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Maryland Preview

I always end up posting UMD previews on this site:

Short Story: Maryland is the complete opposite of last season. I think Maryland has the chance to have the most statistically improved offense in the ACC and the biggest statistical drop on defense the ACC.

Long Story:

OFFENSE

The offense should be improved. On paper the offense is better at QB, WR, and O-Line as it was on opening day in 2012. The offense is about the same at RB and had a slight downgrade at TE. At QB, CJ Brown is more of a game manager as a passer, but he knows the offense and adds an exciting dynamic with his running ability. He is not a great college QB by any means, but the 2012 QB standard was so low with a 3 true freshman combining to start all 12 games, that he should be a substantial improvement. At WR, Diggs returns. The Terps add 5 star WR Deon Long to compliment him. The Terps don't quite have a guy of that caliber as the third WR, but have a bunch of promising guys who could have been our first or second receivers in some other years including Nigel King (3rd receiver), Levern Jacobs, Tyrek Cheseboro, and Amba Etta Tawo. The O-Line returns three starters, but it needs the young guys to step up.

There are a lot of assumptions that go into the prediction that the Terps will have one of the most improved offenses. First is that the Terps get serviceable QB play. None of our QB have proven that over the course of a seaosn. Second that our WR's are dynamic. Deon Long has not proven anything at UMD so perhaps the assumption that he will be great is premature. UMD is Long's fifth school since finishing HS. He originallly was a 4 star prospect in the 2009 class that signed with WVU. He didn't qualify and preped at Hargrave. He was a 6.0 four star and the third ranked prep player according to Rivals. He then arrived at WVU, didn't like it, and transferred to New Mexico before the season started, sitting out the 2010 season due to transfers rule. He 2011 he played in 9 games at NM and had over 800 receiving for the Mountain West Conference team New Mexico proving he could be productive at the D1 level. He then transferred to a JUCO where he got a five star ranking and now is with the Terps his fifth team since HS. Finally the O-Line needs young guys to improve. The thought is it will improve because it got 3 out of 5 starters back and neither of the two starters in lost, Justin Gilbert and Bennett were anywhere near all conference level. Nevertheless progress is not guaranteed.

DEFENSE

On defense look for the Terps to slip significantly. The Terps arguably lost their best five defensive players in Joe Vellno, AJ Francis, Demetrius Hartsfield, Kenny Tate, and Darrin Drakeford. They also loss a sixth starter to graduation in Eric Franklin, who was servicable as a safety, but not really more. The only returning player who really has a claim to possible break up those five guys listed earlier as the best defensive players last year is junior nosetackle Darius Kilgo who surprised last year and ended up being a pretty solid nose tackle in the 3-4.

Just like with the offense, there are a lot of assumptions that go into the prediction the Terps defense will fall off more than any other defense in the ACC. Some of the holes in that reasoning are: The Terps will have a lot of new starters, but will not be a young defense. For example it looks like 3 otu of our top 4 DE's who have to replace both starting DE's from last year having substantially playing experience. Keith Bowers started 11 games for us in 2011, Andre Monroe started 7 games for us in 2011 before getting injured and had 5 sacks, Zeke Riser a transfer from Houston started 24 games for the Houston Cougars in the Conference USA. At LB, Matt Robinson who replaces Kenny Tate at SAM was the opening day starter in both 2011 and 2012 for the Terps, albeit at safety (both years he only played half a seaosn before injury took him out), at MO, Lorne Goree who replaces Demetrius Hartsfield has 10 starts over the past two seasons due to replacing injured guys, and Marcus Whitfield who replaces Darrin Drakeford is a fifth year senior (albeit with only four starts). These guys are all likely dropoffs, but in some cases probably not substantial dropoffs.

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