Four more questions that must be answered during the Maryland football team's preseason camp:
1. Who will join the starting quarterback in the backfield?
Senior Mario Merrills, with zero career starts, became the favorite at tailback after Josh Allen tore his anterior cruciate ligament in last year's finale. Sophomores Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore, who have a combined 11 career carries, also will compete for the starting job, although Friedgen said all three backs likely will be used.
2. Is Vernon Davis ready to emerge at tight end?
The 6-foot-3, 253-pound junior has wide receiver speed and showed flashes of his potential last year, catching four balls for 101 yards and three touchdowns against Duke, for example. Those, however, were his only scores of the year -- and he still led the team in receiving touchdowns. With an unproven group of wide receivers, Davis could become the offense's top target.
3. Who will replace first-round NFL draft pick Shawne Merriman at defensive end?
That positional showdown -- between sophomore Jermaine Lemons and redshirt freshman Trey Covington -- highlights Maryland's fairly green front four. The unit includes no seniors and eight freshmen, several of whom figure to receive playing time. Top recruit Melvin Alaeze won't be in that group; the Randallstown High star did not qualify academically and will play at a prep school this fall.
4. Can the revamped special teams remain a strength?
Place kicker Nick Novak, the ACC's all-time leading scorer, is gone. So is return man Steve Suter, who ended his career with the most punt return yards in ACC history. So too is long snapper Jon Condo; his presumed replacement, fullback Tim Cesa, is still recovering from a bout with mononucleosis. Friedgen said redshirt freshman Obi Egekeze has a slight lead over junior Dan Ennis to be the team's place kicker, while Jo Jo Walker will get first crack at the return jobs. Junior punter Adam Podlesh is the only sure thing; he was 10th in the nation in average yards per punt last season (43.8).
-- Dan Steinberg