We're now less than one week away from the official kickoff of football season, as Maryland practice gets underway next Monday, August 10. Here's a basic guide of things to watch for:
- The entire offensive line's performance - This might seem like a copout, but it's a completely necessary generalization. How far Maryland goes this year depends almost wholly on the offensive line's performance. Outside of fifth-year senior center Phil Lamar Young be the starting LG? Who'll start at RT? Can the line gel? All of these are very important issues that should be made clear through spring practice. and stud LT Bruce Campbell, the entire line is a question mark. Will Andrew Gonella or
- The massive wide receiver battle - Let's face it, only a certain number of wide receivers can dress for the travel team. Let's say, just for the sake of saying it, seven - that's a pretty reasonable number, and I think it was six or seven last year. If it is seven, there could be an issue, because the Terps have at least nine receivers good enough to make that team. There's a massive log-jam at the position, and I'd venture to say only two players - Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler - have any semblance of job security.
- Jamarr Robinson's development and the backup QB spot - Sure, Ralph called him the most improved player of the spring during the ACC media days, but it's a long time since spring. And if there's anything Terrapins Rising has shown us, it's that Jamarr Robinson hasn't always had the coaches' confidence. If he doesn't show improvement, regresses, or either of the freshman duo CJ Brown and Danny O'Brien impress, he could be out of a job.
- The continuing implementation of the Don Brown defense - A new defensive coordinator is in town, and he's a lot better than the old one. Don Brown will hopefully continue introducing more blitz concepts and continue teaching press man and cover two defensive schemes, something Maryland defenders aren't used to. While I have no doubt the scheme can be a success, it ultimately depends on how the players grasp it.
- Dion Armstrong - Armstrong was expected to be the starting DT, but is not listed on the depth chart...was it a mistake, or is he having academic trouble? The defensive line could really depend on his presence.
- The defensive end battle - Jared Harrell has the "anchor" spot - whatever that is - pretty well locked down, but Derek Drummond isn't so sure about his DE spot. Expect Masengo Kabongo to seriously challenge for field time.
- The special teams battles - Nick Ferrara, the current favorite to start at PK, is currently at #3 at the PK spot on the depth chart. You can bet that won't last long, but it'll still be interesting to see his development. Meanwhile, Tony Logan is the current leader at PR, but I expect a lot of challengers, from Kenny Tate to Anthony Wiseman to basically any non-essential player.