ACC 2012 Season Preview: Maryland Terrapins

Quarterback C.J. Brown Needs to Take Less Hits if Maryland’s Offense Wants to Progress in 2012

Team: Maryland Terrapins

2011 W-L: 2-10 (1-7)

Head Coach: Randy Edsall (2-10; one season)

Returning Starters: 15 (5 Offense, 10 Defense)

After arriving at his dream job coaching the University of Maryland football team last year, Randy Edsall proceeded to rub both media and players the wrong way while turning a 9-4 squad into a 2-10 disaster. The team’s defense allowed over 34 points per game. The team’s offense scored just 23 per game. Only two of the team’s 10 losses occurred by a single-digit margin, they barely defeated a suspension-depleted Miami team on opening night, and only beat FBS team Towson, 28-3. Additionally, they managed to choke away double-digit leads against Clemson and NC State, with the latter putting up 42 in the second half to come back and win. Needless to say, Edsall’s first year on the job was a challenging one. But it appears he’s taken steps to fix it.

First up was the offense, which demanded radical changes after a tumultuous 2011 campaign. So the ineffective Gary Crowton was fired, and in his place, the team returned former recruiting coordinator Mike Locksley, who spent the last three seasons at New Mexico. Now, he’ll have to figure out a way to mold C.J. Brown — who showed some signs of success in 2011 — into a program-defining quarterback. On top of conditioning the junior passer to take less hits, he’ll also have to work to replace several major pieces on offense, lost by the major attrition since Edsall took the helm. Beyond the obvious departure of former starting QB Danny O’Brien, Locksley will have to sort out former star tackle Max Garcia‘s replacement as well. With major question marks on the offensive line, it won’t be easy for Brown to quickly establish himself in the pocket. He’ll be relying on top targets Kevin Dorsey and Stefon Diggs to get open often, as well as the questionable running game to help pick up the slack; all uneasy propositions beyond the senior, Dorsey. Again, Locksley was brought back into the fold for a reason, and he’ll have his work cut out for him.

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ACC 2012 Spring Practice Expectations: Maryland Terrapins

Demetrius Hartsfield and the Maryland Defense May Hold the Key to Success For the Terps in 2012

As spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing what needs to happen for the teams and players of the ACC, culminating with notes on all 14 spring games.

Today’s featured team: Maryland Terrapins

As has been well-documented here, as well as everywhere else on the web, Maryland’s football team was terrible in 2011. Worse yet, they’ve already been terrible this offseason, and they still haven’t played an actual game. What was once a burgeoning quarterback controversy (and potentially exciting camp battle) quickly turned into a messy ordeal between head coach Randy Edsall and former starter Danny O’Brien — indirectly resulting in O’Brien’s departure to parts yet-to-be-determined. What we know now, however, is that rising junior C.J. Brown is now officially the man who carries all of Maryland’s hopes on his shoulders. The versatile thrower and passer had some impressive outings in 2011 (see: Clemson), but consistency was a struggle. For the pass game to improve from last year’s mediocre 75th overall (in the FBS), Brown has to put in the time with his receivers this spring. While he’ll surely have help, much of the onus will fall on rising senior receiver Kevin Dorsey, along with stud recruit Stefon Diggs. Like his quarterback, Dorsey struggled a bit with consistency throughout the year — missing two games, and then virtually disappearing from the stat sheet during the middle of the season. With a healthy running game (questionable, given the inexperienced backs vying for the starting job this year) and some marked improvement from Brown though, it’s conceivable the Terps score more than the meager 23.1 points per game they pulled together in 2011. Continue reading