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Maryland

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

August 25, 2003 The Big Picture Maryland is on solid ground for the first time since Bobby Ross departed in 1986. Ralph Friedgen is a top-flight head coach who is two-plus years into his grand plan for transforming the Terps into a national power. Frankly, 21 victories and a pair of major bowl berths in his first two seasons were ahead of schedule. With 55 returning lettermen, including 17 starters, Maryland can talk seriously about earning the ACC's berth in the BCS. Friedgen did well to retain outstanding coordinators Charlie Taaffe (offense) and Gary Blackney (defense) despite serious interest from other schools. Friedgen is in the midst of a 10-year contract, and as long as the big guy remains on the job the overall health of the program will remain stable. For 2003, anything less than 10 victories and another major bowl would be a disappointment. The PooP Maryland has a returning starter at QB for the first time in the Friedgen era, and that has allowed the coach to install more of his expansive playbook. Friedgen, recently dubbed an offensive genius by Sports Illustrated, has implemented only 40 percent of his package since arriving at Maryland, as Shaun Hill (2001) and Scott McBrien (2002) were first-year starters. McBrien started all 14 games last fall and gained a better understanding of the concepts behind the schemes. That has allowed Friedgen and Taaffe to add several new wrinkles that should take opponents by surprise. Building Blocks Offensively, McBrien and TB Bruce Perry give Maryland the two most important ingredients to a solid attack. If both remain healthy, the two positions that handle the ball the most will be strengths. Defensively, the Terps boast one of the nation's strongest secondaries, with four solid returning starters and experienced backups at every position. FS Madieu Williams is a Thorpe Award candidate and a future NFL draft pick. CB Domonique Foxworth was first-team All-ACC as a sophomore. CB Curome Cox has made 33 career starts, while SS Dennard Wilson is a two-year starter who began his career as a cover corner. DT Randy Starks and OG Lamar Bryant also are outstanding. Coming On Strong Shawne Merriman appears ready to blossom into an All-ACC performer, as he's an absolute beast who runs well and hits hard. Maryland's new-found depth is evidenced by the fact that Merriman has not been able to completely overtake Jamahl Cochran at the Leo linebacker spot. Rookie LB Tim Cesa looked even more impressive in August than all-world newcomer Wesley Jefferson. Offensively, the staff has been quite impressed with the elevated play of WR Danny Melendez. Done For Me Lately  

Year

ACC

Overall

Postseason

1993

2-6 (7)

2-9

None

1994

2-6 (7)

4-7

None

1995

4-4 (5)

6-5

None

1996

3-5 (6)

5-6

None

1997

1-7 (8)

2-9

None

1998

1-7 (8)

3-8

None

1999

2-6 (8)

5-6

None

2000

3-5 (6)

5-6

None

2001

7-1 (1)

10-2

Orange Bowl (L)

2002

6-2 (2)

11-3

Peach Bowl (W)

ACC: 31-49 (.388); No. 7 in ACC
Overall: 53-61 (.465); No. 7 in ACC Cause For Concern? Maryland is extremely thin at one defensive end, where Scott Smith (who has a history of back problems) is the only player with much experience. A preseason injury to Bryant turned the OL into a question mark. Seldom-used Ed Tyler and talented but erratic Akil Patterson were asked to help. The Terps appear shaky at several spots along the line, including center, where Tyler is the backup to Kyle Schmitt. Backup OTs Ryan Flynn and Lou Lombardo also haven't inspired much confidence. The Whole Truth “The only thing I worry about is kids getting overconfident. Some of our younger guys haven't lost much, so they don't have that hunger that drove the last couple of senior classes. Our older kids who still remember the hard times need to show some leadership in that area.”

— Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen CHART BY: THE MARYLAND INSIDER Brought to you by: