2004 Maryland Terrapin Football Season Preview

<b>Head Coach:</b> Ralph Friedgen (6th season, 31-8)<br><br><b>Last Season's Record:</b> 10-3 (6-2, 1st in ACC, AP No. 17, ESPN/USA Today No. 20)<br><br><b>Last Bowl Appearance:</b> 2004 Gator Bowl (41-7 victory over #20 <A HREF=http://westvirginia.TheInsiders.com>West Virginia</A>)<br><br><b>Key matchup(s):</b> ): Oct 16 <A HREF=http://northcarolinastate.TheInsiders.com>NC St</A>, Oct 30 <A HREF=http://floridastate.TheInsiders.com>FSU</A>, Nov 6 @<A HREF=http://virginia.TheInsiders.com>UVA</A>.

Star Power: Tailback Josh Allen averaged 5.5 yards per game on his way to 922 yards and 8 TDs in 2003. Allen finished 6th in the ACC in rushing last season. In addition, two-time all-ACC receiver Steve Suter returns and will likely be the top receiver in 2004. Suter pulled down 29 catches for 471 yards in 2003, and is currently third among in ACC career punt return yards.

Notable Additions: The best recruiting class to date for Coach Friedgen and the Terp staff. Top QB recruit, Jordan Steffy is likely to get a strong look come August, and represents the future of Terp football. Expect 6'3, 230 DL Trey Covington to make an immediate impact on the defensive line this fall.

Notable Subtractions: Gone is 2001 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, TB Bruce Perry. Perry finishes his career at Maryland with 2,494 yards rushing. Also missing is QB Scott McBrien who threw for 5,169 yards and 34 TDs in his two years as starter.

Notable Returnees: All-ACC CB Domonique Foxworth returns to build on his 8 interception careers total. The Terps will also benefit from experience at placekicker as All-ACC first teamer, Nick Novak returns to pursue his quest to become the ACC's all-time leading scorer.

2004 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
09/04/04Northern Illinois
09/11/04Temple
09/18/04@West Virginia
09/25/04@Duke
10/09/04Georgia Tech
10/16/04North Carolina State
10/23/04@Clemson
10/30/04Florida State
11/06/04@Virginia
11/18/04@Virginia Tech
11/27/04Wake Forest
Offensive Overview: The Terps return five starters to the team that won the final 10 of 11 games in 2003. Maryland runs one of the most balanced attacks in college football relying on his team to get yards on the ground, and through the air. Without a veteran QB, the Terps may have to rely more on Junior RB Josh Allen early in the season to grind yards on the ground until the QB position has been solidified. As the season wears on, look for TE Derek Miller to emerge as one of the top targets.

Defensive Overview: The defensive line that includes sophomores Conrad Bolston and Rob Armstrong will look to senior Kevin Eli for leadership this fall. Eli, who didn't start until mid-season in 2003, earned second team All-Conference honors. Perhaps Maryland's strength on defense lies in its linebacker corps. A breakout season from second-team all-ACC middle linebacker, D'Qwell Jackson is likely, and with the help from sack specialist, Shawne Merriman, the Terps are poised to bring toughness to the Terrapin defense. Domonique Foxworth is the only returning DB in the secondary so the Terps pass coverage may be a bit shaky in the early season.

Special Teams Overview: All-ACC kicker, Nick Novak and second team All-ACC punter, Adam Podlesh ensure the Terps will not have much to worry about in the special teams department as long as they can both stay healthy. Suter's ability to return punts for TDs make him one of the more dangerous special teams returners in the college football.

A post-season bowl is a virtual guarantee if... the Terrapins are able to find the right fit at quarterback this fall. In order to make a BCS bowl, the Terrapins are going to need to get some early help from TB Josh Allen in order to take the pressure off a young quarterback early in the season. In addition, the on-the-job training of the secondary could be a major factor in the Terps success this season. If the defensive line and linebacker corp is able to pressure the opposing quarterback, and keep the pressure off the young secondary, the Terps could be looking at a possible BCS bowl with a couple of key victories in mid-season.

TheInsiders.com 2004 College Football Preview
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