Season Preview - Maryland

Game two of the 2001 pits UNC against Maryland. Both ACC teams have new coaching staffs, a new approach to strength and conditioning, and hopes for a new beginning to programs that have underachieved in recent years. Here is a thumbnail sketch of the Terrapins.

Maryland Terrapins

ACC
2000 Record - 5-6, 3-5 ACC
Bowl Game - None
Coach - Ralph Friedgen

Offense

Key players returning - WR Guilian Gary, C Melvin Fowler, TE Jeff Dugan.  Overall, eight starters return

Key players lost - RB Lamont Jordan, FB Matt Kalapinski

On the rise  - RB Jason Crawford

Strengths - Solid 2000 offensive line (allowed 20 sacks, second lowest in ACC) returns five players with starting experience.  Both starting WR's and starting TE return

Weaknesses - Must replace the entire backfield, including 2nd Round NFL pick Lamont Jordan.  Lack of speed at WR. 

Defense

Key players returning -  LB E.J. Henderson, LB Aaron Thompson, SS Tony Jackson.  Overall, eight starters return.   

Key players lost - DT Kris Jenkins (2nd Round NFL pick), FS Shawn Forte 

On the rise - Rush DE/LB (LEO in new Terp terminology) Marc Wiley

Strengths - Linebacker corps one of the best in ACC, with depth and talent.

Weaknesses - Defensive line suspect, undersized.  

Special teams

Brooks Barnard is the best returning punter in the ACC.  Guilian Gary has led the Terps in punt returns for three consecutive years.  Maryland lost field goal specialist Brian Kopla, and redshirt frosh Nick Novak will likely take over there. 

On balance

A new coaching staff led by Maryland alumni Ralph Friedgen takes over in College Park.  Freidgen was known for his diverse and high-powered offenses at Georgia Tech, and will move Maryland in that direction.  Though it may take more than one year to acclimate the Terrapins totally to his style of offense, look for the Terps to be much improved on offense over 2000. 

While losing both Jordan and Kalapinski from the offensive backfield hurts, look for versatile Jason Crawford, who joins the Terps after a year of prep school at Fork Union, to work his way into the starting lineup before midseason.  Shaun Hill came on the last three games of the season at QB, including leading the Terps to an improbable overtime victory over NC State, and throwing for over 300 yards against Georgia Tech in season finale.   The offensive line and tight end positions are solid, and both starting WR's return. 

Defensively, the linebacker corps is very good, and might be great if Marlon Moye-Moore, who missed spring ball due to off-field problems, returns to the team in the fall.  Moore has had over 100 tackles in each of his previous two seasons.  The secondary, which had its problems in 2000, should be improved though it still has a way to go.  Both starting corners return along with All-ACC performer Tony Jackson. 

The real question to be answered is up front, where the Terps lost their best player from a unit that had talent and depth issues everywhere else.  To add some bulk to an undersized unit up front, Maryland has moved 6-4, 320 pound offensive lineman James Evans to defensive tackle.   Durand Roundtree, who will start at defensive end, is said to be the strongest player, pound-for-pound regardless of position, in Maryland history. 

Maryland has played a lot of underclassmen as starters the past two seasons.  With 16 starters returning, a new work ethic in the weight room, and some talent at key positions, Maryland has the potential to surprise some teams over the course of the season. 

 

 

 


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