The start of the season is finally here! For Maryland Terrapins football it means another chance and maybe the final one for Edsall to get to a bowl game going on a 3 year drought. Not much success has been established since the year Ralph Freigon left as Maryland went 9-4 and won the Military Bowl with Freigon winning ACC Coach of the Year. Since then Atheltic Director Kevin Anderson fired Freigon with very little logic behind the firing only because Anderson wanted a coach who would sell more tickets. Being the ignorant man that he was he fired the ACC Coach of the Year and hired a coach in Randy Edsall who has lead the Terps to a 2-10 and 4-8 record in his 2 years at the helm. Byrd stadium is also still vacant for most games and did not sell out in any game last year. This year, however, things will be at least a little better.
Let’s start things off with the offense. Although it lost two key pieces in Wes Brown and Marcus Leak, the Maryland offense should still be very formidable this year. For starters CJ Brown will be returning to the starting QB position which is great news as had a good season in 2011 (missed all of last year due to a torn ACL). He is a solid dual threat QB and his scrambling ability will keep the inexperienced offensive line from looking terrible at times. The receivers will be the area to watch this year as they are young but very talented. Big time recruits Deon Long and Steffon Diggs will lead the way with Nigel King a very talented third WR. I believe they will be as good of a receiving as you will find in the nation this year and next. The running back situation is a little bleak since Wes Brown left, but both Brandon Ross and Albert Reid do have now a year of experience under their belts so they should be serviceable this year. The offensive line will be the biggest question this year, but if everyone around them can stay healthy this should be a very formidable attack unit this year and next.
Defense and special teams will be a big question mark this year. Maryland lost many people last on defense specifically the front seven such as Hartsfield, Drakeford, Tate, Francis, and Vellano. These guys will be missed, but taking their places are upperclassmen so at least there will be experience. One thing to note is that Matt Robinson changed positions from safety to linebacker yet another bad call on Edsall’s part as he ruined Kenny Tate’s career doing that and Matt Robinson was not bad at safety last year. Defensive line will also be a work in progress, but the good news is they they do have depth at those positions behind solid lineman Quintin Jeferson and Keith Bowers. The secondary has experienced, but unproven players. Dexter McDougle will lead the way. However, that’s not saying much as he was called for three pass interference penalties against FCS opponent William & Mary last year. Special teams as far as punters and field goal specialist are concerned will be iffy at best. Nathan Renfro and Brad Craddock were terrible last year and will need to improve if Maryland wants to play in the postseason. As bad as the punter and kicker were Stefon Diggs is as good as you get for kick and punt returns. He is easily the most athletic player since Vernon Davis and probably the most electric player Maryland football has ever seen. He was 8th in the nation last year in all-purpose yards and barring injury he should be right around there again if not better.
Bottom Line: Maryland will struggle on defense most of the season, but the offense along with the easy schedule in the beginning will get Maryland back to a bowl game with a 7-5 record and unfortunately Randy Edsall will probably live to see another year. But if you are an optimist he does have some good recruits coming in so if they can pan out on the field the future for Maryland could be bright heading into the Big 10.