2012 Maryland Terrapins Football Preview

Maryland Terrapins
2011 Record: 2-10 overall, 1-7 ACC Atlantic
Head Coach: Randy Edsall

Odds to Win ACC Atlantic and ACC: 30/1 Atlantic, 100/1 ACC
Over/Under Regular Season Wins: Under 4 1/2 -145 / Over +115
All Odds Courtesy of Bovada

Maryland looks to rebound from an awful 2-10 campaign last season, led by quarterback C.J. Brown.

Last season, the Maryland Terrapins won their first game under new coach Randy Edsall, who came over from Connecticut. The Terrapins won at home 32-24 against a Miami-Florida team depleted by suspensions to key players. Unfortunately, Maryland would only win one more game for the rest of the season against FCS school Towson 28-3. The Terrapins ended the season on an 8 game losing streak to finish 2-10. When the most memorable part of your season is your new hideous football uniform, then you aren’t very good. For some reason, Maryland played tight games against top 20 teams West Virginia, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. Aside from an 11 point loss to mediocre Boston College, the other 6 losses were by 3 touchdowns or more.

This year the Terps look to start over. Edsall returns but he hired two new coordinators. He brought Mike Locksley to run the offense and Brian Stewart to run the defense. Locksley was a former Terrapin assistant in the late 90’s but his last job was head coach at New Mexico. Stewart was the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys a few seasons ago, and was the DC for the Houston Cougars last year. Needless to say, the two win Terrapins were terrible on both sides of the ball last season.


Last season, the offense ranked 87 out of 120 FBS schools. The Terrapins must replace their quarterback, leading rusher and receiver, and 3 linemen. But really, you can’t get much worse than last year.

The Terrapins used two quarterbacks last year, in sophomores Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown. O’Brien graduated and transferred to Wisconsin and will be eligible to play right away for the Badgers. So that leaves the job to Brown. O’Brien completed 56.4% of his passes for 1,648 yards with 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also had 2 rushing touchdowns. He was sacked only 7 times. His numbers weren’t great by any means, but he didn’t really have a go-to big play receiver either. O’Brien battledĀ  injuries all season last year and missed 3 games, including the last two games of the season, which gave playing time to Brown.

Brown is a much better runner than a passer. He was the second leading rusher for the Terrapins last year with 79 carries, 574 yards, and 5 touchdowns, including one for 77 yards. By contrast he completed only 49.4% of his passes for 842 yards, with 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He was sacked 10 times in the 10 games in which he saw action last year. He needs to improve his passing game, but he can do a lot of damage with his legs. Other schools like Michigan (Denard Robinson), Nebraska (Taylor Martinez), and Kansas St (Collin Klein) have run first quarterbacks and all went to bowl games played on New Year’s Day or later last season. Of course, those schools all have much more talent than the rebuilding Terps, so we will see.

The running game was decent last year ranking 42nd out of 120 teams, at just over 169 yards a game. The leading rusher Davin Meggett graduated. He had 171 carries, 896 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry compared to 7.3 for Brown. Meggett also caught 17 passes with a touchdown. Maryland must also replace back-up D.J. Adams who transferred to Portland St. He had 4 rushing touchdowns last year. Justus Pickett should be the primary ball carrier. He had 74 carries, 274 yards, and a touchdown run last year. He also caught 10 passes and a touchdown. He will face competition from 3 freshmen, Wes Brown, Albert Reid, and Brandon Ross. All will get some carries, and Reid also caught a lot of passes in high school.

The leading returning receiver will be senior Kevin Dorsey. Last year, Dorsey caught 45 passes for 573 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Kerry Boykins had 37 catches for 430 yards, but was mainly used on third downs. Tight end Matt Furstenburg had 31 catches last year, 348 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Maryland caught a break when 5 star recruit and Old Line State native Stefon Diggs decided to stay home and attend Maryland, when he could have gone to any school in the country. If he lives up to the hype and potential he could be an explosive weapon.

The line looked to be in pretty good shape until the starting tackles transferred to other schools. That left center Bennett Fulper and guard Josh Cary as the only returning starters. Peter White and De’Onte Arnett are former 4 star recruits, so they should be able to step in.


