randy Edsall's Connecticut teams and coordinator Gary Crowton's last few LSU offenses reveals that innovation won't be the trademark of the Terp attack. Edsall, in particular, can be conservative, leaning heavily on the ground game and taking a low-risk approach. However, Danny O'Brien is better than any quarterback either coach has had in years. A revelation in his debut, he has the skill set to make people rethink time-tested philosophies. However, does he have the supporting cast to deliver an appropriate encore? Although RB Davin Meggett is a great starting point and a potential 1,000-yard rusher, the receivers lack a go-to guy now that Torrey Smith is gone, and the line might be partly responsible for soaring healthcare costs. While O'Brien shouldn't have to shoulder the load, he'll definitely be asked to do more in his second year as the face of the program.
Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Danny O'Brien
Passing: Danny O'Brien
192-337, 2,438 yds, 22 TDs, 8 INTs
Rushing: Davin Meggett
126 carries, 720 yds, 4 TDs
Receiving: Quintin McCree
16 catches, 188 yds, 1 TD
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore LT Max Garcia
Unsung star on the rise: Junior TE Matt Furstenburg
Best pro prospect: Senior RB Davin Meggett
Top three all-star candidates: 1) O'Brien, 2) Meggett, 3) Furstenburg
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, backfield depth, ball protection, red zone conversions
Weakness of the offense: The receivers, the offensive line, third down conversions
State of the Unit: Oh, the irony. Ralph Friedgen finally develops a franchise quarterback, yet he won't be around to see him develop. Instead, Randy Edsall and his staff will be the caretakers of one of the game best young hurlers. Of course, the downside of a young fixture behind center is that it can scare off other players on the roster. Veteran backup Jamarr Robinson decided to give up football in March and Tyler Smith is transferring to Elon, thinning the team's depth.
Sophomore Danny O'Brien began the 2010 season as a backup. By the end of it, he was one of the hottest young quarterbacks in the country and a Freshman All-American. Playing with the poise of upperclassmen, the 6-3, 215-pounder completed 192-of-337 passes for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Not only does he throw a nice ball, but he also has a high football IQ and will dedicate himself on the practice field and in the film room. He's the kind of young quarterback programs are built around.
With the loss of the backups, 6-3, 200-pound sophomore C.J. Brown is the undiputed backup heading into the season. A dual-threat and quality all-around athlete, he also has the arm strength to reach receivers downfield. A third-stringer when 2010 began, he played in one game before going on the shelf with a broken collarbone.
Watch Out For .... how well O'Brien adapts to myriad changes. The sophomore's poise and maturity are going to be tested, as the Terrapins unveil a new coaching staff and some new targets through the air. There's going to be a lot of new adjustments for the young quarterback to digest before the opening of the season.
Strength: O'Brien. Hey, if he can deliver nearly a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio in his debut, what does he have for an encore? The reason why you love the trajectory of the sophomore is that he's more than just a chucker. He's a cerebral, hard-working player about to become the face of the program.
Weakness: Inexperience. The starter is only a sophomore. The backup has attempted one career pass. And true freshmen will have to prepare as if their number could be called this fall. The Terps are very young and raw at the position once you beyond O'Brien at the top of the depth chart.
Outlook: Assuming O'Brien never has to leave a game suddenly, Maryland is in great shape at quarterback. No. 5 is the kind of player programs are built around, a young leader capable of moving a team with his arm and his legs. Ironically, it took a career moved for new head coach Randy Edsall to finally get to oversee a high-end passer with long-term potential.
State of the Unit: Although current New York Giant Da'Rel Scott was last year's starter and a quality runner when healthy, he didn't even lead the 2010 team in rushing. In other words, he can be replaced. Two of the Terps' three leading rushers are back in College Park, which will provide the necessary options for a coaching staff that prefers to grind it out.
After sharing the backfield throughout his career, 5-9, 215-pound senior Davin Meggett finally gets a chance at a starring role in his finale. Last season's leading rusher despite not starting a single game, he went for 720 yards and four touchdowns on 126 carries. A powerful between-the-tackles operator, he runs with great pad level and vision, hiding behind blockers and bouncing off defenders. He's also durable enough to handle the full load that's about to be heaped on him.
The Terps' short-yardage back will once again be 5-10, 220-pound sophomore D.J. Adams , who was a situational force in his first year. Running with determination and a head of steam, he carried 67 times for 239 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. Provided he can stay healthy and shake a nagging hamstring injury, 6-1, 210-pound junior Gary Douglas is also back to provide depth off the bench.
Now that Taylor Watson has opted not to return, 5-10, 260-pound senior Haroon Brown and 6-2, 245-pound redshirt freshman Rahsaan Moore are fighting for the fullback job. While Brown is purely a blocker and one of the team's strongest players, Moore is actually nimble enough to handle occasional carries.
Watch Out For .... Meggett to go for 1,000 yards. Provided he gets proper help from the line, which is always iffy, he has the experience and the running style to bloom into one of the ACC's top runners, auditioning for the NFL at the same time.
Strength: Power runners. The Terrapin backs are going to be difficult to stop on the inside this fall, pounding away at opponents relentlessly. None of the three primary backs is less than 210 pounds, boasting the physicality to run through tackles and dominate in short yardage.
Weakness: Big-play backs. With the departure of Scott, Maryland loses its fastest back, a gamebreaker when he broke loose. Now, that's not to suggest that Meggett can't snap off the occasional long ball, but the backfield is more methodical and deliberate than the program would prefer.
Outlook: All things considered, the Terps should be able to run the ball effectively this season. With Meggett commanding a feature role and Adams bringing the hammer in short-yardage situations, Maryland will have an effective one-two punch to deliver to opposing defenses.
