Preview - Game Two - Maryland

A quick look at the Maryland Terrapins

Maryland Terrapins

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

Offense –Position-by-position

Quarterback – The Terps will start the 6-3, 225, senior quarterback (A JUCO transfer last season), who might lack pizzazz but does not make a lot of mistakes.  He inherited the QB starting spot when Calvin Hill quit the team in the off-season to concentrate on basketball.  Hill completed 73 of 126 attempts in 2000 for 778 yards and six touchdowns.  Hill can also run the ball, and reportedly has 4.65 speed in the forty.

One backup, Chris Kelley, is out with a knee-injury and will miss several games this season, including the opener.  Latrez Harrison is the likely backup.  An earlier idea to move Randall Jones back from safety to QB has been abandoned.  Freshman walk-on Shai Warsaw is instead the third-team QB.

In a fall scrimmage last week, Hill completed 8 of 15 passes for 73 yards but was intercepted twice. Harrison was 4 of 11 for 25 yards

Running backs -  Maryland lost Lamont Jordan, who was the featured back for them.  They may have a committee of running backs try to replace his productivity.  Bruce Perry, 5-9, 190, is the likely starter, while senior Marc Riley and freshman Jason Crawford will get snaps here as well.  Perry had 26 yards on six carries in the fall scrimmage. 

Sophomore James Lynch, 5-11, 277, will replace standout fullback Matt Kalapinski. 

Wide Receivers – The go-to guy here is senior Guilian Gary, 6-0, 187, but Gary has missed the last week of practice after being rushed to the hospital following a neck injury during practice last week.  Gary may return to practice this week.   Gary was the leading receiver last year for the Terps, with 40 catches for 568 yards and seven touchdowns.

Maurice Shanks, 6-4, 184, has emerged as the likely starter on the other side.  Shanks has good size and speed, and Freidgen thinks he can be a big-play receiver for the Terps.  Steve Suter, Rs-Fr., 5-9, 186, may also return to practice this week after being out with a knee injury.  The status of Gary and Suter is questionable for Saturday, and if they can't go, Jafar Williams,6-2, 193, So., and Scooter Monroe 6-1, 185, Jr., will join Shanks as the top three receivers.

If Gary and Suter are able to go, this is a solid unit but one that lacks tremendous speed.

Tight end – Jeff Dugan, 6-4, 263, So., was second on the team in receptions last year with 25 for 319 yards.  Dugan could compete for All-ACC honors this season. 

Offensive line – With four returning starters and solid depth, the Terrapin offensive line looked as if it would be a team strength this season, but so far that has not turned out to be the case.  Injuries, suspensions, and a new offensive system have hampered this unit.

Lamar Bryant, 6-3, 307, Sr., missed some fall practice while waiting to see if he would be academically eligible. Bryant started in six games last year. Starting left guard Todd Wike, 6-3, 295, Jr., has been held out of a few practices due to heat complications.  Starting right tackle Matt Crawford, 6-6, 311 has had problems with his left knee.  Starting center Melvin Fowler, 6-3, 292, Sr., returns and has had 33 career starts at that position.  The Terps must only replace one starter from 2000, and Eric Dumas, 6-6, 300, So., looks like he will fill that slot.

Reserve tackle Chris Snader was lost to academics, and backup center Brandon Miller quit the team.  Red-shirt freshman guard C.J. Brooks, 6-5, 304, who had a great spring and fall, will be a key reserve.

Reportedly, the offensive line is having problems learning Friedgen's system and is being dominated by the Maryland defensive line. 

Defense – Position-by-position

Defensive line – The Terps must replace the heart of their defensive line, the best defensive tackle you never heard of, Kris Jenkins, now with the Carolina Panthers.  His likely replacement is James Evans, 6-4, 320, Sr., who was moved from the offensive line to provide more size on the line.  Durand Roundtree, 6-3, 250, who will contend for starting time at defensive end, is said to be the strongest player, pound-for-pound regardless of position, in Maryland history. 

New defensive coordinator Gary Blackney is instituting a 3-4 defensive scheme that will line up Scott Smith, 6-4, 260, at defensive end, and senior Charles Hill, 6-2, 292, at nose tackle.  In reality the fourth linebacker, who in this case will be sophomore Michael Waley, 6-1, 233, lines up and has the same responsibilities as a rush defensive end.

Linebackers – The strength of the Maryland defense and one of the best linebacking units in the ACC.  Junior E.J. Henderson, 6-2, 238, and sophomore Marlon Moye-Moore, 6-1, 230, join senior Aaron Thompson, 6-1, 234, at the starting positions.  Thompson has had 33 career starts and led the Terps in sacks a year ago with 6.5 and registered 81 tackles.  Henderson led Maryland in tackles last season with 109.   Moore also had over 100 tackles, with 108, and comes up big against quality opponents.  There is good depth there, but some noticeable drop-off from the starters to the reserves. 

Secondary – Senior Tony Jackson, 6-1, 209, is one of the best in the ACC at strong safety.  Jackson had 71 solo stops last season and was an honorable mention All-ACC performer.  At free safety, converted quarterback Randall Jones, 6-2, 223, started three games for the Terps last season, but has to replace the Terrapins Defensive MVP, Shawn Forte.  Forte, however, is the only loss of any significance in the Maryland secondary.

Both starting corners, sophomore Curome Cox, 6-1, 185, and senior Tony Okalawon, 5-11, 186, return for Maryland.  Between them, Cox and Okalawon had only three picks last season. 

Maryland finished seventh in the ACC in pass defense, and while they have a lot of experience returning, they do not have players on the corners that inspire fear in opponents.

Special teams

Brooks Barnard averaged 44.7 yards per punt and is the best returning punter in the ACC.  Guilian Gary has lead the Terps in punt returns for three consecutive years, but whether his injury will limit his participation here is a question mark for Saturday.  Maryland finished next to last in the ACC last season in both kickoff and punt returns.

Maryland lost field goal specialist Brian Kopla, and redshirt frosh Nick Novak has beaten out Vedad Siljkovic for this position.  

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 improved on offense over 2000 once they begin to catch on to Friedgen's schemes. 

Losing both Jordan and Kalapinski from the offensive backfield hurts, and so far no one has stepped up at that position.  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.  

Defensively, the linebacker corps is very good and the secondary, which had its problems in 2000, should be improved though it still has a way to go to be great.  The real question to be answered is on the defensive line, 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.  

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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