Coach Randy Edsall seems confident that his second year will have a much better outcome then his first at Maryland. His Terrapins spun a dismal 2-10 season in his first, so as they say, things can only get better. Edsall and his players were in the spotlight at today’s Media Day Event at the Gossett Team House next to Byrd Stadium. Today’s hot topics were the new 3-4 defense, the FieldTurf, which former University of Maryland and NFL quarterback, Neil O’Donnell, spoke about, and C.J. Brown’s legs.
With C.J. Brown being the only quarterback on the roster with any collegiate experience all eyes are on him and his longevity. The other two QB’s, Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe are both freshman straight out of high school. Brown is the kind of quarterback that uses his athletic ability as his biggest strength, he’s never afraid to run and take a big hit. But with the lack of depth at quarterback with last season’s initial starter, Danny O’Brien departing to Wisconsin, there is no room for injury. “Anytime you think about getting hurt or playing different than you’re used to playing, you’re more prone to injury,” stated Brown.
Brown’s targets are plentiful this season led by fellow captain Kevin Dorsey, a senior who pulled in 45 receptions and three touchdowns last season. Kerry Boykins and Marcus Leak, who combined for 49 receptions a year ago, are for now the number two and three receivers respectively on the depth chart but all eyes are directly aimed at five-star recruit Stefon Diggs from Good Counsel High School. Edsall says that Diggs will be given an opportunity to show what he can do as a wide receiver and as a kick returner, but he’ll have to earn his playing time and he’ll have to continue to play well to keep it. Edsall’s favorite part of his offense is the tight end position. He believes they have an incredible tight end core led by senior Matt Furstenburg, who is on several first team All-ACC lists. Seniors Devonte Campbell and Ryan Schlothauer along with a healthy junior Dave Stinebaugh, give the Terps four reliable targets at the tight end position.
As for the defensive side, Edsall is very excited about the front seven of the Terps new 3-4 scheme brought in by new defensive coordinator, Brian Stewart. Edsall’s biggest concern on the defensive side of the ball is the depth at defensive back, but with Stewart’s specialty being defensive backs, Edsall believes that things can be pulled together to make the unit stronger as a whole. Stewart has been a defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys and the University of Houston Cougars. The Terps defense returns 10 of 11 starters from a year ago with the addition of Kenny Tate, the stand out linebacker who missed most of last season. The biggest name on the defensive squad is Joe Vellano. This season Vellano will be moving from his usual Nose Tackle spot to Defensive End but he isn’t worried about the position change, he’s excited. Vellano has gained national recognition and is a preseason First Team All-America according to Athlon and a USA Today First Team All-ACC member.
Of course it wouldn’t have been a Maryland press conference without the mentioning of the uniforms and new FieldTurf. Neil O’Donnell compared the new field to a coffee filter as he spoke about the draining system that will filter snow and water through the field creating no puddles. His biggest emphasis on the new field is that “it is actually safer than a natural grass field.” O’Donnell’s team hopes that the field severely decreases the amount of concussions and injuries mentioning that Junior Seau was a good friend of his and that concussions really cause problems to these athletes, something that nobody wants to see.
The new uniforms will have the player’s names on the back of both the home Red and the away white, but only those two. The pride uniforms and black alternate home uniforms will not have the player’s names on them. Captain Joe Vellano said that the players had no idea this was happening but that it was a nice surprise and something that the parents like.