In 2010, Maryland had a top 25 defense. In 2011, they … um … did not, giving up more than 34 points a game. The Terrapins were especially terrible against the run ranking 112th out of 120 teams. They gave up tons of big plays, and they gambled on too many blitzes. New coordinator Stewart will install a 3-4 replacing the 4-3 they used last year. The unit does return 7 starters from a year ago.

Maryland returns 6 of their top 8 linemen from a year ago led by ends Joe Vellano and Keith Bowers. The two combined for 13.5 tackles for loss, including 5 sacks. Vellano even broke up 4 passes. Andre Monroe, Isaiah Ross, A.J. Francis, and Darius Kilgo complete a unit that should have a lot of depth.

The linebackers also have a lot of depth with Demetrius Hartsfield, Darin Drakeford, and Marcus Whitfield. The linebackers should be better if safety turned linebacker Kenny Tate is healthy after missing 8 games last year after knee surgery. In the Maryland spring game the front 7 recorded 13 sacks. Now I don’t know if that means the pass rush will be that much better, or the Maryland offensive line will be that much worse. Probably a little bit of both.

The secondary must replace cornerback Cameron Chism and safety Titus Till. The other two starters, corner Dexter McDougle and safety Eric Franklin, do return, but depth could be a serious issue in the secondary. Safety Matt Robinson is back after he missed a lot of games with a shoulder injury last year. JUCO transfer Issac Goins could start right away at corner.

Special Teams

Last season, then junior Nick Ferrera handled the kicking, punting, and kickoffs. He did none of those exceptionally well. Ferrera made 12 of 20 field goals, and averaged less than 40 yards per punt. He had off-season hip surgery, but should be healthy.

Maryland coaches decided part of Ferrera’s struggles last year were a result of being overworked. Sophomore Michael Tart could challenge for the kicker job, but will most likely handle kickoffs, and perhaps longer field goals. He averaged over 66 yards on 4 kickoffs last year. Tart also punted a few times, but redshirt freshman Nathan Renfro will compete with Ferrera for the punting job. He was a 4 star recruit out of high school.

Running back Pickett will likely return both kicks and punts, but the speedy Diggs could also be an option.


Maryland has a chance to equal or exceed their win total from a year ago thanks to a rather soft September schedule. They open at home against FCS school William & Mary before traveling to a rebuilding Temple team. (Of course, 5-7 Temple pounded the home team Terrapins 38-7 last year, so who knows what will happen) Edsall gets to coach against his former school as UConn comes to College Park. The Terps then travel to West Virginia in a rematch of a 37-31 thriller from last year. If Maryland can upset a middling Wake Forest team at home, they could be 4-1 to start the season. The rest of the schedule includes road games at Virginia, Boston College, Clemson and North Carolina, and home games against NC State, Clemson, and Florida St. The Terrapins alternate home and road games all season.


Maryland lost a lot of talent, but they were 2-10 so it might be a plus to start from scratch. Edsall and Locksley put together a great recruiting class, especially on offense. Landing the very talented Diggs was a real coup, and the offense should improve if he and the other freshman can contribute right away. There are some questions on defense, but the front seven returns a lot of depth.

There are some winnable games late in the season against teams like Boston College and Georgia Tech. The last game of the season is against a North Carolina team who is on probationĀ  and ineligible for post-season play. The Tar Heels might be disinterested by that point. Maryland has an outside shot at sneaking into a bowl game at 6-6, but I say they just miss with a 5-7 record.

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  1. Maryland 4-1 to start? WVU will pound Maryland, CT is almost certain to beat them, and Temple is a toss-up. The Terps will likely be at 2-3 by that point in the season. They’ll go 2-6 the rest of the way: 4-8 or 5-7, book it.

  2. I didn’t say they would go 4-1 but they had a chance to go 4-1. We both agree on West Virginia, but I don’t think UConn is as sure a bet as you think. Most experts I saw picked the Huskies to go 5-7 or 6-6, and they are pretty much on the same level as Maryland. Plus Maryland is playing at home. I think the games against Temple, UConn, and Wake Forest could go either way. I just think Maryland could surprise some teams, and I don’t think they are as bad as people think they are.

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