State of the Unit: Now that last season's top two pass-catchers are gone, including current Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith, the receivers have become a top priority for Maryland. QB Danny O'Brien needs capable targets in order to continue his development, but this year's top returner caught just 16 balls in 2010. He'll need to develop chemistry with the holdovers, a process that began in earnest this spring.
At this stage, it's tough to tell which of the receivers will become O'Brien's preferred target. Based on experience alone, 6-1, 190-pound senior Quintin McCree is a strong candidate, earning three letters and making 16 catches for 188 yards and a score last year. Tall and fast, he'll be a long ball threat on the outside.
Junior Kevin Dorsey is another veteran pushing for more playing time on the outside. At 6-2 and 205 pounds, he has ideal size, catching a career-high 15 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns as a reserve in 2010. The Terps are also eager to get a good look at 6-1, 203-pound redshirt freshman Adrian Coxson , a top recruit who originally signed with Florida. He has a wealth of talent, needing to get a little more comfortable with the system and cleaner on his routes.
Along with McCree, the other senior set to make an impact is 5-9, 185-pound Ronnie Tyler , who's played in 37 career games and made seven starts. Quick in space and sure-handed, he's coming off his quietest year, making 13 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. Heading into spring, he was being tailed by 6-0, 200-pound junior Kerry Boykins , a burner with good size. Playing in the slot last season, he caught a career-high 10 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
One of last year's pleasant surprises was 6-4, 245-pound junior TE Matt Furstenburg . After cracking the lineup, he proved to be viable weapon in the passing game, catching a dozen passes for 206 yards and a score, and will continue to improve with more reps. His backup is 6-2, 255-pound junior Devonte Campbell, who was slated to start before a concussion and a knee injury kept him from the field. Built like a powerful H-back, he's a terrific athlete who'll be tough to keep off the field.
Watch Out For .... the depth chart to be a fluid process right up until the opener. The Terrapins have a lot of similarly talented players at wide receiver, which will ensure that the competition for starting jobs is as hot as the temperature when the squad reconvenes in August.
Strength: Physical ability. Purely in terms of the measurables, size, speed, and strength, the Terps have what it takes to support O'Brien in the passing game. Now, they just have to go out and beat opposing defenses downfield on a consistent basis.
Weakness: Lack of a go-to guy. Someone is going to emerge into that guy, but it'd help if the school knew his name before the opener. Not only will Maryland be missing a player of Smith's high caliber, but it lacks an outside receiver who'll force other teams to scheme to stop him.
Outlook: The Terps have a lot of No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, but is there a true No. 1 on the roster? After enjoying the gamebreaking skills of Smith and Darrius Heyward-Bey in recent seasons, the passing game will be more pedestrian in its ability to stretch a defense vertically. Because of the presence of O'Brien, someone will catch at least 40 passes, but what that receiver does with them remains to be seen.
State of the Unit: While improved a year ago, the offensive line continues to be a sticking point heading into 2011. Not only is the talent average by ACC standards, but the group has been flooded by injuries in recent seasons, complicating an already difficult situation. Despite losing top blocker Paul Pinegar to graduation, the Terrapins can find hope in a veteran collection of blockers who've collectively played a ton of snaps in College Park.
An injury, no surprise, elevated highly-touted sophomore Max Garcia to the top of the depth chart at left tackle in the spring. One of just five true freshmen to play in 2010, he ditched the redshirt in November and played in a pair of games. An explosive blocker, he could be the anchor by next fall.
Over at right tackle is 6-7, 300-pound junior R.J. Dill, who started three games on the right side and 10 on the left last fall. A versatile veteran of 21 starts, he has the big frame and long arms to become an effective pass protector. Powerful, 6-5, 290-pound sophomore Nick Klemm lettered a season ago and is trying to solidify a spot on the two-deep.
Taking over for Pinegar at the pivot will be 6-4, 295-pound junior Bennett Fulper , who has spent the past couple of seasons preparing for this moment. The line's most versatile performer, he's started 11 career games, three at left guard, one at right guard and seven at center.
The fixture at guard is 6-5, 295-pound senior Andrew Gonnella, the starter on the left side. A former walk-on, with a blue-collar mindset and a nasty attitude, he started all 13 games last season and is capable of playing on either side. The situation to the right of center is a little more murky, with 6-4, 330-pound sophomore Pete White holding an edge on 6-5, 300-pound sophomore Josh Cary . A north-south mauler, who uses his hands well, White played in eight games in his debut, earning his first start and first letter.
Watch Out For .... the updates on the infirmed Terrapins. Junior Justin Gilbert was slated to start at left tackle, but injured his knee in the spring and isn't expected back for the opener. Sophomore RG Pete DeSouza , a three-game starter, is still rehabbing fractures to both of his lower legs. Junior Justin Lewis could be the team's best guard, but only if he returns from offseason surgery.
Strength: Experience. The lone upside to all of the injuries is that it forces the backups to learn on the job. Maryland now houses eight offensive linemen who've earned letters during the year and six with starts on the resume. Unfortunately, the team is likely to need every one of those bodies this season.
Weakness: Point of attack. While pass protection certainly improved in 2010, the Terps still had problems holding the line and blowing opponents off the ball. Yeah, injuries were certainly a factor, but this is a wall without any stars and a crumbling foundation when the bumps and bruises begin to mount.
Outlook: Even in a best case scenario, the O-line is only going to be average, struggling when facing tougher defensive opponents, such as Florida State or West Virginia. It's a unit that lacks the durability needed to navigate an entire season or the cornerstone blocker that the rest of the line can rally around.
Maryland Preview |
2011 Maryland Defense |
Maryland Depth Chart
- Maryland Previews 2010