The dog days of summer/fall practice begin this week for area college football teams.
The Maryland Terrapins will begin their first season under head coach Joe Krivak with workouts today. The freshmen, including 23 scholarship players and six walk-ons, will work out in shorts, shirts and helmets this week. Mount Vernon running back Mike Wilson, who was injured at the end of last year, will begin practicing later.
Each morning, the freshmen will meet for an hour with academic counselor Jim Wright. The sessions will include discussions on picking classes, study habits and note taking.
There is still a possibility that one of the freshmen will not meet the academic requirements of Proposition 48, according to Maryland recruiting coordinator John Misciagna, who declined to name the player.
"There will probably be one who falls below," Misciagna said, "but we won't be 100 percent sure until the certification process is over."
Last year, two freshmen -- linebacker Dean Green and running back Arnold Walker -- sat out because of Proposition 48. Both completed their academic responsibilities and are eligible to play this season.
Maryland's non-freshmen report for physicals on Thursday and begin workouts Saturday. The Terrapins return 43 lettermen, 21 on offense, 20 on defense and both kickers. Nine starters return on offense and six on defense.
"With those starters back, I'd say we would be a lot better," said Krivak, "but then we were only 5-5-1 with some of those people. But the thing was we were in every football game."
Maryland begins its season Sept. 5 at Syracuse, followed by home games against Virginia and West Virginia.
The Terrapins won three consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championships and went to four straight bowl games prior to last season. Following the season, Bobby Ross resigned as head coach, eventually taking the top job at Georgia Tech. Ross was replaced by Krivak, who, as quarterback and receivers coach, had called most of the plays for the previous five years. All but one member of Ross' staff remained with Krivak when he got the job.
The area of concern on offense is at running back, where the Terrapins will have to replace Alvin Blount, Tommy Neal and Stephon Scriber. Redshirt sophomore Bren Lowery is back. In the season finale against Virginia, Lowery ran for 104 yards on 14 carries.
Senior Dan Henning, who set several passing and total offense records last year, likely will be the starting quarterback. If he stumbles, redshirt sophomore Neil O'Donnell and redshirt freshman Scott Zolak would be next in line. Two freshmen also will compete -- Paul Romanchak of Windber, Pa., and walk-on James Sandwich of Great Mills High in Columbia, Md., who also will work out at punter.
The football-playing plebes at the Naval Academy will begin practice Monday, with the varsity starting its workouts Friday. The Midshipmen, under first-year coach Elliot Uzelac, will open the season against William and Mary.
Howard freshmen will begin practice Tuesday, while the varsity gets under way Wednesday. Virginia's freshmen report today and will begin workouts Monday afternoon; the rest of the Cavaliers report Thursday and begin practice Saturday.