2010 college football preview | Maryland Terrapins
Where the Terps stand, position-by-position
Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post
QUARTERBACK: Redshirt junior Jamarr Robinson has athleticism and a strong arm, and coaches are excited about using pages of the playbook that have gone unused for some time. Robinson has demonstrated improved leadership during training camp. He did not throw an interception in 85 pass attempts last season. His development during the early portion of the season will be one of the primary keys to Marylandís bowl hopes. Offensive coordinator James Franklin believes backup Danny OíBrien is also capable of winning ACC games.
RUNNING BACK: Coach Ralph Friedgen has high hopes for senior DaíRel Scott and junior Davin Meggett. With added speed and strength, Scott has rebounded well from an injury-plagued 2009 season and may be running as well as he ever has. After an offseason that included yoga instruction, Meggett, a robust, compact runner, is flexible and decisive on cuts. Coaches also praise explosive redshirt freshman D.J. Adams. Overall, the running game should improve because of an improved offensive line.
WIDE RECEIVER: This is an area of strength and depth for the Terrapins. Junior Torrey Smith (above) is expected to be one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country. But when opponents focus on Smith, Maryland could make better use of senior Adrian Cannon and junior Ronnie Tyler. Whatís more, coaches believe this is the season in which others get more involved, including LaQuan Williams, who has been pushing Tyler for a starting role, Quintin McCree, who has impressive speed, and Kevin Dorsey, a sophomore who had three receptions last season.
TIGHT END: Friedgen was particularly excited about his tight ends entering camp, but then injuries began to mount. Will Yeatman broke his finger in camp and will be out until the Sept. 18 game at West Virginia. Devonte Campbell, who should be the top receiving option, missed part of training camp with a concussion. And Lansford Watson will miss the season after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn MCL. Look for Matt Furstenburg to make an impact as a blocking tight end.
OFFENSIVE LINE: It is not an overstatement to say much of the season hinges on whether this unit is dramatically better than it was in 2009, when injuries and inexperience derailed any hopes of assembling a competent line. Coaches are optimistic about the potential of the first-teamers. The starting unit will feature three sophomores -- left tackle Justin Gilbert, right guard Justin Lewis and right tackle R.J. Dill -- in addition to junior left guard Andrew Gonnella and senior center Paul Pinegar. But the real issue is with the backups. Injuries will force Maryland to rely on redshirt freshmen, and that, according to coaches, will be a big problem.
John McDonnell/The Washington Post
DEFENSIVE LINE: The starting unit will consist of three sophomores -- anchor Justin Anderson, tackle Joe Vellano and nose tackle A.J. Francis Ė and senior end Drew Gloster. The athletic Gloster has had a circuitous journey. The converted tight end and linebacker has played in just 23 career games. Francis, who started 10 games at nose last season, collected 31 tackles, the most among Marylandís defensive linemen. Vellano, who missed the first six games last season with a broken foot, could be a standout after an exceptional spring practice. Anderson, who played backup tackle last season, was moved to anchor in the spring.
LINEBACKER: This was expected to be a particularly strong unit for Maryland, but depth took a hit when Avery Murray left the team for personal reasons and Ben Pooler suffered an ACL tear in camp. Middle linebacker Alex Wujciak ranks first nationally among active players in career tackles per game (10.6) and has recorded double-digit tackles in 17 of his last 22 games. Strong-side linebacker Adrian Moten, who can play all three linebacker spots, leads the team in career sacks and tackles for loss. And weak-side linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield started seven games last season.
DEFENSIVE BACK: The Terrapins canít give up as many big plays as they did last season. Cornerback Cameron Chism, who battled hamstring issues throughout camp, had a team-high four interceptions last season. Junior Trenton Hughes, who played mostly on special teams last season, and redshirt freshman Dexter McDougle competed throughout camp for the other starting cornerback job. Both will play a lot. Senior strong safety Antwine Perez, a hard-hitting tackler, has played in every game the last two seasons. Junior free safety Kenny Tate has all the attributes one looks for in a playmaker. Redshirt freshman safety Travis Hawkins has been lauded for his range.
Marylandís special teams unit should be strong, but there was some concern about place kicker because sophomore Nick Ferrara was inconsistent through much of camp; he also has been battling a groin pull. Punter Travis Baltz has been punting as well as he has at any point in his career. Kick returner Torrey Smith is as explosive as any return man in the country. Friedgen has been trying to put punt returner Tony Logan in better position to thrive.