An Offseason Look: Maryland

The Terrapins scaled down their offense during spring in effort to raise performance in early September. Knowing his team's penchant for slow starts, and realizing his quarterbacks aren't ready to make anyone readily forget about their predecessor, coach Ralph Friedgen has simplified matters.

"That's a different approach," he said. "Maybe it's the right approach. Maybe it's the reason why we have not done well in the early going (in past seasons)."

After having the luxury of Shaun Hill and Scott McBrien, both experienced players, as his starting quarterback the last three years, Friedgen is starting anew.

That became painfully obvious in the team's spring game, when heir apparent Joel Statham threw three interceptions and passed for just 28 yards.

"I don't think Joel has the position sewed up," Friedgen said.

The other leading candidate, Sam Hollenbach, didn't fare much better.

But quarterback is just one of 13 positions where Maryland must find capable starters for 2004.

Preseason Predictions: Ranked 18th by Street & Smith's; ranked 20th by Athlon. OG C.J. Brooks, 1st team All-America by Lindy's and Street & Smith's, 2nd team by Athlon.

Key Game: Oct. 16 vs. N.C. State -- The Terrapins have been the one team Chuck Amato has struggled to beat. This time, Maryland has a chance at entering the game unbeaten. The early schedule is winnable with games against Northern Illinois, Temple, West Virginia, Duke and Georgia Tech. If that happens, this game will mean staying in contention for the ACC title.

The Mindset: The Terps will search for the best way to get the ball in the hands of TB Josh Allen in the backfield, and receivers Steve Suter and Jo Jo Walker. On defense, the major concern is on the line, where only senior Kevin Eli returns as a starting end. Everybody else is young.

Big Shoes to Fill: Even with so much focus on replace QB Scott McBrien, the biggest losses are defense, where DT Randy Starks was among the ACC's top defensive linemen for two seasons. He left early and was taken in the third round by the Tennessee Titans. The hope is that DE Kevin Eli can step forward to make big plays. He had 5.5 sacks and was a second-team All-ACC selection.

Quote to Note: "There is an expectation level now where there wasn't one before. I think they (players) want to be good. I think they expect to be good. When I talk to them in terms of youth, I don't think they really want to hear that." -- Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen on the change in his team's outlook.

Projected Stars: OG C.J. Brooks -- He's already been recognized as one of 54 players on the Lombardi Award "watch list" and will show up on many preseason All-America lists. Brooks is the lone first-team All-ACC guard returning. He has started in all 37 games of his career.

TB Josh Allen -- The junior finished last year as Maryland's leading rusher with eight touchdowns and 922 yards.

DB Domonique Foxworth -- The senior led the team with three interceptions last year, returning one for a score. He was second team All-ACC last year; first team in 2002.

LB D'Qwell Jackson -- He picked up where he left last season, making plays all over the field during spring. He plays in the mold of former standout E.J. Henderson. Top Stories