2007 Maryland Preview - Offense
Maryland Terrapins Offense
Preview 2007 - Offense
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What you need to know:
It's all there for the Terps to be steady, explosive and very,
very productive as long as everyone plays as well as they
should. This will be one of the four best offenses in the league
as long as injuries don't strike up front. The line is full of
veterans and should be a rock, but there's no depth. The
receiving corps might be the fastest in the ACC and Lance Ball
and Keon Lattimore form a tremendous 1-2 rushing punch. It's all
there for a big season, but that's what everyone said last year
and the Terps were merely average.
Passing: Jordan Steffy
0-5, 0 yds
Rushing: Lance Ball
174 carries, 815 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Darrius Heyward-Bey
45 catches, 694 yds, 5
Star of the offense: Sophomore WR Darrius Hayward-Bey
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore FB Cory Jackson
Best pro prospect: Senior OG Andrew Crummey
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hayward-Bey, 2)
Crummey, 3) TE Joey Haynos
Strength of the offense: Receiver speed, running back
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback experience,
offensive line depth
Projected Starter: Is junior Jordan
Steffy ready? After having problems staying healthy two
years ago, he was Sam Hollenbach's backup last season and didn't
do much of anything missing his five pass attempts. He's big,
strong, has a big arm and all the tools to run the offense just
the way Ralph Friedgen wants it. He's the safe, steady option
who won't get Maryland beat, but ...
Projected Top Reserves: ... sophomore Josh
Portis is the one who can make the team special. While he
hasn't been remotely consistent in practices, he has moments of
jaw-dropping greatness that get everyone excited about the
possibilities. The Florida transfer has size, mobility, and a
great arm. Now he needs to prove he can be a good leader game in
and game out.
While 6-3, 214-pound sophomore Chris Turner
was listed second on the depth chart going into spring ball,
don't believe it. He's at best the third option despite his
knowledge of the system and his passing skills. A pro-style
quarterback, he has the talent to eventually start down the
6-2, 216-pound redshirt freshman Jeremy Ricker was
a top recruit a few years ago and will work and wait for his
turn. An excellent passer with a little bit of mobility, he'll
be in the hunt for the number three job.
Watch Out For ... Steffy to be better than Hollenbach
was. He doesn't have to be spectacular, just consistent. He has
the arm to get the ball to his speedy receivers deep, and as
long as he doesn't throw interceptions, he'll be fine.
Strength: Potential passers. Portis is a nice
backup to have in case Friedgen wants to throw a change-up.
Turner and Ricker were top recruits for a reason; they can
Weakness: Proven production. While the quarterback
situation should be fine, and Steffy looks the part of a number
one, the Terps don't have anyone who's actually done the job
yet. A case of musical quarterbacks would be ugly.
Outlook: Steffy should be fine, but it'll be
interesting to see how fast the fans start clamoring for Portis
if the offense gets off to a rocky start. All the quarterbacks
have the arm to air it out, but being able to keep the offense
moving is the real key. Steffy should be able to do that.
The Terps are loaded here. 223-pound senior Lance Ball
led the team with 815 yards and is technically the starter, but
223-pound senior Keon Lattimore splits the workload. Ball
isn't fast and he's not going to tear off too many big runs, but
he's shifty through the line with the power to get the hard yard
when needed. While he hasn't been used as a workhorse, he can
potentially be one getting his only 100-yard game last year on
his only 20+ carry day rumbling for 116 yards and a touchdown on
23 carries in the loss to Georgia Tech. Also a decent receiver,
he has 29 career catches for 213 yards.
Cory Jackson turned into a find as a tough lead blocker. He
took over late in his true freshman year and played like a
potential mainstay of the attack.
Projected Top Reserves: Lattimore is hardly a
backup with just 14 fewer carries than Ball rushing for 743
yards and three touchdowns. Speed, size and hands, he has
it all including impressive blocking ability. He took over the
workload late in the year with 43 carries for 204 yards and a
touchdown over the final two games.
Redshirt freshman Da'Rel
Scott is the fastest of the backs with the skills to be a
good one once he gets a little work. He ran for 2,523 yards and
38 touchdowns in his senior year of high school, and was the
Pennsylvania state 100-meter sprint champion.
While Scott is the
speed, 207-pound redshirt freshman Morgan Green is the
strength. The strongest Terp back, he also has speed with a 4.53
40. Backing up Jackson at fullback will be 234-pound sophomore
Steven Pfister, a former linebacker who'll purely be a
Watch Out For ... the 1-2 rushing punch of Ball and
Lattimore to shine, but the future 1-2 punch of Scott and Green
to quickly find their way on the field adding even more pop.
Strength: Talent. Most teams would love to have
one back like Ball or Lattimore. As long as the line plays well
and teams aren't loading up to stop the run, the Terps should be
able to run without a problem.
Weakness: To nitpick, can any of the backs
consistently carry the ball 20+ times if needed? If the young
backups aren't quite ready for primetime and Ball or Lattimore
get hurt, the gameplan could quickly take a turn.
Outlook: Will the ground game finally work as
expected. Totally mediocre over the last two seasons, there's no
excuse not to average close to 200 yards a game (the Terps
averaged 130 last year). After the attack hit the wall late in
the year, it woke up to run for 182 yards against Wake Forest
and 223 yards against Purdue once Lattimore took over. The
coaching staff will go with the hot hand.
