Baltz Maintains Kicking Duties vs. FIU

Travis Baltz will remain the placekicker against FIU; O-line tries to carry over success in practice to game.

After a weeklong game of tag, Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen decided that Travis Baltz was “it” – the All-ACC punter will resume placekicking duties in Saturday’s matchup versus FIU.

Baltz has been the Terps’ special teams MVP this season, handling both the punting and placekicking duties for the team. It’s not just the responsibility though – he’s excelling at both.

“[Baltz] has been a very valuable guy for us,” Friedgen said, commending him for his exceptional work. “He’s punting better than he’s ever punted. He’s more consistent. He’s got great height on the ball. He’s kicking the ball inside the 10 [yard line],” in addition to kicking field goals.

Incumbent kicker Nick Ferrera is making every effort his attempt to win back his job. Ferrera will continue kicking off for the team, and he’s steadily improving in practice, even asking his head coach how he can improve. Friedgen fears Ferrera’s kicks are too low, therefore vulnerable to being blocked.

“The positive thing is that Nick [Ferrera’s] starting to kick better,” Friedgen said, noting he kicked a long field during the two-minute drill in Thursday’s practice. “Getting him kicking with the leg he has and being consistent will definitely help our football team. No question about it.”

The focus of attention this week – the offensive line – earned praise from the head coach for a tremendous week of practice, especially redshirt freshman Pete DeSouza, who will be filling in at right tackle.

“I think Pete [DeSouza’s] had a very good week of practice. I think Pete’s got his feet wet in the last two games he’s played,” Friedgen said.

And against a very turnover-prone FIU defense, they will certainly be tested. In their first two games, the Golden Panthers’ defense has accumulated seven sacks, five interceptions and four forced fumbles.

“I’m hoping the offensive line comes out and plays well this week,” Friedgen said. “I’d like to see them come out and have some success,” adding that solid play can help revitalize the running game and prevent the offense from slipping into those third-and-long situations where the defense can bring the heat.

Other Notes:

- Defensive lineman Andrew Monroe was named defensive captain for the scout team.

- Quarterback Tyler Smith earned was named offensive captain for the scout team.

- Linebacker Alex Wujciak was named the team’s defensive captain in what Friedgen called “an important game.”

- Wide receiver Torrey Smith was named the offensive captain for the week.

- Wide receiver LaQuan Williams was named the special teams’ captain for the week.

- The American flag bearer will be Joe Vellano; the Maryland flag bearer will be Isaiah Ross.

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