Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post

Will Ralph Friedgen
feel the pressure?

The future of Ralph Friedgen, entering his 10th season as Maryland’s coach, is the issue hovering over the entire season. It is imperative Maryland gets off to a good start so recruits don’t jump ship and the fan base does not further erode. It is even more important that players gain some much-needed confidence after a 2-10 season and don’t lose faith in their head coach. Friedgen wears his emotions on his sleeve and shows many faces during the course of the season. It will be fascinating to see how Friedgen handles what could be the most pressurized season of his career.


Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post

Can the offensive line avoid injuries?

Let’s be blunt: The 2009 line was a disaster because of injuries and inexperience. The Terrapins could not run the ball and could not protect their quarterback. A different feeling exists entering this season. Coaches are optimistic about the potential of the starting offensive linemen. The problem is, the backups are largely redshirt freshmen. A significant injury or two could negate the talent Maryland has at wide receiver and running back. The health of the line will be something to watch. (Linemen Andrew Gonnella, left, and Justin Gilbert are shown during a yoga class, part of the team's off-season conditioning program)


Mark Gail/The Washington Post

Will the defense play
as advertised?

Throughout the 2009 training camp, there was an abundance of hype regarding Maryland’s new aggressive, blitz-happy defense. The defense showed glimpses of potential, but injuries, inexperience and – in Friedgen’s view -- “bad luck” made the defense look porous at times. There were too many big plays and missed tackles. The Terrapins have some questions in the secondary this season, but their starting linebackers (Adrian Moten, above) are more than capable performers. Two significant and different tests – Navy on Sept. 6 and West Virginia on Sept. 18 – loom as early progress reports for coordinator Don Brown’s defense.

Eric Prisbell/The Washington Post

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