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2007 Maryland Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 12, 2007


Preview 2007 Maryland Terrapins Offense

Maryland Terrapins

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 Maryland Preview | 2007 Maryland Defense Preview
-
2007 Maryland Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Maryland Preview 

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.

Returning Leaders
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 Jordan Steffy
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

Quarterbacks

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 road.

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 really throw.
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.
Rating: 6.5


Running Backs

Projected Starters: 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.

253-pound sophomore 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 blocker.
 
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.
Rating: 8.5


Receivers

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 physical.

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.

6-8, 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.

Redshirt freshman 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 catch again.
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.
Rating: 8

Offensive Linemen

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.

6-4, 339-pound 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 mistakes.


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.

Sophomore Phil 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 productive.
Rating: 8

  

Related Stories
2007 Maryland Preview
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 11, 2007
2007 Maryland Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 11, 2007
2007 Maryland Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 11, 2007








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