Countdown to Kickoff 2012:
The Maryland Terrapins
Edsall Looks for Smoother Sailing in Year Two
EDITOR'S NOTE: Maryland was featured on Tuesday, August 14. Quarterback C.J. Brown suffered a season-ending knee injury on Wednesday, August 15.
Maryland's 2011 season started with a bang (a 32-24 win over Miami), but a rash of significant injuries and inexperience on defense contributed to the Terrapins winning just one more game to finish the season with a 2-10 record. Head coach Randy Edsall's first Maryland team fought hard, falling to nationally ranked West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Clemson each by 11 points or less, but could not string together enough consistent play to finish games.
Offensively and defensively, Maryland starts afresh in 2012 with new coordinators on both sides. Former Maryland RB coach Mike Locksley installs a new scheme (a pro-style attack with some spread principles) and has a new starting signal-caller (junior CJ Brown takes over under center following the transfer of Danny O'Brien). Brown looked to improve his passing acumen in spring practice (he completed just 49.4% of his passes as a part-time starter in 2011), but he has already converted the masses with his legs: he led the Terps in yards per carry (7.3) and touchdowns (five) while finishing second in yards (574) to departed running back Davin Meggett. Replacing Meggett will be a promising group that includes sophomore Justus Pickett (274 yards in 2011), redshirt freshman Brandon Ross and incoming freshmen Wes Brown and Albert Reid, while the receiving corps features experience in seniors Kevin Dorsey (45 grabs, 3 TDs in 2011) and Kerry Boykins (37 catches) and potential standout in blue chip freshman Stefon Diggs. Maryland is loaded at tight end with seniors Matt Furstenburg and Devonte Campbell, who combined for 35 receptions and four touchdowns, while the offensive line needs to regroup following the loss of three starters from a group that allowed just 17 sacks, tied for third fewest in the ACC.
The defense returns 10 starters and should be much improved, led by All-America defensive tackle Joe Vellano and linebackers Demetrius Hartsfield and Kenny Tate. New coordinator Brian Stewart runs an attacking 3-4 scheme, which should help the Terps force even more turnovers (they were second in the ACC in 2011 with 27) and improve their already potent pass rush (25 sacks in 2011, tied for fourth), Vellano, a second generation Terp All-American (his father Paul was an All-America DT in 1973) will move to defensive end in the 3-4, which will feature Hartsfield (12 tackles per game in 2011) and the return of Tate, a Butkus Watch List performer who missed most of 2011 with an injury (35 tackles, 2 interceptions in just four games). The secondary returns experience (three of four projected starters saw regular action in 2011), and an improved pass rush should help Maryland improve on its defensive numbers after allowing the second-highest yards-per-attempt (7.6) and completion percentage (65.7) in the ACC in 2011. PK/P Nick Ferrara missed spring practice following hip surgery, and should continue to improve from a season that saw him average 39.5 yards per punt (sixth in the ACC) and make 12 of 20 field goal attempts (60 percent).
With a schedule which features nine bowls teams from 2011, patience will be key for the Terrapin fan base this year. With the injuries last fall, Maryland had a chance to give a lot of young players valuable experience which should pay dividends in the years to come. Three of those young Terrapins landed spots on the 2011 Freshmen All-America team (DE Andre Monroe, DE Keith Bowers and LB Lorne Goree). Couple that experienced youth with Edsall's 2012 recruiting class which sports some solid homegrown Beltway talent and uniform them in a set of splashy new designs that have been creating national buzz - for a mix of developments that bode well for the program's future.- Charlie Sallwasser
2011 In Review
After a spectacular debut on national TV on Labor Day Monday Night, Randy Edsall's first season at Maryland was anything but easy... Debilitated by a slew of injuries to key contributors, Maryland finished 2-10 overall and 1-7 in the ACC... The Terps played well against three nationally ranked foes, dropping games to West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Clemson by 11 or fewer points, but could not overcome the injury toll which put starting QB Danny O'Brien, big-play LB Kenny Tate, steady G Andrew Gonnella and several others on the bench... DT Joe Vellano, who earned 2nd-team All-America honors, was one bright spot, as was the play of LB Demetrius Hartsfield, who earned Honorable Mention All-ACC accolades after finishing 5th nationally in tackles per game (12.00)...Backup QB C. J. Brown passed and ran for 1,416 yards and 12 TDs in five starts, topping the 100-yard mark in rushing three times...Three Terrapins earned Freshman All-America honors in DL Andre Monroe (1st team), DE Keith Bowers (HM) and LB Lorne Goree (HM).
In a postseason staff shake-up, Edsall replaced both his offensive and defensive coordinators...Gone are OC Gary Crowton and DC Todd Bradford, replaced by former Maryland assistant Mike Locksley on offense and former Houston Cougars defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. Also missing are eight starters, including six on offense led by O'Brien, the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year, both starting Ts in R.J. Dill and Max Garcia, G Andrew Gonnella, WR Quintin McCree and leading rusher RB Davin Meggett (896 yds, 5.2 avg.)...On defense, the Terps will be without CB Cameron Chism.
Numbers & Notes
3 - The number of Maryland players selected Freshmen All-America in 2011. DT Andre Monroe was a first-team selection by FOXSportsNext and earned 2nd-team honors from CFN.com, Rivals.com, Phil Steele and Yahoo Sports. DE Keith Bowers and LB Lorne Goree were both named honorable mention by CFN.com.
4 - The number of Maryland players selected to the 2011 All-ACC Academic Football team. Chosen were FB Tyler Cierksi, DT A.J. Francis, C Bennett Fulper and CB Dexter McDougle. Francis was chosen for the third time to the team, while Fulper was named Academic All-ACC for the second straight year.
5 - Maryland senior LB Demetrius Hartsfield ranked 5th nationally in tackles per game, averaging 12.0 per contest.
9 - Maryland will face nine teams this year that played in bowl games in 2011. The Terps will face Temple (New Mexico) and West Virginia (Orange) in non-conference play and will also play Wake Forest (Music City), Virginia (Chick-fil-A), NC State (Belk), Georgia Tech (Sun), Clemson (Orange), Florida State (Champs Sports) and North Carolina (Independence).
11th - Maryland S Eric Franklin finished 11th nationally among all defensive backs in tackles per game, averaging 8.8 hits a contest. Franklin had 106 tackles in 12 games for the Terrapins.
20 - The number of tackles All-America DT Joe Vellano made in Maryland's 21-16 loss to then 13th-ranked Georgia Tech last October 8th. The total was the most by a defensive lineman in the NCAA's FBS since the NCAA began keeping tackle statistics seven years ago.