Monday, August 4, 2008

Ralph Freidgen, Maryland Look For Stability At QB


ACC Atlantic #4 - Maryland Terrapins

2007 Results and Offseason:
The Terps had a losing season in '07, but still enjoyed two wins over top 10 teams. HC Ralph Friedgen is trying to get Maryland back to the early part of this decade when they were just one of five schools to have 10 or more wins from '01-'03. Maryland will welcome Florida transfer QB Josh Portis to the fold after sitting out last year in addition to 13 returning starters.

2007 Record: 6-7 (3-5)
Ret. Starters: 13
Ret. Lettermen: 46
Off PPG: 24.3 (6th), RYPG 135.5 (5th), PYPG 212.3 (8th)
Def PPG: 22.5 (7th), RYPG 139.9 (8th), 246.1 (10th)

Offense (8 Ret. Starters, 23 Ret. Lettermen)
Friedgen made his name from his offensive schemes at Georgia Tech and first couple of years in College Park. The Terps struggled to find a gamebreaker at QB last year with Chris Turner and Jordan Steffy splitting time. The starter this year may be Portis who is a mobile threat with a good arm, but he will have to beat out Turner. Graduation hit the running backs hard with Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore now gone. Sophomore Morgan Green will get the nod early on, but expect this to be an open tryout with LY leading rusher Da'Rel Scott. Darius Heyward-Bey will challenge for 1st team All-ACC. The speed burner led the team with 786 yards LY and will be complemented by Isaiah Williams. The o-line returns 4 starters from last season after an injury filled '07.

Defense: (5 Ret. Starters, 20 Ret. Lettermen
Maryland must replace All-ACC DT Dre Moore from last season, but returns most everyone else on the line. Jeremy Navarre, last year's sack leader, will move inside from end to replace Moore. LB has been a strong suit for the Terps over the years having sent EJ Henderson, D'Qwell Jackson, and Erin Henderson to the NFL. Senior Dave Philistin returns in the middle looking to build on a strong junior campaign of 124 tackles. The secondary will be the biggest concern because the unit that ranked 10th in pass defense last year loses three starters from that group. Kevin Bright is the lone returning starter with 4INT. Another bright spot could be USC transfer Antwine Perez.

Special Teams:
The Terps return both kickers from last year. Backup Da'Rel Scott will return kicks. The PR duties will likely be handled by incumbent Danny Oquendo.

Newcomers of Note:
The aforementioned Portis and Perez although not freshman are definitely newcomers of note. WR had a big haul for the Terps with three top 50 players at the position coming to College Park.

In the non-conf, Maryland hosts Cal, E.Michigan, and Delaware while traveling to Middle Tenn State. From the Coastal, the drew @UVA, @VT, vUNC. The final four could decide the Terps fate with 4 potential bowl teams in a row (@VT, vUNC, vFSU, @BC).

Final Thoughts:
Maryland's success will come down to QB play and staying healthy. Josh Portis hasn't played football in two years after transferring in '06 and being academically ineligible in '07. However, he may be the combo QB Friedgen needs to execute his complicated offense well. Maryland has a lot of lettermen returning from a bowl team and should be playing come December/January again.

Likely Wins: v Del, @MTSU, vE.Mich.
Likely Losses: @Clemson, @VT
Swing Games: vCal, @UVA, vWake, vNC St, vUNC, vFSU, @BC
7-5, 4-4

SI Top 10 Marylannd Athletes

Next Up: ACC Coastal #3

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