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What they're saying about the Terps
Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Terps:
Updated July 25
• ESPN.com's Heather Dinich ranks the Terps' linebacking corps as the fourth best in the ACC:
This could be one of the Terps' deeper positions, even with the loss of Erin Henderson to the NFL. Seniors Dave Philistin and Moise Fokou each started all 13 games last season, and Adrian Moten, who played all three positions as a freshman, tied for the team lead in sacks (5.5) and had 50 tackles even though he didn't start a game. Philistin ranked fourth in the ACC with 9.5 tackles per game.
• Dinich also ranks the ACC's defensive lines, and has the Terps 10th in the conference:
Jeremy Navarre is the veteran of this group, having started a team-high 35 games, and should move from end to tackle. Mack Frost is expected to take Navarre's end position, but he missed this spring because of knee surgery. Trey Covington has plenty of experience at the Terps' LEO position, which is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker. More is expected of nose tackle Travis Ivey, who played sparingly last year mostly in goal-line situations. Walk-on Bemi Otulaja passed him on the depth chart this spring.
• Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com has released his all-too-early bowl projections for the 2008 season and has the Terps headed west:
Roady's Humanitarian Bowl: (WAC vs. ACC) Boise State Broncos vs. Maryland Terrapins
• Rich Cirminiello of CollegeFootballNews.com says he thinks the Terps can make a little noise in the ACC:
Even with all the issues, Friedgen -- who tends to do his best work when the least is expected of his teams -- has enough in place to be good. The team is only a year removed from a solid 9-4 season, and while this might not be a big-time juggernaut, it's almost a lock to be a bowl team again. If nothing else, Maryland figures things can't get worse on the injury front after losing an unimaginable 17 players from the two-deep for at least one game in 2007.
However, the Terps have the look of a middle-of-the-pack program that isn't particularly sterling at any one unit. The wide receivers, led by Darrius Heyward-Bey, could be really dangerous, but even they'll be neutralized if one of the quarterbacks doesn't raise the level of his game. The defense will be fine, but nothing special, and that's the problem.
After seven years under Friedgen, being fine but nothing special, isn't where things were supposed to be. On the plus side, the ACC doesn't appear to be a juggernaut, so if the right breaks happen and a few surprises kick in, it won't take all that much to be a player in the conference race. For all the mediocrity, Maryland isn't so bad that it can't get a stunner of a year.
• Matt Hayes of SportingNews.com ranks the best ACC players at each position. A couple Terps make his list:
2. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland
Quick thoughts: Heyward-Bey is the best NFL prospect, but he must be more consistent. Kelly must prove he's more than a jump-ball receiver, and Parker -- the most dynamic receiver in the group -- must prove himself again after problems off the field.
2. Obi Egekeze, Maryland
Quick thoughts: After the All-American Swank and steady Egekeze, it's a crapshoot. Buchholz is way too inconsistent, and Aponavicius and Maggio don't have range.
• Maryland makes the list of three things ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel can't wait to see this fall in the ACC:
Last season, Maryland showed the dual personality that inexperience and injuries can force upon a team. The Terrapins might have finished 6-7, but they went 2-1 against top-10 teams. They know how to win, and with 46 of 62 lettermen returning, they know how to play. We'll find out soon enough. Maryland's first two conference games are at Clemson and at Virginia in consecutive weeks.
• FoxSports.com says how the Terps adapt to new schemes on both sides of the ball will determine if they can fulfill their potential:
A familiar face will likely be under center, but which face that will be remained unsettled at the end of spring ball. It's no secret that Friedgen does not like how Chris Turner performs in practice, and it's no secret that the Maryland fans do not like how Jordan Steffy tends to perform in games. The Terps caught fire last season when Turner took over following an injury to Steffy in the victory over Rutgers, but the two were dead even at the end of April, with Josh Portis a distant third.
That's not a great sign for the Terps. Given the fact that Franklin's offense requires the quarterbacks learn a modified system and new terminology from what it's used in the past, Friedgen was hoping that one quarterback would emerge as the clear No. 1. He's always been a Steffy fan because of the senior's practice habits, but Steffy's decisions in games come at a much slower speed and the Franklin offense requires instantaneous read-and-reaction.
Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh will modify things as well, going to what will effectively serve as a 3-3-5 base defense. That takes advantage of the team's depth at linebacker, and its speed elsewhere on the field. It allows the Terps to show multiple defensive fronts with the same personnel, and when used a year ago, it was the Terps' most successful scheme for stopping the run.
[Compiled by Dan Morrison]