The Red-White spring football game is just a few days away and that can only mean one thing…the official football season is still entirely too far away. Nevertheless, the game this Saturday should be enough to hold over Maryland football fans. Yesterday, Coach Friedgen addressed members of the media and gave his views on how he thinks the team has progressed throughout the spring, citing that there has been only one practice that has not been "good and productive".
The big issue this year is going to be the both the defensive and offensive lines, simply because of their lack of experience. The starting offensive line boasts only one senior, C Phil Costa. That is not to say that junior LT Bruce Campbell won't be able to tutor and assist the rest of the line made up of freshmen and sophomores, but experience will be an issue going into the season. "It's not that we're not willing, it's just that we're young and we've got to get stronger and we've got to run a little bit better, but I think we've got some skilled people on both sides of the ball," said Friedgen. Here's some numbers for you, 60 of the 85 scholarship players on this team have 3-4 years respectively of eligibility left. That's a young team.
The linebacker position was a question going into the new Don Brown defense, not because the Terps don't have talented players there, but because nobody knew how they would acclimate to the new defense. That said, junior Adrian Moten and RS-freshmen Demetrius Hartsfield have been turning heads during scrimmages. Junior Drew Gloster has also been making a big impact at Middle LB. The big concern in the linebacker unit if of course getting junior Alex Wujciak healthy and getting him back on the field.
Junior WR Adrian Cannon has been particularly sparking some interest from Friedgen and Franklin. In last Saturday's hard scrimmage, he was part of the offensive boom by going 3-132 and 1 TD. Both Cannon and Sophomore Torrey Smith have been impressive this spring. Sophomore Tony Logan also has been contributing to the offense. They won't necessarily be making fans say, "Heyward-Bey who? " but they will certainly give the crowd some exciting catches to cheer about.
As always, the QB situation is the big conversation starter when discussing teams, and as most Maryland fans know, Terrapin football is no exception. Not surprisingly, Senior Chris Turner is the guy this year. Despite causing some uneasiness in Friedgen's feelings about him, Sophomore Jamarr Robinson has stepped up in the last few practices and this past Saturday's scrimmage. " He's made some progress," said Friedgen. Robinson's issues have been reading and picking up the defense and blitzes, now that he's getting better at doing that, he's getting the overall idea. "The last two practices he has improved and I think it's really important to see how he does in these next two practices," said Friedgen of Robinson. Sophomore Anthony Green has also been taking some reps but clearly, the two main men for this year will be Turner and Robinson.
Recent interviews with James Franklin have shown how strong the RBs will be this season. Junior Morgan Green has been stepping up recently and went 12-58 in last Saturday's scrimmage. As for RS-Freshmen Gary Douglas, Coach Franklin had this to say about him, "He's very instinctive and very smooth and he can make people miss, he's very effortless in the way he does it." Despite the good things to say about Douglas, one of his main issues is pass protection in the fast paced level of college ball. Davin Meggett got his feet wet last season and now knows what it takes to make the plays at this level. And don't worry Terp fans; Da'Rel Scott's injury is nothing to get in a frenzy about. He'll be ready come August.
As for the special teams unit, there is still a battle going on between sophomores Nick Wallace and Mike Barbour, as well as David May the senior. Wallace is edging the number one spot during scrimmages and practices, but Coach Friedgen did not seem to favor a particular player just yet. This Saturday's game will surely play a big role in that decision.