Projected Starters: The Terps have one of the
ACC's most dangerous deep threats in 6-2, 206-pound sophomore
Darrius Hayward-Bey. With 4.3 speed and good strength, he
handles himself well against all types of defensive backs. Now
he has to be consistent. Coming up with catches wasn't a
problem, but cranking out big plays was. He caught five passes
for 175 yards and two touchdowns against Miami highlighted by a
96-yard scoring play, but he had eight games with fewer than 50
yards. Even so, he led the team with 45 catches for 694 yards
and five scores.
In the slot is veteran Danny Oquendo,
one of the nation's fastest players who finished second on the
team in receiving yards with 396 on 34 catches with two scores.
He has far too much speed to not be more of a big-play target. A
bit bigger and stronger now, up to 193 pounds, he should be more
At the outside X position will once again be 6-3,
197-pound junior Isaiah Williams, a big speedster who
caught 28 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns averaging
13.5 yards per catch. Once he gets back from a shoulder injury,
he should blossom into an all-star caliber target.
260-pound senior Joey Haynos is one of the league's best
finishing second on the Terps with 37 catches for 369 yards and
three touchdowns. He's seen a little bit of everything going
from a pure blocker to a top receiver over the last three years.
With his size, he's a matchup nightmare.
Projected Top Reserves: Until Williams is back
healthy, 6-1, 201-pound Nolan Carroll will get plenty of
practice reps at the outside X spot and will be one of the first
players off the bench. While he didn't show it off much last
year catching five passes for 60 yards, he has the jaw-dropping
speed to be a dangerous deep threat.
Stephen Smalls will be a slightly bigger option than Oquendo
in the slot. He's 6-1 and 201 pounds with tremendous leaping
ability with a 46.5 inch vertical.
At tight end, junior Dan
Gronkowski sees plenty of time in the Maryland's attack.
While he's technically a backup behind Haynos. he's like starter
No. 1A using his 6-6, 263-pound frame almost exclusively as a
blocker with just two catches for 11 yards and a touchdown.
Watch Out For ... more consistency. This was a
talented young group that made plenty of plays, but didn't quite
max out its potential. Even with a new starting quarterback, the
corps will be better.
Strength: Speed. If Heyward-Bey, Oquendo, Williams
and Carroll don't form the fastest foursome in college football,
they're awfully close. Stretching the field isn't a problem, and
there's no excuse for the Terps to only average 11.7 yards per
Weakness: Depth. The first three receivers are
fantastic, but Carroll and Smalls are unproven and there's no
one to rely on after them. While most teams would love to have
three good receivers, a few more need to be developed.
Outlook: Fast, big, fast and fast, the Terps will
come up with more of their share of home runs with this crew.
The tight end situation is excellent, Heyward-Bey has
All-America potential, and Oquendo and Williams could be number
one targets on any given day. As long as everyone maintains
their concentration and plays well game in and game out, this
will be one of the team's strengths.
Projected Starters: The starters should be great
with five veterans returning. The star is senior right guard Andrew
Crummey, who earned All-ACC honors as the team's best run blocker.
Despite beefing up to 301 pounds, he kept his quickness becoming a more
effective pass protector. He can play center if needed.
junior Jaimie Thomas returns at left guard where he'll finally
have the full-time job all to himself with Donnie Woods leaving the team
to join the army. One of the team's strongest players, he has the
potential to turn into a special blocker after being a great reserve and
spot starter over the first two seasons.
6-2, 326-pound junior Edwin
Williams is one of the ACC's bigger centers, and he's growing into
one of the steadiest. A raw talent who just needed a little bit of time,
Williams grew into the role up front starting all 13 games.
At left tackle, 6-5, 324-pound Scott Burley will take over for
Stephon Heyer, who was one of the team's best players. Burley has seen a
little bit of action having been kept out of the lineup with a back
injury. Ridiculously strong, the team still hasn't been able to see what
the senior can do when fully healthy.
The right tackle spot is still up
in the air, at least a little bit, now that Jared Gaither is off early
to the NFL. Dane
Randolph will get a few starts over the course of the season, but
the 6-5, 312-pound junior will split time. He's a former defensive
lineman who bulked up to handle the workload, and while he has
tremendous upside and great strength, he'll have to work through his
Projected Top Reserves: Senior Jack Griffin hasn't seen too much work, but the
6-7, 308-pounder will get time on the right side in the rotation behind
Gaither and Randolph and could play a bit on the left.
Costa has a little bit of experience, two games worth, but that
makes him a veteran among the backups. He'll play behind Williams in the
middle being groomed for next year. With his quickness, he'll find a
starting spot somewhere very soon.
Watch Out For ... the starting five to potentially be
among the best in the ACC. Randolph needs to be solid, and Burley needs
to be at least passable in place of Heyer, but the potential is there
for this to be a rock of a front wall.
Strength: Size and agility. For averaging well
over 310 pounds per man up front, this group moves surprisingly well. It
was great in pass protection last season, and as long as the tackles are
solid, will be great again.
Weakness: Depth. There isn't any. The Terps will
have to spend the entire year trying to fold some of the backups into
the mix to get a little bit of experience in case injuries strike. There
are way too many unproven players who could have to play key roles.
Outlook: It's this simple; if the starting five
stays healthy, the line will dominate. If there are injuries of any
kind, it could kill the title hopes. Last year's line allowed a mere 20
sacks and did a great job for the running game, and it'll be just as