2015 Maryland Terrapins Football Preview

Caleb Rowe will look to stay healthier this season.
Caleb Rowe will look to stay healthier this season.

Maryland Terrapins
Head coach: Randy Edsall
2014 Record: 7-6 overall; 4-4 Big Ten
2014 Bowl: 45-21 loss to Stanford at Foster Farms Bowl
2015 Returning Starters: 5 offense, 4 defense

Odds to win 2016 CFB Championship: +80000
Odds to win 2015 Big Ten Title: +120000
Regular Season Wins: Over 4 (-135); Under 4 (+105)

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The Maryland Terrapins have two things going for itself that it did not last season: a strong offensive line and a healthy QB. Caleb Rowe is a strong-armed QB with a great feel for the game, but he’s battled injuries with his knee and finally has the OL to protect him as he tees it up.

 

The Maryland Terrapins’ offense certainly will look to be tailored to that strength of its top weapons, and the running game will have to make its improvements as well after finishing in the bottom-three in Big Ten rushing with just 121.8 yards per game.

Brandon Ross and Wes Brown are back in the backfield, and both will have to show improvements this season.  Shane Cockerille moves to fullback and the Terrapins also just added North Carolina recruit Avery Edwards.

At WR, the Terrapins have a decent trio in Juwann Winfree, Levern Jacobs and Marcus Leak. The team’s biggest chance at redemption will likely lie in the likes of a redshirt freshman in Derwin Gray, as well as Damian Prince and Brendan Moore on the line.

The team certainly has more experience this year, and it will have to continue to build on the momentum with another soft schedule to begin the year much like last season.

The 3-4 defense looks to be out with Brian Stewart exiled. Considering it allowed over 30 points per game last season, new coordinator Keith Dudzinski has really nowhere to go but up with this squad. He’s blessed with a talented secondary and All-Big Ten cornerback William Likely will be a key cog in the ‘D.’ Senior S Sean Davis is going to fill the other cornerback position while both will be covering man to man most of the time.

Anthony Nixon completes the secondary as the safety, but the Terrapins will need to worry about pass rushing still. Yannick Ngaouke had 13.5 tackles for loss last season, and he’ll be moving to a hybridized position o the end to offset Quinton Jefferson who is coming back from a knee injury. Abney Logan could be huge on the weak side LB and Jermaine Carter Jr should also be a featured piece at middle LB.

Brad Craddock knocked in 18 of 19 FGs last season and it kept Maryland in some games and even eked out a couple. He’s worked all offseason on his kickoffs and the coaching staff thinks he can be special. Lee Shrader is a strong freshman punter who will shore up a major weakness there.

The Terrapins are strong in returns and Likely will be both the kickoff and punt returner this season. He’s as dangerous in special teams as he is in the secondary on defense, and he’s one of the few talents on this team that genuinely could result in an extra victory or two by himself.

Maryland was pleased to win seven games last season, and 4-4 in Big Ten play was solid too, even if it was bolstered by very poor performances from both Michigan and Penn State. That’s really the role of Maryland still, however: to play the spoiler in a tough conference while continuing to get better.

Having a new QB and a revamped OL is going to take some adjusting to, and the Terrapins are tricky to project because the best case scenario is likely two to three wins better than what could be called the “mean” of all outcomes. The team has steadily improved in Midwest football even amidst a storm of injuries, so that at least has to be a positive sign for Maryland football moving forward.

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