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Five things to watch for as Terps open spring drills

It will be an entirely new look for Maryland as it opens spring football practice Tuesday. The Terps will have a new coach this season in Randy Edsall and new uniforms. Here are five questions about the team as it begins 15 workouts over the next five weeks ending with the Red-White game on April 30 at Byrd Stadium at 3:30 p.m.

1.) How different is the offense and defense going to look under a new head coach who has hired new coordinators but retains 14 starters from last season?

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Presumably quite different, although we won't know exactly how much until we see the product on the field. New offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who came to College Park from LSU, says he favors the no-huddle and likes to use the shotgun formation. But the Terps have experienced running backs in Davin Meggett, who will be a senior, and D.J. Adams (11 rushing touchdowns as a redshirt freshman), and a maturing offensive line. Given that, I'd look for Maryland to try to improve its running game -- which ranked 11th of 12 Atlantic Coast Conference teams in league games -- to take pressure off quarterback Danny O'Brien.

On defense, coordinator Don Brown has departed for Connecticut, taking his blitzing, multiple-substitutions defense with him. New Maryland coordinator Todd Bradford (from Southern Mississippi) won't have second-leading tackler Alex Wujciak back, but he will have playmaking safety-turned-linebacker Kenny Tate. With all new players and a new boss, it's hard to assess how different Bradford's defense will look at Maryland compared to Southern Miss. He previously ran a 4-3 defense but switched into other schemes. The Golden Eagles were 13th nationally in rushing yards surrendered, but gave up 29.5 points per game.

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2.) How will Maryland make up the lost production of NFL-bound wide receiver Torrey Smith (67 catches and 12 touchdowns)?

O'Brien will need a new "go-to" guy. The quarterback used Smith not only on deep balls but on shorter routes such as receiver screens.

Kevin Dorsey, Quintin McCree and Ronnie Tyler top the pre-spring depth chart at wide receiver. McCree is the fastest of the group, and Maryland will try to get him openings to use his speed.

But I'd look for contributions from others, such as Adrian Coxson (City), who transferred from Florida.

3.) Who is the backup quarterback, and is it a concern that none of the candidates are experienced?

It looks like it will be C.J Brown, who -- like O'Brien -- will be a redshirt sophomore this season. He is quick but has only a single play to his credit. It was a 12-yard run against Morgan State that ended with a broken collarbone.

It's always a comfort to have an experienced second-teamer. Maryland's more experienced backup, Jamarr Robinson, left the program in the offseason and is likely to transfer.

But the previous coaching regime under Ralph Friedgen had liked Brown, who is 6 feet 3, 200 pounds and athletic enough to have been an excellent high school basketball player in Pennsylvania. It stands to reason that Edsall will like him, too.4.) Which new players might make immediate impacts?

Coxson is one who might. There is an opening at receiver due to the departures of Smith and Adrian Cannon. Coxson will be hungry after sitting out a season. Wide receiver Nigel King from Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy may also be ready to quickly contribute.

5.) Might Tony Logan, one of the most explosive returning players, see time as a kickoff returner or wide receiver as well as a punt returner?

I think he'll see the field more than last season. Logan's impact -- he had two punt-return touchdowns of 80-plus yards -- was such that opposing teams sometimes kicked away from him.

Edsall said he'll look at ways to get Logan on the field. He averaged 18.1 yards as a punt returner but had just two kickoff returns (23.0 yards average) and one catch for seven yards.

Coaches want to maximize Logan's playing time because he "has a chance to be able to generate points" in a variety of ways, Edsall said.

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