Maryland Preview 2006 - Offense
Maryland Terrapins
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Maryland Terrapins Preview 2006 - Maryland Offense

What you need to know ... All the pieces are in place to potentially be among the best offenses Ralph Friedgen has cranked out. Potentially. The line is big, deep and very talented and the backfield is deeper and even more talented with the return of Josh Allen from a knee injury, but the passing game has to click far better than it did this spring. Sam Hollenbach and Jordan Steffy didn't exactly set the world on fire keeping the quarterback competition open going into late summer. The receiving corps has size and as much speed as anyone in the ACC, and it also has the least overall experience of anyone in the ACC.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Sam Hollenbach
192-315, 2,539 yds, 13 TD, 15 INT
Rushing: Lance Ball
189 carries, 903 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Lance Ball
18 catches, 153 yds

Star of the offense: Senior RB Josh Allen
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior WR Drew Weatherly
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Isaiah Williams
Best pro prospect: Sophomore OT Jared Gaither
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Allen, 2) Gaither, 3) OT Stephon Heyer
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, running back
Weakness of the offense: Receiver experience

Chicken or egg time; did the quarterbacks look lousy this spring because of the receivers or were they just not sharp? There's good potential with Sam Hollenbach returning after mixed reviews as the starter last season, and Jordan Steffy appears to be a good option once he becomes more comfortable. However, head coach Ralph Friedgen was hardly jumping for joy at the play of his quarterbacks this spring and has hinted that the position is up for grabs. Hollenbach will end up being the starter, but don't be stunned if that quickly changes.
The key to the unit: Sam Hollenbach has to cut down on his interceptions and Jordan Steffy has to improve even faster.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5

Projected Starter
- Sam Hollenbach, Sr. - 192-315, 61%, 2,539 yds, 13 TD, 15 INT, 2 rushing touchdowns
Hollenbach is a big 6-5, 218-pound passer who has the strength of a lineman and a good grasp of the offense. However, he had a hard time with interceptions throwing a steady stream of them throughout the season two in each of the last four games he got significant playing time. He got hurt late in the year against Virginia Tech but showed his toughness by coming back to try to play against Florida State despite the injured collarbone. He's the best option for the offense going into the season because of his decision making ability and his accuracy, and now he has to show he can be consistent.

Top Backups
- Jordan Steffy, Soph.
Health and decision making are the big question marks. Steffy is a very strong 6-1 and 222 pounds with a great arm and athleticism, but he missed all of last year with problems with his arm and his knee. He's healthy and has the skills to lead the offense, and now he has to prove he can keep the offense moving and make the right reads on a consistent basis.

- Bobby Sheahin, Soph.
Sheahin might end up being more in the starting quarterback race than expected after the mediocre play of the other quarterbacks this spring. The walk-on transfer from West Virginia isn't big at only 6-1 and 170 pounds and isn't the most mobile of the options, but he has a live arm and can bomb away better than all the other Terp passers.

Running Backs
Expect a big bounceback season after averaging a mere 135 yards per game last season. This will be a devastating backfield if all the parts are healthy. Lance Ball is a reliable starter, while Josh Allen provides excitement and flash now that he's back from a knee injury and J.P. Humber and Keon Lattimore bring more power. Lattimore has the all-around skills and speed to be a star, but he hasn't put it all together yet and now he's trying to come back from a shoulder injury. Fullback should quickly become a strength with Tim Cesa and Matt Deese each looking like rising stars.
The key to the unit: Keeping everyone healthy and getting Josh Allen back to being Josh Allen.
Running Back Rating: 9

Projected Starters
- Lance Ball, Jr. - 189 carries, 903 yds, 4.8 ypc, 6 TD, 18 catches, 153 yds, 8.5 ypc
Ball isn't going to set any speed records, but he's a good pounding back who can be used as a quick, shifty, workhorse. After a slow start to the season, Ball roared in ACC play tearing off 163 yards against Virginia, 120 against Florida State, 135 against Boston College, and 161 on 39 carries against North Carolina. Along with being the team's leading rusher he's the leading returning receiver.

- Fullback Tim Cesa, Jr. - 1 catch, 5 yards
Cesa went from linebacker to fullback and ended up starting late in the season after missing time early on with an illness. He's mostly a blocker using his 6-1 and 243 pounds to open up holes and has the speed to grow into more of a power runner now that he knows what he's doing.

Top Backups
- Josh Allen, Sr.
Back after missing all of 2005 with a knee injury, the home-run hitting back returns and should quickly find his way back in the starting mix now that he's finally healthy. He's a strong 207 pounds with speed to burn tearing off 1,941 yards and 21 touchdowns over his first three seasons highlighted by scoring dashes of 70 and 80 yards.
- J.P. Humber, Sr. - 4 carries, 53 yds, 13.2 ypc, 1 catch, 10 yds
The 225-pound senior got plenty of work this spring and showed he can potentially be a productive third running back. He's a downhill runner adding a little more power than Lance Ball and Josh Allen.
- Keon Lattimore, Jr. - 58 carries, 181 yds, 3.1 ypc, 3 TD
Lattimore is a big 235-pound back with great track-star speed and blocking ability. He missed the second half of last year and all of spring ball with a shoulder injury and might have a hard time getting back in the mix. He got plenty of carries in the middle of the season before getting hurt.
- Fullback Matt Deese, Soph.
Deese could grow into the short-yardage back role. He's not the athlete Tim Cesa is, but he's a powerful 261 pounds and should be a strong blocker if he can hold off 245-pound Chris Gronkowski.

