2010 Maryland Preview – Offense
Maryland WR Torrey Smith
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Maryland Terrapin Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: If the Terrapins hope to improve on last year's awful offensive results, they'll need to maximize the potential of RB Da'Rel Scott and WR Torrey Smith, the team's two best weapons. Accomplishing that, however, will first require choosing a new quarterback and patching up one of the ACC's leakiest offensive lines. The heavy favorite to get the ball will be junior Jamarr Robinson, a dual-threat who started two games when Chris Turner was injured last November. His mobility and overall athleticism is the impetus for a tweaked offensive system that'll give the quarterback more chances to make plays and defenses more looks to defend.
Star of the offense: Junior WR Torrey Smith
Passing: Jamarr Robinson
46-85, 459 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Rushing: Da'Rel Scott
85 carries, 425 yds, 4 TDs
Receiving: Torrey Smith
61 catches, 824 yds, 5 TDs
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior QB Jamarr Robinson
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT R.J. Dill
Best pro prospect: Smith
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Smith, 2) Senior RB Da'Rel Scott, 3) Senior WR Adrian Cannon
Strength of the offense: Talent at the skill positions
Weakness of the offense: The offensive line, inconsistency at quarterback, red zone scoring, turnovers, third down conversions
Projected Starter: Now that long-time starter Chris Turner has exhausted his eligibility, the Terps are facing a battle at quarterback. Junior Jamarr Robinson is the favorite to come out on top. The backup a year ago, he made seven appearances and two starts, going 46-of-85 for 459 yard and two touchdowns, adding 229 yards on 53 carries. Easily the most athletic Maryland hurler in years, he can make plays with his feet, escape pressure, and give the offense more flexibility. While just 6-0 and 195 pounds, he also has enough arm strength to stretch the defense and connect downfield with his receivers.
Projected Top Reserves: For now, Robinson's primary competition will come from 6-3, 215-pound redshirt freshman Danny O'Brien . A member of the 2009 recruiting class, he's a pocket passer, with enough athleticism to avoid the rush and pick up a first down. He's a good leader and has the work ethic and football IQ needed to make up ground on a more seasoned player.
From the same class as O'Brien came 6-3, 195-pound redshirt freshman C.J. Brown . The faster and more versatile of the two young quarterbacks, he's more likely to tuck it and run or make plays on designed scrambles. Physically, he might have the highest long-term ceiling of this group, but still needs to prove that it'll translate to on-field consistency.
Watch Out For .... Robinson to maintain his starting spot and create a nice highlight reel this fall. Yeah, he's still raw, but he also has the knack for making plays that this offense desperately needs. Remember that this is the same kid, who ran for 129 yards versus Virginia Tech and went 20-of-27 on Florida State in consecutive games last November.
Strength: Athleticism. With Robinson at the forefront and Brown and O'Brien just behind him, the Terrapins have three athletically-gifted quarterbacks, a plus playing behind this sketchy line. If nothing else, they'll give coordinator James Franklin a few more options when opening the playbook.
Weakness: Proven passers. Sure, Robinson can reach maximum RPMs, but how about his accuracy? He misfires and overthrows too many receivers, which needs to be addressed in the offseason if the passing attack is to do better than 93rd nationally in efficiency rating.
Outlook: The departure of Turner brings some trepidation and excitement. He was average in College Park, but he was also a veteran. If Robinson can evolve as a passer and avoid mistakes, Maryland could have an intriguing dual-threat behind center. There's a lot of uncertainty and maturation that needs to take place before the opener with Navy.
Projected Starters: When healthy, 5-11, 200-pound senior Da'Rel Scott is one of the premier backs in the ACC and a former 1,000-yard rusher. The problem is, he hasn't always been 100% over the last two seasons. Saddled with a broken wrist for almost half of 2009, he was limited to 85 carries for 425 yards and four touchdowns. The numbers are misleading. He has next-level ability and the sprinter speed to get outside the tackles and into the secondary in a flash. Beyond getting more support from his blockers, the key is to simply be available from wire-to-wire.
