2010 Season: 9-4 (5-3)
By: Danny O’Donnell
Maryland fans were not at all excited about the removal of two-time ACC Coach of the Year Ralph Friedgen to make room for new head coach Randy Edsall. After building the Connecticut football program, Edsall will be coming into a tougher conference, but with an experienced group to start the era off on the right foot. Friedgen was the coach of the Terps for ten years, which for the most part, were pretty successful in the ACC. Edsall is going to need to silence any critics and bring energy to the program in his first years with Maryland.
After losing their offensive coordinator, preseason first-team All-ACC quarterback Danny O’Brien is going to have lofty expectations while going blind into the season. O’Brien had a ground breaking freshman year after throwing 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns. But even with those numbers, O’Brien and the Terps finished just sixth in the ACC in passing yards. After losing both of their leading receivers, Quintin McCree (188 yards, 1 TD) will be on the hot seat to take on the air attack. Maryland will be showing all new starting receivers this year as well as a new running back. Davin Meggett (720 yards, 4 TDs) was not the offical starter last year, but did end up carrying most of the load on the ground with Da’Rel Scott.
The defense will be returning seven starters, most notably linebackers Demetrius Hartsfield and Kenny Tate (returning leader in tackles, 100.) Tate has been moved from safety to the star position, a hybrid between outside linebacker and safety slot. Weakside linebacker Darin Drakefort will be the new face in the midfield and was the top reserve for the Terrapins in 2010. The defensive line will also show their experience as the season goes on. Juniors Joe Vellano (UM 2010 leader in sacks, 5) and AJ Francis are prepared to combat running games with their size in the middle. Vellano was named to the second-team All-ACC squad after his performance last year and Francis is a former freshman All-American.
Weakness: Wide Receiver. Maryland has a good group of possible talent in their receiving core but have yet to truly prove they’re ready to take over a major role. Quintin McCree has yet to start and is now getting his shot as a senior. Dorsey and senior Ronnie Tyler will need to perform in order to get the most out of their all-conference quarterback.
Strength: Quarterback. Danny O’Brien is the star of the Maryland football team and will need to harness his offense especially with a new head coach and offensive coordinator. He will need to have the pieces around him to work to put up 2,500 yards and 20+ touchdowns in 2011.
2010 Team Rankings:
Scoring: 32.2 ppg (2nd ACC, 29th National)
Rushing: 138.2 ypg (8th ACC, 82nd National)
Passing: 214.7 ypg (6th ACC, 65th National)
Scoring: 22.2 ppg (7th ACC, 38th National)
Rushing: 124.5 ypg (3rd ACC, 21st National)
Passing: 227.9 ypg (10th ACC, 78th National)
Injuries and inexperience have plagued the Terrapins for the last two years but hopefully that should end for the front five. Returning four of their five previous starters, junior left tackle Justin Gilbert has the size to balance out his youth as a player. At 6’6, 300 lbs, Gilbert and the offensive line should take large strides in the right direction after finishing eighth in the ACC in rushing yards last fall.
Big Man on Campus: Davin Meggett, RB. Meggett and O’Brien will be the talk of College Park this coming season. After being behind Da’Rel Scott on the depth chart, Meggett truly showed the ACC that he is ready to take on a leading role. Known as a powerback, Meggett surprised coaches by adding speed and should be a dual-type runner in 2011.
On the Rise: Cameron Chism, CB. The defensive backs are bringing back both of their corners and will be happy to see Chism return to the field. Chism’s 23 consecutive starts is the most on the team and he is steadily collecting tackles (144 in his career.)
Breakout Freshman: Tyrek Cheeseboro, WR. An average recruiting class could see some talent out of Cheeseboro on the outside. There are no true targets for the Terrapins at receiver and third and fourth string wide out slots are anyone’s for the taking. Why not the 6-foot, 180 lbs speedy freshman?
Maryland had an impressive season against a weak Atlantic division; this year shouldn’t be different. Clemson and North Carolina State will battle the Terrapins for the second place spot (obviously behind Florida State.) Opening the season with Miami and West Virginia will help the young Maryland players understand tough competition right off the bat. Having to travel to Florida State and take on Notre Dame (at the Redskin’s Fedex Field) will the be toughest games the team will have to play. North Carolina State is losing a lot of talent on offense and Clemson is not quite complete… yet. Expect the new coach to come in and grab second in the division in 2011.