2013 MARYLAND FOOTBALL PREVIEW
July 2, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Coach: Randy Edsall (6-18, entering third season; 80-88 overall)
2012 record: 4-8 Overall (2-6 in ACC, fifth in ACC Atlantic Division)
Offensive starters returning: 7
Offensive starters lost: 4
Defensive starters returning: 5
Defensive starters lost: 6
Key losses: DL Joe Vellano, DL A.J. Francis, S Eric Franklin, LB Demetrius Hartsfield, LB Kenneth Tate, TE Matt Furstenburg, OL Bennett Fulper, WR Ken Dorsey
Top returnees: QB C.J. Brown, WR/KR/PR Stefon Diggs, DB Dexter McDougle, DB Jeremiah Johnson, DB Anthony Nixon, LB Cole Farrand
It’s been a bumpy ride for Randy Edsall at Maryland. Edsall’s strict personality clashed with some key members of the Terrapins’ lineup when he took over the program in 2011. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who was hired in December 2011, has strong recruiting ties in the Washington, D.C., area and seemed to help smooth things over, but a slew of injuries hampered Maryland’s efforts during the 2012 season. The program was forced to start 15 true freshmen last year, tying for the third-most rookies on the field among all Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
Maryland suffered the biggest blows at the quarterback position, losing players to a combination of injuries and transfers. Starter C.J. Brown and reserve Perry Hills tore their ACLs, forcing Edsall to start Devin Burns — a player who wasn’t even on the quarterback depth chart at the beginning of the season.
The Terrapins lost their final six games as the mounting injury tally took its toll and the team struggled to keep up with the ACC’s strongest offensive lineups.
Maryland should reap the rewards of a painful 2012 season that gave young players invaluable game-day experience. Brown is slated to be back at full strength to run the offense. He will have a strong target in promising receiver Stefon Diggs, whose athleticism makes him a weapon on both the offensive and special team units. On the defensive side of the ball, LB Cole Farrand tied for the team lead in tackles last season and returns for the 2013 season. Dexter McDougle, Jeremiah Johnson and Anthony Nixon are all back and should provide strong leadership in the secondary.
Edsall has yet to win over some Maryland followers who suggest his stern approach was not a good fit for the program. While the offense looks to plug back in key players who were sidelined by major injuries, the defense will have to replace some talented playmakers. DL Joe Vellano, who is no longer with the program, was an All-ACC first team selection during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He led the nation in tackles by a defensive lineman in 2011 (7.8 per game) and led Maryland in tackles with a loss (14 total) during the 2012 season.
Thanks to strong recruiting efforts led by Locksley, the Terrapins have the talent to win more games in 2013. However, it’s unclear whether Edsall can finally get past the misfortune he has endured at Maryland and the Terrapins can keep up with ACC powers that include defending league champion Florida State.
Aug. 31 FIU
Sept. 7 Old Dominion
Sept. 14 at Connecticut
Sept. 21 West Virginia
Oct. 5 at Florida State
Oct. 12 Virginia
Oct.19 at Wake Forest
Oct. 26 Clemson
Nov. 9 Syracuse
Nov. 16 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 23 Boston College
Nov. 30 at NC State