2009 Season Preview
MARYLAND POSITION BREAKDOWN
Quarterback: If Chris Turner remains healthy, the senior - who has a chance to finish his third consecutive season as starter - will likely leave his imprint on Maryland's record book. The Terrapins do not have another quarterback who has attempted a pass in a game.
Running Back: Da'Rel Scott is trying for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, but the task will be particularly difficult running behind an inexperienced offensive line. Davin Meggett and Morgan Green will also figure into the mix. And do not discount the value of Cory Jackson's blocking at fullback.
Wide Receiver: There may be no star like the departed Darrius Heyward-Bey, but there are nine players who could make an impact, including Torrey Smith, who caught 24 passes last season; Ronnie Tyler, who should become the option on third down; and Quintin McCree, who had three touchdowns in the spring game.
Tight End: The position is a big question mark. Tommy Galt has one career catch, and Lansford Watson has shown glimpses of potential but remains largely unproven.
Offensive Line: Last year's mediocre offensive unit lost five of its top seven linemen. Phil Costa, who has made 19 starts, should fare well at center, and robust LT Bruce Campbell should do well protecting Turner's blind side. But other positions have considerable issues.
Defensive Line: With Travis Ivey (6 feet 4, 325 pounds), Maryland has size on the interior. Defensive end remains a question, and new coordinator Don Brown can't expect too much from the line during his first season.
Linebacker: Maryland lost four linebackers who combined to make 54 starts, but the unit will not be a glaring weakness. MLB Alex Wujciak earned second-team all-ACC honors and ranked 13th nationally in tackles (133). Adrian Moten has just one career start, but his seven career sacks and three forced fumbles lead the team.
Defensive Back: The defensive backfield is a strength. Four safeties - Terrell Skinner, Jamari McCollough, who had a team-high four interceptions, Kenny Tate and Antwine Perez - should be impact performers. They are less deep at cornerback but still in good shape with Nolan Carroll and Anthony Wiseman, who ranked fourth in the ACC in pass breakups.
Kicker-Punter: There is great uncertainty at place kicker, where Nick Wallace, Mike Barbour and freshman Nick Ferrara are competing for the job. Maryland has one of the nation's best punters in Travis Baltz, a first-team all-ACC selection last season.
Kick Returner: Kickoff return duties will be in good hands with Smith, who set the ACC single-season record for kickoff return yards (1,089).
-- Eric Prisbell
Smith, Once a Quarterback, Is Ready for Breakout Season at Wide Receiver
Game to Watch
Clemson, Oct. 3
The home game against Clemson is critical for the Terrapins, who earned a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Tigers last season in Death Valley. This season, Maryland will need to find ACC victories early because the schedule is particularly grueling come November. Taking the schedule as a whole, four games - James Madison, Middle Tennessee, Virginia and Duke - jump out as contests the Terrapins need to win. And four games - California, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and Florida State - promise to be steep challenges. The Clemson game could prove pivotal in determining whether Maryland can make a bowl game.
Kenny Tate, Safety
Among all the players who should do well in new coordinator Don Brown's defense, Tate could shine the most. The sophomore, who moved to safety from wide receiver before last season, has settled into the position and has made plays all over the field throughout camp. No defensive player excelled early in camp more than Tate, who was intercepting a pass nearly every practice. Coaches have said that the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Tate has the ability to line up in a variety of spots on the field because of his size, strength and versatility.
Pack Your Bags For...
No need to pack a suitcase. There's a good chance Maryland will be heading down the road to RFK Stadium on Dec. 29 for the EagleBank Bowl. It would hardly be a surprise to see the Terrapins selected by the EagleBank Bowl as the eighth selection from the ACC. A more important question - because of overall youth and a nonconference schedule that includes two significant tests - is whether Maryland will be bowl-eligible.
|Sept. 5||at California|
|Sept. 12||James Madison|
|Sept. 19||Middle Tenn.|
|Oct. 10||at Wake Forest|
|Oct. 24||at Duke|
|Nov. 7||at NC State|
|Nov. 14||Virginia Tech|
|Nov. 21||at Florida State|
|Nov. 28||Boston College|