2011 ACC Blogger Football Preview: Atlantic No. 4…Maryland

Posted by Brandon Rink on July 7, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Maryland lost three of their top five tacklers and are moving their top guy back around with a new defensive scheme. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

2010 Record: 9-4 (5-3 ACC)
2011 Projected Record: 6-6 (3-5 ACC)
Returning Starters: 12 (6 on offense, 6 on defense).
Schedule Difficulty in ACC: Fifth.
Offense Rides On… Finding the right mix on the offensive line – With injuries and dismissals marking a tough spring for the MD front five, Randy Edsall will have his hands full protecting O’Brien and opening holes for his rushers.
Defensive Deficiency: New scheme – With a couple new positions on defense, a number of players are shuffling around the formations. We’ll see what kind of learning curve is involved in Todd Bradford’s scheme.
Keyword: Transition – The Terps have had their fair share of turnover this offseason, and add in all new schemes, it will be interesting to see what Edsall can do in year one.

Schedule Analysis + W/Ls

DATE OPPONENT W/L
9/05 Miami (Labor Day) W 24-17
9/10 BYE
9/17 West Virginia W 27-24
9/24 Temple W 31-17
10/01 Towson W 55-10
10/08 @ Georgia Tech L 17-14
10/15 Clemson L 24-21
10/22 @ Florida State L 24-13
10/29 Boston College W 20-17
11/5 Virginia W 24-20
11/12 Notre Dame (Landover, MD) L 27-17
11/19 @ Wake Forest L 24-21
11/26 @ NC State L 24-17

Bye Week: Before West Virginia, September 17.
Toughest Game: At Florida State, October 22.
Must-Win Conference Game:  Miami, September 5.

Stats and records…

This portion of our preview is an excerpt from my work for the Clemson website, OrangeandWhite.com. Check them out for Tigers’ football coverage this fall…

Coach: Randy Edsall (70-63 career record, first year at Maryland).

Offense (2010 ranks): Multiple (Total offense: 80th/Rush offense: 82nd/Pass offense: 65th).

Defense (2010 ranks): 4-3 (Total defense: 39th/Rush defense: 21st/Pass defense: 78th).

2010 Special Team Ranks: Net punting – 79th/Kickoff returns – 116th/Punt returns – 3rd/Punt return yardage defense – 86th/Kickoff return yardage defense – 13th.

2010 Misc. stats: Turnover margin – 4th/Fewest penalties – 109th/First downs – 71st/First downs allowed – 97th/Third down efficiency – 91st/Red zone efficiency – 28th/Red zone defense – 18th/Time of possession – 86th.

Outgoing starters: 12.

2011 Starters (2010 stats)

Returning Offense (6)

QB: Danny O’Brien (Sophomore, 2,438 passing yards/57% cmp/22 TD/8 INT)
WR: Ronnie Tyler (Senior, 149 rec. yards/1 TD).
TE: Matt Furstenburg (Junior, 206 rec. yards/1 TD).
O-line: C Bennett Fulper (Junior, 6-4 295/11 starts); LG Andrew Gonnella (Senior, 6-5 295/21 starts); RT R.J. Dill (Junior, 6-7 300/21 starts).

New Projected Starters (5)

RB: Davin Meggett (Senior, 720 rushing yards/4 TD).
WR: Quintin McCree (Senior, 188 rec. yards/1 TD); Kerry Boykins (Junior, 124 rec. yards/1 TD).
O-line: LT Max Garcia (Sophomore, 6-4 290); RG Josh Cary (Sophomore, 6-5 300).

Outlook: Maryland is one of four ACC teams with a starting QB back from 2010 (that aren’t in QB competitions a la Harris at Miami) – and Danny O’Brien just happens to be the reigning ACC rookie of the year to boot.

Despite losing a senior leader in Da’Rel Scott, the running back role looks just fine for Maryland. RB Davin Meggett led the Terps in rushing last season from a backup role and third-stringer RB D.J. Adams doubled up the nearest Maryland tailback in rushing touchdowns with 11.

Receiver is where the NFL and graduation hurt the Terrapins in the offseason with Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon moving on – leaving their top returning receiver as TE Matt Furstenburg with his 12 receptions for 206 yards and a TD. Senior WR Ronnie Tyler had a strong spring and Florida transfer Adrian Coxson could make contributions right away as a redshirt freshman.

The offensive line took a hit in the spring when projected left tackle starter Justin Gilbert injured his knee for a second time in his career at Maryland. Gilbert’s injury shuffles the line up that has some experience to it. Add to that, returning starting RG Justin Lewis was dismissed from the team on July 5th.