The receiving corps certainly looks the part. If you were to make a football movie and needed to cast for receivers, Maryland would have several players getting roles. However, this is a very, very, very inexperienced and very young corps with the leading returning receiver, Drew Weatherly, making ten catches last year. There's speed, size and more speed among a promising group of redshirt freshmen and even more speed in sophomores Danny Oquendo and Isaiah Williams. The big question is at tight end where sixth pick in the draft Vernon Davis and his 51 catches and 17.1 yards per catch needs to be replaced. Dan Gronkowski is big, Jason Goode is a receiver, Joey Haynos is really big, and incoming freshman Drew Gloster could be the best of the bunch. The entire receiving corps will likely be a big plus by the end of the year.
The key to the unit: Production. The unproven receivers look like Tarzan but can't play like Jane.
Receiver Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Isaiah Williams, Soph. - 1 catch, 4 yds
Is he the team's new receiving star? The 6-3, 200-pound sophomore will be the deep threat on the X position with the speed to be used as a kick returner if needed and the next-level speed to be a big play target.

- Drew Weatherly, Sr. - 10 catches, 83 yds, 1 TD, 8.3 ypc
Weatherly has to be the steady leader early on considering he's not just the only senior in the receiver mix, he's the only upperclassman. He's 6-4 and 210 pounds with a little bit of starting experience and the speed to be used as a deep threat if needed. Mostly he'll be a possession receiver at the Z position while the speedy young receivers stretch the field.

- Danny Oquendo, Soph. - 3 catches, 20 yds, 6.7 ypc
The rail-thin 6-3 sophomore is the team's fastest player finishing fourth in the nation in the high-hurdles in high school. He was used on special teams last season and now will be a key target in the slot. He's tougher than his 175 pounds would indicate.

- Tight end Dan Gronkowski, Soph. - 2 catches, 37 yds, 18.5 ypc
The former quarterback is still figuring out how to play tight end. He's 6-6 and 262 pounds with decent hands and emerging blocking skills. He won't be an every down tight end with several options being moved in and out depending on the situation.

Top Backups
- Darrius Heyward-Bey, RFr.
The 6-3, 195-pound redshirt freshmen will push hard for time behind Drew Weatherly at the Z. He's one of the team's fastest players with 4.3 speed and is very, very physical.
- Nolan Carroll, RFr.
A good sized receiver with next-level measurables, Carroll has speed, good size and leaping ability. However, he's still an unpolished gem needing time to grow into a role at the inside Z position.
- Terrell Skinner. RFr.
While hot quite as fast as the other rising redshirt freshmen, the 6-3 Skinner is being used as a backup behind Isaiah Williams at the outside X position. He's more quick than fast with the open field moves to be dangerous when he gets the ball on the run.
- Tight end Jason Goode, Jr. - 7 catches, 40 yds. 5.7 ypc
Goode has good size at 6-3 and 231 pounds and will be used mostly as a receiver. While he can block a little bit, his hands are what will give him time in the H-Back role.

Offensive Linemen
This should go from being the biggest question mark last year to one of the team's biggest strengths with size, depth, and a boatload of talent. There's way too much size to not be better in the running game and there's too much promise at tackle to allow 31 sacks again. Sophomore Jared Gaither will be an All-ACC tackle on the left side sooner than later, and Brandon Nixon is a decent player on the right. A spot is needed somewhere for Stephon Heyer, the team's best tackle going into last year before he tore up his knee. There might not be two more consistent guards in the ACC than Donnie Woods and Andrew Crummey.

The key to the unit: Get more out of the running game and hope for promise to turn into production at all five spots.
Offensive Line Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- OT Stephon Heyer, Sr.
Expected to be a star going into 2005, the 6-7, 319-pound senior will try to get back from a torn ACL suffered in preseason practice last year. He's a dominant blocker and very big in pass protection. Can he progress into the All-ACC star he was projected to be? If so, there will be a spot for him at one of the two tackle spots.
- OG Donnie Woods, Jr.
Woods is a rock-solid left guard who's always consistent and rarely misses a block. Health has been the issue suffering from a shoulder injury that kept him out all spring. While he might not be an all-star, he'll be the anchor of the line.
- C Edwin Williams, Soph.
He has the size at 6-2 and 317 pounds and has the raw talent, but he needs lots and lots of time. If the Terps can get through the growing pains, they'll have a tremendously athletic center for the next three seasons.
- OG Andrew Crummey, Jr.
Crummey moved from guard to center and back to guard. He's as consistent as they come and is great on the move. He has grown into his 6-5 frame getting up to 294 pounds and should be more dominant in the running game.
- OT Jared Gaither, Soph.
The rising star of the line, the 6-9, 330-pound sophomore was unbelievable in pass protection over the second half of last season not allowing a sack while growing into a dominant run blocker. Once he figures out everything he can do with his size, he'll be an All-ACC star.

Top Backups
- T Brandon Nixon, Jr.
Nixon had a nice first season as a starter on the right side, but he'll have some serious competition for the starting job. He's 6-6 and 314 pounds who's far better in run blocking than he is in pass protection. He has the athleticism to become more consistent against the speedy ends.
- T Scott Burley, Jr.
Burley will get plenty of chances to push for starting time at both tackle spots and, at the very least, will be used as a big backup. He's 6-6 and 316 pounds and finally healthy enough to show what he can do after struggling through a back injury last season.
- G Jaimie Thomas, Soph.
The 327-pound sophomore saw plenty of action this spring at left guard with Donnie Woods getting over a shoulder injury. He's a big run blocker with the size to become special as he sees more time.

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