Pete Fiutak & Michael Bradley
2007 Maryland Offense Preview
2007 Maryland Defense Preview
2007 Maryland Depth Chart
2006 CFN Maryland
By the time the ’06
season was over, the whispers about whether Ralph Friedgen had lost
his magic touch were no longer heard in college circles.
After a strong debut that featured double-figure win totals in each
of his first three seasons with the Terps, The Fridge fell back for
a few years, leading Maryland to 5-6 records and failing to qualify
for a bowl game. It seemed as if the offensive wizard who had
re-established the Turtles as an ACC powerhouse had slipped.
Head coach: Ralph Friedgen
7th year: 50-24
Off. 19, Def. 18, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 14
Best Terp Players
2. WR D. Heyward-Bey, Soph.
3. DT Dre Moore, Sr.
4. OT Jared Gaither, Jr.
5. DE Jeremy Navarre, Jr.
6. CB Isaiah Gardner, Sr.
7. TE Joey Haynos, Sr.
8. RB Lance Ball, Sr.
9. RB Keon Lattimore, Sr.
10. LB Trey Covington, Jr.
Preview 2006 predicted wins
William & Mary W 27-14
at West Virginia L 45-24
at Georgia Tech L 27-23
at Virginia W 28-26
at Clemson W 13-12
Miami W 14-13
at Boston Coll L 38-16
Champs Sports Bowl
Purdue W 24-7
Then came a seven-game stretch in the middle of last season, and
Friedgen was ascendant again. Maryland didn’t win the ACC title, or even
the Atlantic Division. A pair of ugly, two-touchdown, late-year losses
took care of that, but the Terps did win six of seven in the season’s
midsection, indicating Friedgen had found his lost mojo, and setting the
stage for what could be an interesting 2007.
All but five starters return for the Terps, including a pile of
promising skill position performers and eight of the top 11 tacklers. In
most circumstances, a team coming off a 9-4 mark would be considered a
title favorite in the conference, but one of Maryland’s losses was
quarterback Sam Hollenbach, and that could be trouble. Not that
Hollenbach was on a par with former Terp greats Boomer Esiason and Frank
Reich, but he was an efficient passer, good leader and strong decision
maker. How well sophomore Jordan Steffy, who attempted just five passes
last year – and didn’t complete any – performs could well determine
whether the Maryland arc continues to rise, or whether the Terps hit a
Steffy doesn’t have to throw for 3,000 yards, but he does have to be
efficient. Runners Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore could each top 1,000
yards, and will carry the attack behind one of the ACC’s stronger lines.
With a defense that should be just good enough to get by, another bowl
campaign is a lock. If Friedgen can work even more magic, the season
could be special.
What to look for on offense: Balance. The Terps want to get the ball
downfield, but with backs like Ball and Lattimore, each of whom averaged
more than 4.5 yards per carry, and a line which matured last season,
it’ll be too tempting to grind it out. Steffy had good passing numbers
in high school, but it’s his mobility that’ll make him dangerous on
rollouts and sprints. He’ll have plenty of targets at his disposal,
since the Terps’ top seven receivers return.
What to look for on defense: Maryland loves to let its inside
linebackers make plays, as evidenced by the 100-plus tackles piled up by
Erin Henderson and Wesley Jefferson last year. The Terps use a 3-4 look
and are blessed with a pair of drain-plugging nose men (Carlos Feliciano
and Dre Moore), who keep the linebackers clean. But Maryland was not
overwhelming along the front seven last year, giving up 4.6 yards per
carry. There’s depth in the secondary, but more productivity is
necessary since Maryland had just eight interceptions and allowed enemy
quarterbacks to complete 58.7% of their passes.
The team will be much better if … its turnover margin improves. The
Terps were 90th in the nation last year and were out of some
games, like the loss to Boston College, after giving the ball away
early. If Maryland isn’t going to overwhelm its rivals offensively, it
had better create some sudden-change opportunities. More experience
throughout the defense and a reduction in lost fumbles (11) should help
make turnover margin more favorable.
The Schedule: It's tougher than it might
appear, with several rough pockets and a tough finishing kick that
features three road games in the final four, with Boston College as the
one home date. Starting out with Villanova and at Florida International
should tune everything up before dealing with Big East powerhouses West
Virginia and Rutgers, along with a road date at Wake Forest and a battle
with Georgia Tech.
Sophomore WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. For the first time in many years,
Maryland has a young, game-breaking receiver who can stretch a secondary
and pick up big yards in chunks. A burgeoning star after his first
season in College Park, Heyward-Bey has electrifying speed to go along
with a sizable 6-2, 205-pound frame and an upside that’s even larger.
Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Erin Henderson. After sitting out
2004 as a redshirt freshman and 2005 with an ACL tear in his left knee,
Henderson proved well worth the wait in 2006, leading the Terps in
tackles, interceptions and forced fumbles. The younger brother of
former Butkus Award winner E.J. Henderson is a 6-3, 242-pound tackling
machine who pursues exceptionally well and can deliver the payload when
he reaches his target.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Jordan Steffy.
Here’s where Friedgen will earn his money. He redshirted Steffy in 2005
with an eye on letting him compete for the starting job last season.
When Hollenbach won the spot, Steffy was left to wait some more. Now,
it’s his time, and Maryland doesn’t have much other choice. Maybe
redshirt freshman Jeremy Ricker could mount a strong challenge, and
Jamarr Robinson, who committed last year and enrolled in time to compete
in spring drills, has potential, but it looks like Steffy will be the
difference between a good and a great season. Should he produce, the
Terps will be formidable and Maryland will be back in the ACC title mix.
will be a success if
... the Terps win nine games again. Repeating last year’s success might
be a tall order considering the schedule, but there’s no way Friedgen’s
club will shoot for anything less. Even though the team should be
better, it’ll take a few upsets and a bowl win to get to nine, playing
home games against West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Boston
College, along with road games at Wake Forest, Rutgers and Florida
Sept. 22 at Wake
Forest. Not only can the Terps start out their ACC season with a bang by
beating the defending champions, they might need the road win to avoid
an ugly start after playing West Virginia the week before and with
Rutgers and Georgia Tech coming in the following two weeks.
2006 Fun Stats:
- Scoring: Maryland 284; Opponents 284
- Penalties: Opponents 75 for 597 yards; Maryland 56 for 483 yards
- Red zone touchdowns: Opponents 20 of 40 (50%); Maryland 24 of 49 (49%)