Returning Defense (6)

D-line: NT A.J. Francis (Junior, 2.5 sacks/44 tackles/7 TFL); DT Joe Vellano (Junior, 5 sacks/63 tackles/10.5 TFL).
‘Rock’: David Mackall (Sophomore, 18 tackles/3 TFL/3 sacks)/Isaiah Ross (Junior, 27 tackles/2.5 sacks/4.5 TFL).
LB: MLB Demetrius Hartsfield (Junior, 88 tackles/6.5 TFL/0.5 sack).
‘Star’: Kenny Tate (Senior, 100 tackles/8.5 TFL/3.5 sacks).
DB: CB Cameron Chism (Senior, 8 PBUs/70 tackles/4 TFL).

New Projected Starters (5)

D-line: DE Clarence Murphy (Redshirt freshman);
LB: WLB Darin Drakeford (Junior, 36 tackles/5.5 TFL/1 sack);
DB: CB Dexter McDougle (Sophomore, 22 tackles/3 PBUs); SS Matt Robinson (Sophomore, 29 tackles); FS Titus Till (Redshirt freshman)/Eric Franklin (Junior, 3 INT/23 tackles/1 TFL).

Outlook: We don’t know a whole lot about what we’ll see from this defense formation-wise, but the Terps are moving players around.

You’ll notice ‘Rock’ and ‘Star’ positions in the rotation – ‘Rock’ looking like a hybrid DE/LB position and ‘Star’a hybrid DB/LB spot.

‘Star’ defender Kenny Tate will be one of the leaders on the Terps’ D and he makes plays with three interceptions and 100 tackles last season.

The Terps have key cogs of the defensive line and backs returning with linebacker being a spot where they need young players to step up. Tate’s move closer to the line of scrimmage will help them out.

Returning Kicker/Punter (0)

New Projected Starters (2)

PK: Nick Ferrara (Junior).
P: Michael Tart (Junior)/ Nick Ferrara (Junior)/Nathan Renfro (Freshman).

Outlook: Kicker Nick Ferrara was a freshman All-American in 2009, while holding FG and punting duties, hitting 18 of 25 FG attempts and having a 39.8 yards per punt average. Nagging injuries and inconsistent play in practice kept him from even attempting a FG in 2010. Punter Michael Tart was listed No. 1 on the spring depth chart after two punts with a 54.5 yards per average.

Notable Backups (2010 stats)

RB: D.J. Adams (Sophomore, 239 rushing yards/11 TD).
WR: Tony Logan (Senior, one catch/7 yards/560 punt return yards/2 return TD).

Position by Position Grades

QB: A-
MVP: Danny O’Brien
Gotta Step-Up: Danny O’Brien

RB: B+
MVP: Davin Meggett
Gotta Step-Up: D.J. Adams

WR/TE: C
MVP: Ronnie Tyler
Gotta Step-Up: Quintin McCree

OL: C
MVP: OT R.J. Dill
Gotta Step-Up: RG Josh Cary

DL: B-
MVP: DT Joe Vellano
Gotta Step-Up: DE Clarence Murphy

LB: B
MVP: Kenny Tate
Gotta Step-Up: WLB Darin Drakeford

Sec: C+
MVP: CB Cameron Chism
Gotta Step-Up: SS Matt Robinson

K/P: C
MVP: TBD
Gotta Step-Up: TBD

The Why…

Why Fourth?: 1) Program transition – From 9-4 and competing for the division…to the back of the pack, but to me at least, the Edsall hire wasn’t meant to be a quick-fix…and he doesn’t have the tools for one in year one.

2) O’Brien doesn’t slump? – You always hear ‘sophomore slump’, but O’Brien will do enough to get the Terps bowl-eligible. That means they’ll have to take the OOC games like West Virginia and Temple coming to College Park.

3) Decent home ACC slate – Clemson, BC, Miami and Virginia will be challenging, but the Terps should find a way to win 75% of those games.

Could be higher if…: The o-line comes together and O’Brien backs up the ACC rookie of the year campaign with another one for All-ACC selection.

Could be lower if…: O’Brien struggles to find consistent targets, running game suffers behind a patchwork offensive line and the defense can’t find the right mix with the new scheme.

2011 ACC Preview: Where does Maryland finish in the Atlantic?

  • 1st (28%, 12 Votes)
  • 4th (23%, 10 Votes)
  • 3rd (16%, 7 Votes)
  • 5th (14%, 6 Votes)
  • 2nd (12%, 5 Votes)
  • 6th (7%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 43

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