| ||2011 SEASON IN REVIEW:The Randy Edsall era in College Park got off to a rousing start with a season-opening win against Miami-Florida last Labor Day (32-24). However, any euphoria gained from that win disappeared quickly, as Maryland found the win column just once more on the season, a 28-3 victory over FCS foe Towson, finishing the year 2-10 overall, including a 1-7 mark in ACC play, setting up residency in the Atlantic Division cellar. |
The team played well in defeats to nationally-ranked foes West Virginia (37-31), Georgia Tech (21-16) and Clemson (56-45), but closed out the season with eight straight losses and failed to record a single victory on the road.
A slew of injuries definitely played a part in Maryland's dismal campaign, but a combination of missed opportunities and lack of execution were culprits as well.
| || || |
|S 1 vs. William & Mary |
S 8 at Temple
S 15 vs. Connecticut
S 22 at West Virginia
O 6 vs. Wake Forest
O 13 at Virginia
O 20 vs. NC State
O 27 at Boston College
N 3 vs. Georgia Tech
N 10 at Clemson
N 17 vs. Florida State
N 24 at North Carolina
WR Kevin Dorsey
TE Matt Furstenburg
OG Josh Cary
OG Pete White
C Bennett Fulper
DE Marcus Whitfield
DE Keith Bowers
DT Joe Vellano
DT Andre Monroe
LB Detmetrius Hartsfield
LB Darin Drakeford
LB Lorne Goree
CB Dexter McDougle
S Eric Franklin
S A.J. Hendy
PK Nick Ferrara
P Nick Ferrara
OFFENSE:A rather uninspired offense will get a facelift in 2012, as Maryland returns just five starters to this side of the football. Gone is quarterback Danny O'Brien (2010 ACC Rookie of the Year), who transferred out and the recent loss of junior C.J. Brown to a season-ending knee injury further clouds the quarterback picture.
"I just feel really, really bad for C.J.," said Edsall. "To see the work he's put in for this season go away with one cut, one cut in a non-contact drill, a cut that he's made thousands of times, it's just devastating."
"It was a situation where we were running a two-minute drill and he broke through the pocket, was running down field and went to make a cut. As I said, it's a cut he's made thousands of times. It just so happens that this time his knee didn't hold up and he had the torn ACL. Again, injuries are part of football. We feel very, very bad about this, but now we have to move forward."
Brown played in 10 games last year with five starts, but will sit out the season and now Edsall will have to force-feed freshmen Perry Hillis and Caleb Rowe.
Edsall has no choice but to put his confidence in his young signal-callers.
It's disappointing for C.J., but the excitement we have and the kind of practices we have been having the last few days and the things that are taking place haven't hampered anything. We are disappointed and upset that this injury has occurred to C.J. but none of the expectations, enthusiasm, or excitement that we have for this season have been taken away from us."
Veteran tailback Davin Meggett is gone as well. The backfield is a bit thin and players like true freshman Wes Brown (6-1, 210) will need to make an immediate impact.
Senior Kevin Dorsey is the best option on the outside. The 6-2 veteran led all Terps last year in receptions (45), receiving yards (573) and TD catches (3). Freshman Stefon Diggs (6-0, 185) is also expected to contribute right away.
New offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will install a more pro-style offense, but will have his work cut out for him with glaring holes at several positions.
DEFENSE:The defense will change too, with a new coordinator in Brian Stewart and a new 3-4 alignment. Still, the Maryland defense is viewed a real strength this season thanks to the return of 10 starters.
There is star power, led by senior defensive tackle Joe Vellano, who was a Second-Team All-American in 2011, after posting 94 tackles for the Terps. Stewart is impressed most by Vellano's versatility.
"Joe's skill set is unique in that we can have him play our end, which plays a three technique, a four high or a five technique depending on what front we are in. He can also play nose tackle. When he plays nose, we will use his quickness against that center so he can cross fake the center, bull rush the center, or use some of those techniques. I am excited about getting him out there and getting a chance to see some one-on-ones with those centers."
Young DEs Keith Bowers and Andre Monroe both picked up Freshman All-American honors in their debut seasons and are expected to continue to get better.
Senior Demetrius Hartsfield returns to the linebacking corps after leading the team in tackles in 2011 (108). A healthy Kenny Tate (missed most of last season due to injury) and the emergence of sophomore Lorne Goree (honorable mention Freshman All-American) only helps solidify what should be a dominant front seven for Maryland.
Senior free safety Eric Franklin (106 tackles in 2011) highlights the play in the secondary.
SPECIAL TEAMS:Senior Nick Ferrara will finish out his career in College Park this year, once again handling both the placekicking and punting duties. He was just 12-of-20 in field goal attempts with a long of 42 yards, while going 27- of-28 on PATs last season. He also punted 57 times, averaging 39.5 yards per attempt.
OUTLOOK:The coaches and players will say that the sky is the limit for the Terrapins this season, but the reality is that the ceiling is probably a little lower. The non-conference schedule consists of William & Mary, Temple, Connecticut and West Virginia. The team could open strong and exceed last year's win total by mid-September.
However, victories won't come as easy when ACC play begins. Wake Forest, NC State, Georgia Tech and Florida State all come to College Park, while Maryland must hit the road to tangle with Virginia, Boston College, Clemson and North Carolina.
Five wins is attainable with the kind of depth the team has on defense, but any more than that would be a stretch. Still, it is a big jump from the year prior and certainly a step in the right direction for Edsall and a young Maryland squad.
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor