Notes from Tuesday Press Conference

News and notes from Tuesday's press conference with Coach Friedgen prior to Navy.

- De’Onte Arnett, Devonte Campbell, Ben Pooler and Lansford Watson won’t play Monday against Navy because of injuries. DB Cameron Chism is questionable.

- Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen opened the press conference saying that he thinks his team has improved over where it was last year. He expressed confidence in the offensive line’s progress during the summer, departing from a concerned demeanor which persistently showed itself in spring interviews. “I feel very confident with the first team at this point in time,” said Friedgen. He added, however, that he hoped his starting front five would stay healthy all season, citing backups’ inexperience.

- Friedgen also showed confidence in skill players, especially the wide receivers and running backs, noting that they have big-play capability.

- Although the Terps lost some defensive linemen after last season, Friedgen noted the better athleticism and speed of his young defensive linemen who are taking the helm.

- He echoed those sentiments about the defensive backs: “Our secondary is inexperienced, but I think we’ll be better there. More speed, more athleticism, more aggressiveness, so I feel like we should be improved there also.”

- “The strength of our defense is our linebackers,” Friedgen said. “[Alex] Wujciak, [Adrian] Moten and [Demetrius] Hartsfield will be our three very, very good linebackers. With the addition of David Mackall, [Ryan] Donohue, and Darin Drakeford, I think we’re solid with two deep at that position.”

- Friedgen remained optimistic talking about Maryland’s special teams, praising Travis Baltz as one of the best punters in the country. Kicker Nick Ferrara and returners Tony Logan and Torrey Smith – Maryland’s all-time leader in return yards – are also back for another season.

- Friedgen acknowledged that his team will face a tall task against Navy Monday, citing the Midshipmen’s 13 senior starters. “They’ve lost some players at the linebacking position, but they’ve replaced them with players who’ve played,” said Friedgen. Navy – whose 2009 record was 10-4 – played tough against Ohio State in last season’s opener, according to Friedgen, and crushed Missouri in the Texas Bowl.

- Friedgen gave attention to Navy DE Jabaree Tuani. “He’s really a force to be reckoned with in the defensive line,” Friedgen said. “[Terp OT] R.J. Dill will really have a tough competition with him.” Friedgen also called the Navy secondary “outstanding.”

- Friedgen highlighted some areas of concern for the Terps on Navy’s offense as well, citing QB (and Co-Captain) Ricky Dobbs’ 27 touchdowns in 2009. Navy fullbacks Vince Murray and Alexander Teich pose two more potential problems for Maryland’s defense. In Navy’s triple-option offense, the two backs rattled off more than 1,000 combined yards, as Friedgen pointed out. Both of Navy’s OT’s are three-year starters, and Friedgen noted the athleticism of the Midshipmen front five. And, “their slots are small, but fast, and all of them have played. So they got a lot of guys that are returning that have touched the football.”

- Navy’s triple-option offense is “very, very difficult to defend,” Friedgen said. “The more you look at it, the more you have to play the what-ifs….They’re very adept at knowing [what they can stop] and [what can open up]….But…I think we have a good plan. We’ll see how well we execute, how disciplined we are. I think you have to be very physical, you have to play your responsibility. Defensively, guys just want to run to the ball, not have to think and just react. This offense makes you take care of your responsibilities.”

- Friedgen harked back to when Maryland played Navy five years ago. “I watched that game just yesterday,” he said. “One thing that jumps out at me is that Navy’s a lot better.”


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