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2010 Maryland Preview
Maryland RB Da'Rel Scott
Maryland RB Da'Rel Scott
Posted Jun 27, 2010

Will Maryland ever rebound? Ralph Friedgen was given another year, and while he has some good talent to work with, like RB Da'Rel Scott, but the wins have to start coming. Can the Terps quickly get past the two-win 2009 disaster? Check out the CFN Maryland Preview.

Maryland Terrapins

Preview 2010

- 2010 Maryland Preview | 2010 Maryland Offense
- 2010 Maryland Defense | 2010 Maryland Depth Chart
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By Richard Cirminiello

Head coach: Ralph Friedgen
10th year: 66-46
Returning Lettermen
Off. 27, Def. 23, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 15
Ten Best Maryland Players
1. LB Alex Wujciak, Sr.
2. WR/KR Torrey Smith, Jr.
3. RB Da’Rel Scott, Sr.
4. LB Adrian Moten, Sr.
5. LB Demetrius Hartsfield, Soph.
6. CB Cameron Chism, Jr.
7. NT A.J. Francis, Soph.
8. P Travis Baltz, Sr.
9. WR Adrian Cannon, Sr.
10. S Antwine Perez, Sr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 6 Navy
Sept. 11 Morgan State
Sept. 18 at West Virginia
Sept. 25 FIU
Oct. 2 Duke
Oct. 16 at Clemson
Oct. 23 at Boston Coll
Oct. 30 Wake Forest
Nov. 6 at Miami
Nov. 13 at Virginia
Nov. 20 Florida State
Nov. 27 NC State

It’s official. Head coach Ralph Friedgen has hit the wall in College Park, showing no signs that he’ll be able to scale it before entering retirement in the next year or two.

The good old days, when the Fridge was delivering 10-win seasons and making Maryland a national commodity are now a distant memory. Since going 10-3 in 2003 and whipping West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, the Terps are a dismal 35-40. Rock bottom was reached during last year’s 2-10 implosion that nearly cost the coach his job. He barely survived, but hopes of a revival are remote, considering the concerns on both lines and the general malaise that’s seeped into the program.

Basically, Maryland lives today where Florida State resided in recent years. Sure, there are moments to celebrate along the way, but there’s also a feeling that the program is stuck in neutral, with an aging and underperforming head coach hanging on as a coach-in-waiting, well, waits. In the meantime, interest in the squad, from fans and the media to potential recruits in the region, begins to wane considerably. The Terrapins are mired in a prolonged slump, with no quick fix or easy solution in sight. Fear the turtle? Not quite.

No one doubts that Friedgen is at the tail end of his up-and-down tenure, having already designated current offensive coordinator James Franklin as his heir apparent. However, will it have a happy ending or simply continue to crash and burn? Naturally, the coach would love to recapture some of the magic he had at the beginning of last decade, but instead, he’d be fortunate just to milk six wins out the schedule and settle for an anonymous bowl bid in December.

What to look for on offense: The introduction of the option. No, Maryland won’t be doing an impression of one of the service academies, but it will look to leverage the athleticism of likely starting QB Jamarr Robinson. When the Terps were peaking under Ralph Friedgen, they used Shaun Hill as a multi-dimensional threat from behind center. Robinson has similar traits, possessing a strong arm and the quickness to do a lot of damage outside the pocket. As a backup last season, he third on the team in rushing, beating Virginia Tech and Florida State for 187 yards in consecutive weeks.

What to look for on defense: The linebackers. There won’t be a ton of reasons to monitor Maryland this season. On offense, WR Torrey Smith and RB Da’Rel Scott can be real exciting. And on defense, the Terps have cobbled together one of the most underrated collections of linebackers in the nation. Most fans outside of ACC country wouldn’t be able to pick Alex Wujciak, Adrian Moten, or Demetrius Hartsfield out of a lineup, but all three are playmakers, with the potential to keep playing on Sundays once they’re through in College Park.

The team will be far better if … it can find a way to win a few more of the close games. Yeah, the Terps were just 2-10 last season, but peeling the onion reveals that in seven losses, they were within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. With a third down conversion here and a defensive stop there, maybe Maryland doesn’t author one of its worst seasons in school history. This program won’t blow anyway out, save for maybe Morgan State, making late-game execution especially critical for overall success.

The Schedule: If the Terps can get by Navy in the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the first half of the season should be terrific with winnable games against Morgan State, FIU, and Duke before the break in early October. There's a road trip to West Virginia thrown in there, but a 4-1 start is a must with the brutal part of the slate kicking in with four road games in five weeks going to Clemson, Boston College, Miami, and Virginia with a home date against Wake Forest thrown in the middle. Closing out against Florida State and NC State isn't going to be easy, but those are home games that the Terps must split. On the plus side, getting Duke and Virginia from the Coastal is a huge break (but the other interdivisional game is against Miami).

Best Offensive Player:
Junior WR Torrey Smith. Smith isn’t just a big reptile in a small pond. No, he’d make plays on offense and special teams for any program in the country. Far more than just a physically-gifted 6-1, 200-pounder, he has the work ethic and desire to get better that make coaches wish they had 10 more just like him. Despite getting mediocre support from the quarterbacks, he still caught a team-high 61 passes for 824 yards and five touchdowns. Oh, and he was also honored as both a second All-ACC receiver and kick returner.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Alex Wujciak. As a sophomore, Wujciak led the Terps with 133 tackles. As a junior, he had a team-best 131. Expect more of the same from a 6-3, 245-pound defender, who can sniff out running plays and lower the boom about as well as any inside linebacker in the country. Entering his final season in great shape and eager to impress pro scouts, he’s a textbook tackler at the position, rarely letting a ballcarrier get out of his grasp.

Key player to a successful season: Senior RB Da’Rel Scott. Two years ago, Scott was an All-ACC first teamer, with half of his amateur career still in front of him. Injuries, however, have been like a stick in his spokes, limiting him to just 85 carries in 2009. When Scott is Scott, everyone on the offense, from the blockers to the quarterback, are better. Especially with an unproven hurler under center, Maryland needs a feature back, who can extend drives and keep the spotty defense from having to be on the field for extended periods of time.

The season will be a success if ... the Terrapins can stem the recent tide and make it back to the postseason. Even with a schedule that has Morgan State and Florida International visiting Byrd Stadium, six wins might be a tall order. The road schedule is very tough, and the program doesn’t show much of a propensity for delivering upsets. Still, it’s imperative that the program gather up a little momentum or else it stands to fall into an even deeper funk.

Key game: Sept. 6 vs. Navy. Right out of the gate, the Terrapins will be playing for local bragging rights and an opportunity to pick up a head of steam in front of a huge audience. This is the first meeting between these two Maryland programs in five years and just the second since 1965. Against Ricky Dobbs and the vaunted Midshipmen option attack, the Terps will know right away whether the rebuilt defensive line made enough strides in the offseason. An embarrassing loss in Baltimore could be the beginning of the end for Friedgen.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Maryland averaged 20.8 yards an interception return, second to North Carolina in the ACC
- The Terps were outscored in every quarter, including 116-54 in the opening frame
- Maryland’s 6.4 yards per reception were third lowest in the ACC, ahead of only Virginia and North Carolina

- 2010 Maryland Preview | 2010 Maryland Offense
- 2010 Maryland Defense | 2010 Maryland Depth Chart
- Maryland Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006