For the first time, Scott will have a different lead blocker now that Cory Jackson has graduated. First in line to take the job will be last year's backup, 6-2, 240-pound junior Taylor Watson. If he can improve as a blocker, he could become the total package, earning occasional touches as a runner and receiver as well.
Projected Top Reserves: In 5-9, 215-pound junior Davin Meggett, the running game has a solid veteran, who's rushed for almost 800 yards and 10 touchdowns in two years off the bench. More of a between-the-tackles runner than Scott, he uses his frame as an advantage, hiding behind linemen and making it tough for tacklers to apply a direct hit.
Sophomore Gary Douglas is one of a number of underclassmen clawing for more snaps behind the two fixtures on the depth chart. Although he only got 16 carries for 81 yards as a rookie, he flashed impressive moves for a 6-1, 205-pound, making people miss in the open field and showing soft hands out of the backfield.
Watch Out For .... the health of Scott. It's the single most important issue for the backfield, if not the entire offense. To illustrate his importance to the Terrapins, he averaged five yards a carry last fall, while the rest of the team was stuck at a paltry 2.6 yards a touch.
Strength: The one-two punch. When everything is right in the Maryland backfield, Scott is hurting defenses on the perimeter and Meggett is doing damage on the inside. It's an exciting combination that's capable of being the focal point of this offense.
Weakness: Durability. New season, same concern. Aside from the play of the line, injuries are the one thing that's capable of shutting down this talented group of backs. Scott and the Terps have dedicated much of the offseason to getting bigger and stronger, hoping to be better prepared for punishment in 2010.
Outlook: Which Scott does Maryland get, the All-ACC 2008 version or the one that could only manage 85 carries all year? If it's the former, coupled with the escapability of QB Jamarr Robinson, the Terrapins will enjoy a sudden shift in production on the ground.
Projected Starters: It only took one season for 6-1, 200-pound junior Torrey Smith to supplant Darrius Heyward-Bey and become one of the nation's most productive all-purpose players. The go-to guy at "Z" receiver, he erupted for 61 catches for 824 yards and five touchdowns in a breakthrough All-ACC campaign . More than just a big and strong playmaker, he's also a team leader and one of the hardest workers in College Park.
At the other outside spot, "Z receiver", 6-2, 204-pound senior Adrian Cannon will be looking to take advantage of Smith's magnetism. As a 10-game starter a year ago, he set career-highs with 44 receptions for 468 yards and four touchdowns. Although it looked for a while as if he might never fulfill expectations, he's turned the corner and is headed toward a strong finish to his career.
The battle at tight end is close and may not be decided until late in the summer. Sophomore Devonte Campbell actually started the final four games of his debut season, finishing with five grabs for 14 yards. Built more like an H-back at 6-2 and 255 pounds, he's the best athlete of the group and has improved his strength in order to progress as a blocker.
At 6-4 and 260 pounds, junior Lansford Watson is the biggest target, but fell behind as the season progressed and had an increasingly difficult time getting on the field. He wound up with seven catches for 66 yards, and needs to have a good offseason in order to get a bump from those numbers.
Projected Top Reserves: When Maryland uses three receivers, it'll put 5-9, 185-pound junior Ronnie Tyler in the slot and turn him loose. Extremely quick in space and sure-handed, he's has the ability to take a short toss, make people miss, and pick up chunks of yards after the catch. A starter in four games, he caught 28 balls for 346 yards and a score.
The veteran among the reserves will be 6-1, 195-pound senior LaQuan Williams , a letterman in 2007 and 2009. A smooth and versatile athlete, he played three different positions last fall, showcasing his value to the coaching staff and making 10 receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Junior Quintin McCree is one of the mysteries of this unit and a potential hidden gem behind Smith at "Z" receiver. The star of last spring's Red-White game, he disappeared in the fall, making just five catches for 24 yards. Still, he has that long ball potential and blazing speed that, at worst, should make him a scary decoy who can open things up for the intermediate routes.
