The biggest themes at Maryland media day this year were the overall youth of the team, the amount of weight that Coach Friedgen has lost, and the new defense that first-year defensive coordinator Don Brown has installed.
The new style of defense is based on a lot more attacking and aggressive blitzes, something that was largely missing from former defensive coordinator Chris Cosh's defensive game plan.
"We played more of a mellow defense (last year) and weren't as aggressive as we needed to be," safety Antwine Perez said. "You'd be playing with a mellow attitude and work on just trying to play it safe as opposed to being aggressive."
Rarely, if ever, will you see players come out and really criticize the schemes being run, as most will be polite and say nice things. But there was legitimate excitement in the locker room about this new defense and players just couldn't stop gushing about what Brown has brought to this team.
"We know we are going to be pretty good," Perez said. "Everybody on this team can't wait to see this defense get on the field. It's going to be something no other team from Maryland has ever seen on defense."
Although it is still a few weeks away before the Terps gets to unveil their vaunted new defense, they already have had success against the offensive side of the team.
"We are going to be very fortunate because we are going to look back and see that we didn't face any team that blitzes like that," senior quarterback Chris Turner said. "It's been a good learning experience for us, but they are going to cause a lot of problems for teams. When they installed their blitzes it started to tumble out of control (in spring scrimmages)."
Getting competitive in the weight room
There is a board hanging in the locker room listing the top marks for bench press, squat, and the power clean. Nose tackle A.J. Francis says all of the players are aware of who has the top numbers, and that it keeps everyone honest.
"We have the 315 lbs. Power Clean club so everyone knows who can do what," Francis said. "Everyone knows that Bruce (Campbell) and Phil (Costa) are two of the strongest guys and it really motivates you to do more if all the guys at your position are on the list, and you're not."
Turner's time to shine
For the first time in his five years at Maryland, Chris Turner doesn't have to worry about competition at the quarterback position. While backup quarterback Jamarr Robinson is expected to get some time, there finally is zero doubt about who the starter will be.
Last season, despite the fact Turner was impressive in wins against Rutgers and Boston College the previous season, Coach Friedgen named Jordan Steffy the opening game starter, causing some turmoil within the locker room. The lack of quarterback controversy will only benefit the team, offensive lineman Phil Costa says.
"I think it's important for the team," he said about Turner being the clear starter. "He's the guy that is going to be the leader of the team and that's a role he's been doing pretty well."
Kicking competition expected to be a quick one
Although he admits he didn't really want to do it, Friedgen has decided to bring three kickers into training camp. Redshirt freshman Mike Barbour won the kicking competition in the spring, but freshman Nick Ferrara and redshirt junior Nick Wallace are both expected to compete for the starting job. Friedgen doesn't expect the competition to last very long though.
"All three of them will compete, but I'm not going to go real long before I make a decision on that," Friedgen said.
Maryland's construction of Tyser Tower continues to move on and likely will be completed before the start of the football season. Athletic director Debbie Yow took media members on a tour through some of the construction. Stops were made at a new concourse level Maryland apparel store, a football suite, and the new media workspace.
The new suites will certainly impress any lucky enough to go in them, with 24 seat capacities in addition to four guest passes. Alcohol, beer, and wine will all be available to purchase for the suites, and additionally there is an attendant on call for every two suites.