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Terps preseason practices begin today

As practice opens this afternoon following media day activities, here are some items I'm truly curious about:

*Can Maryland hang with Cal in the season opener? Sure, the Terps beat the Golden Bears last season. This one will be tougher because it's in Cal's stadium and time zone and because the Bears lost far fewer key players than the Terps. Cal returns seven starters on offense and eight on defense.

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Cal is ranked in the top 15 by most polls and experts. Cal fans are already wondering whether the Bears can beat Southern California. You think Jahvid Best wants revenge? The running back wants to be in the Heisman hunt this season. But his most publicized moment of last year's game came when he lost his breakfast on the field after a savage hit by Kevin Barnes that I've seen replayed, oh, perhaps 50 times.

It'll be a great sign for Maryland if the Terps can beat the Bears on the road on national television. Maryland is a young team that could grow in confidence by making an early statement. It won't be easy.

*Will Dion Armstrong be eligible? The defensive tackle sat out spring practices to focus on academics. He's big and strong, and Maryland could really his run-stuffing ability.

*Will the Terps produce more turnovers than last season? Maryland's defense wasn't bad, but it lacked the ability to produce game-changing plays. I noted in my Sunday story that the Terps were last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in recovered fumbles, second to last in interceptions and tied for last in tackles for loss. This suggests that the defense wasn't penetrating effectively. Can't wait to see whether Don Brown's schemes change this.

*Odds are good that one of the speedy young receivers will emerge as a deep threat. Who do you like? Adrian Cannon? Emani Lee-Odai? Quintin McCree? There's plenty of speed but little experience, save for Torrey Smith.

I'll have updates throughout the day. You can also follow on Twitter. http://twitter.com/sunjeffbarker

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