Watch Out For .... Smith to become a better receiver, even if the numbers don't indicate it. The junior is on an indisputable path that'll wind up in the NFL, but with a little more uncertainty behind center, he's liable to hit a plateau in terms of overall production.
Strength: Depth. The Terps didn't have it leading into last season. They do now. The offense used a deep rotation of wide receivers in 2009, which has as many as five or six ready for action. No doubt Smith is the focal point, but if opponents spend too many resources on shutting him down, his teammates will make them pay.
Weakness: Consistency after Smith. While the Terps possess good depth and outstanding overall athleticism, from one game to the next, you're never quite sure who'll show up and who'll be maddeningly inconsistent.
Outlook: The receivers rebounded nicely after the departure of Heyward-Bey to the Oakland Raiders. The collection of talent now comprises a budding superstar in Smith and a veteran supporting cast that includes Cannon, Tyler, and Williams. More output from the tight ends would be nice, especially with a first-year starting quarterback about to be broken in.
Projected Starters: The Maryland offensive line was brutal a year ago, and that was before LT Bruce Campbell and C Phil Costa left campus. Now? It's a landmine. To address the void at the pivot, the Terps are moving well-traveled senior Paul Pinegar inside from tackle. The 6-4, 290-pound former walk-on is an intelligent, try-hard blocker, but his overall upside is limited.
Junior G Andrew Gonnella, too, arrived in College Park without a scholarship, yet is slated to start on the left side for a second straight season. With dedication in the weight room, he's bulked up to 6-5 and 305 pounds, and brings a level of energy and dedication to the huddle that becomes contagious.
Competing for the other guard spot will be 6-4, 295-pound sophomore Bennett Fulper, a letterwinner and four-game starter in his first season on campus. Before suffering a shoulder injury that shelved him in November, he was showing the work ethic and grasp of the system that caught the staff's attention.
The lineman under the most scrutiny will be 6-6, 300-pound sophomore Justin Gilbert, who's challenging for Campbell's old job at left tackle. While there's no doubt he has a lot to learn, he also has a nice foundation of footwork and athleticism that could carry him through the rough patches of being a first-time starter at such a critical spot on the line.
Hope for the future can be found in 6-7, 300-pound sophomore R.J. Dill, who went from the scout team to an eight-game starter in his first year of eligibility. He has the body type and long arms desired by the coaching staff, and made nice strides in a Freshman All-ACC debut at right tackle.
Projected Top Reserves: The Terrapins harbor a couple of young guards, who'll be looking to get healthy, become more consistent, and work their way into the regular rotation. Junior Lamar Young played in 11 games a year ago and started three on the left side, but missed spring while recovering from shoulder surgery. At 6-4 and 315 pounds, he has good size on the interior and the strength to be an effective run blocker.
Over on the right side, 6-3, 315-pound sophomore Justin Lewis is a similar specimen with a similar background. He also lettered as a rookie and started three games at guard down the stretch. Like Young, he's another drive blocker, with the demeanor, leverage, and power to be exactly what the running game needs from its blockers.
Watch Out For .... the competition to heat up around the time that the weather does in August. Pinegar is pretty safe at center and Dill should lock down the right tackle job, but left tackle and the guard spots should be fluid situations. It's an environment the staff is encouraging, as it searches for the best combination up front.
Strength: The intangibles. Say what you want about the Terrapin offensive line, but do not accuse it of being comprised of slackers. From top to bottom, these guys are generally a bunch of bright and blue-collar workers, who won't quit on a play until the whistle blows.
Weakness: Pass protection. While the front wall didn't do anything especially well last season, it was particularly egregious at keeping the pocket safe. Maryland ranked 110th nationally and next to last in the ACC, yielding 36 sacks and allowing the quarterbacks to take a beating.
Outlook: Position coach Tom Brattan has his hands full. Again. The weakest link of the offense, the line has plenty of question marks and not a single sure-fire all-star candidate to build around. The hope will be for the budding underclassmen to begin playing like veterans, preferably en masse and before the opening weekend.
- 2010 Maryland Preview |
2010 Maryland Defense |
Maryland Depth Chart
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