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2009 CFN Maryland Preview
Maryland RB Da'Rel Scott
Is this the year Maryland puts it all together again and comes up with a consistent campaign? With a great backfield, led by Da'Rel Scott, the offense should be solid but will the defense come through? Check out the 2009 CFN Maryland Preview.
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2009 CFN Maryland
2009 Maryland Depth
2007 Maryland Preview |
Has Ralph Friedgen hit a wall that he won’t be
able to scale?
Head coach: Ralph Friedgen
9th year: 64-36
Off. 19, Def. 18, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 20
Ten Best Terp Players
1. LB Alex Wujciak, Jr.
Da'Rel Scott, Jr.
3. WR/KR Torrey Smith,
4. DT Travis Ivey, Sr.
5. C Phil
6. QB Chris Turner, Sr.
Bruce Campbell, Jr.
8. P Travis Baltz, Jr.
9. CB Anthony Wiseman, Sr.
10. LB Adrian
9/5 at California
9/12 James Madison
9/19 Middle Tennessee
10/10 at Wake Forest
10/24 at Duke
10/31 OPEN DATE
11/7 at NC State
11/14 Virginia Tech
11/21 at Florida State
11/28 Boston College
CFN Prediction: 6-6
8/30 Delaware W 14-7
9/6 at Middle Tenn L
9/13 California W 35-27
9/20 Eastern Mich W
9/27 at Clemson W 20-17
10/4 at Virginia L 31-0
10/11 OPEN DATE
10/18 Wake Forest W
10/25 NC State W
11/1 OPEN DATE
11/6 at Virginia Tech L 23-13
11/15 N Carolina W
11/22 Florida State L 37-3
11/29 at Boston Coll L 28-21
12/30 Nevada W 42-35
Maybe it’s a sign of progress in College Park when
Humanitarian Bowl invitations are no longer good enough. Or maybe the
best that Maryland has to offer is now in the rear-view mirror. Since
stringing together 10-win seasons from 2001-2003, the Terrapins have
been a model of inconsistency, going just 33-30. And while that’s not
catastrophic, it is a sign of lost momentum and downgraded expectations.
Last year was a typical one for Maryland, pulling some upsets and
losing games it wasn’t supposed to. How exactly do you beat four ranked
and lose to Middle Tennessee State in the same season? Yet, it still
found its way back to the ACC mid-section, a familiar spot over the last
few years. The 2009 edition figures to be equally unpredictable and
difficult to size up. On one hand, Friedgen and his staff have a lot of
exciting talent, courtesy of some crackerjack recruiting. Da’Rel Scott
is an All-ACC back. Alex Wujciak is on his way to becoming one of the
nation’s top inside linebackers. And go mention the name Torrey Smith to
your friends before the opener. You’ll look like a genius by November.
On the other hand, however, half of last year’s starters have
graduated, more than any other ACC school, and both lines were decimated
in the process. QB Chris Turner is still trying to become more than just
a journeyman, and the defense is a work-in-progress that’s going to
struggle against the better offenses. In other words, go ahead and try
to evaluate the Terps at your own peril.
Friedgen is at the tail
end of his up-and-down tenure, having already designated James Franklin
as his successor. He’d like to recapture some of the magic he had
earlier in the decade, but instead, he’ll have to settle for another
anonymous bowl berth in December.
to look for on offense: Sophomore WR Torrey Smith. Former Terp Darrius Heyward-Bey was the No. 7
overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. In time, Smith will be better. While
not as fast, he’s a more complete receiver, and has the work ethic and
demeanor of a budding superstar. The program couldn’t keep him off the
field as a freshman, and he wound up taking over a starting job midway
through the year. Now that there’s an opening for a go-to receiver, he’s
on the tarmac and preparing for lift-off as one of college football’s
bright young playmakers.
What to look for on defense: More
pressure. With the arrival of new coordinator Don Brown comes a mandate
to force the issue on every level of the defense. That means more
blitzes from outside linebackers Adrian Moten and Demetrius Hartsfield
and more press coverage from the defensive backs. When Brown looked at
Maryland, he saw a team that was on its heels too often rather than
dictating the tempo of the game. He has the athletes to make this system
fly, but now he has to make sure that the execution is clean. If
successful, it’ll mean sacks and more takeaways than a year ago.
The team will be far better if
… it can put an end to the rollercoaster ride. Few teams have been harder
to read the tea leaves on than Maryland, which can look like a Top 25
team one Saturday and be lousy the next. Last year was a prime example.
The same Terp team that beat Cal, Clemson, and North Carolina also lost
to Middle Tennessee State and was shut out by a bad Virginia team.
Somehow, this program has to locate a level of consistency, especially
when it’s on the road.
The Schedule: The Terps will have to fight the payback effect in the
season opener as they travel to face a Cal team that was upset in
College Park last year. The Middle Tennessee game would seem to be a
layup, but the Blue Raiders pulled off the upset in last year's matchup.
The non-conference schedule is finished up by the end of September with
a good test against Rutgers, and then it's statement time with a home
game against Clemson to kick off the ACC season with a bang. Getting
Virginia and Duke from the Atlantic is a break, as is getting Boston
College, Virginia Tech, and Clemson at home. Even so, the finishing kick
is a bear with at NC State, Virginia Tech, at Florida State and Boston
College coming after the bye week.
Offensive Player: Junior RB Da’Rel Scott. When the Terps
needed a feature back last fall, Scott was there to deliver, finishing
second in the ACC in rushing at nearly 100 yards a game. A blur in the
open field, he also has the size to work between the tackles and the
hands to bail out the quarterback. If he can stay healthy, a problem in
his starting debut, he’ll have a chance to be first team all-conference
in back-to-back years.
Best Defensive Player: Junior LB
Alex Wujciak. From the moment he stepped on campus, the Maryland staff
knew it had something special in Wujciak. After sitting out all of 2007
with an injury, he erupted in his first season of action, leading the
Terps with 133 tackles and out playing talented veterans, like Dave
Philistin and Moise Fokou. He’s the blueprint for a middle linebacker,
blending quickness, instincts, and ferocity into a 6-3, 255-pound frame.
Key player to a successful season:
Senior QB Chris Turner. He’s the fulcrum of a season that’ll either go
north or south based on his development as a passer. In an offense that
too often lacks balance and struggles on the other side of the 50, he
has to put it all together and help accelerate the learning curve of the
young receivers. Maryland simply isn’t good enough in any one area to
survive with a passing game that has one of the worst efficiency ratings
in the ACC. It’s time for Turner to perform like a fringe NFL hurler.
The season will be a success if ... the Terps make it
four straight postseason bowl games. Naturally, they’d love to upgrade
from last year’s Humanitarian Bowl, but with just 10 starters back and
glaring question marks on both lines, expectations are predictably
modest. Six wins should be the absolute minimum, with eight within reach
if everything breaks in their favor.
Oct. 10 at Wake Forest. Hey, this is the ACC, where just about
everyone has a shot at a title, so don’t expect Maryland to shoot for
anything else. In the wide-open Atlantic Division, this is the type of
game that could be a launching pad for the winner. The Terps shut down
the Demon Deacons, 26-0, last October, which eliminates any fear factor
of traveling into Winston-Salem.
2008 Fun Stats:
- Punt return
average: Maryland 7.0 yards - Opponents 4.2 yards
- Interception return average: Opponents 11.6 yards - Maryland 4.3 yards
- Time of possession: Opponents 32:13 - Maryland 27:47
2009 CFN Maryland
2009 Maryland Depth
2007 Maryland Preview |