Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, August 21, 2015
Maryland?s debut in the Big Ten was mixed. There were wins vs. Iowa, Penn State and Michigan and a bowl trip but a late-season meltdown marred a 7-6 season.
Hope floats in College Park, as Randy Edsall may have his best team yet as he begins his fifth season on campus.
Here are three things I will be watching at Terrapins? practice.
1. How does the o-line look? This unit has been underperforming since Randy Edsall has been in charge. A lack of depth and talent have been issues. But, the unit looks to be well-stocked. And there is some blue-chip talent in freshmen tackles Derwin Gray (who is still not seeing contact) and Damian Prince. This could be Edsall?s best front. It needs to be, as Maryland was just 108th in the nation in rushing last year (121.8 ypg).
2. How do the QBs look? Maryland has three options in holdovers junior Caleb Rowe and junior Perry Hills, along with Oklahoma State grad transfer Daxx Garman, a pro-style quarterback whose strength is his arm. Rowe and Hills both played after injuries to C.J. Brown, who is gone. Rowe has played in 13 games with three starts but is coming off a knee injury. How will this sort out? The Terps are still deciding.
3. Is the defense better? The unit struggled last season, especially late in the season. As a result, Edsall swapped coordinators, promoting Keith Dudzinski, who has switched the Terrapins from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. (Ex-Coordinator Brian Stewart now coaches DBs at Nebraska.) The Terps were No. 95 in the nation in total defense last year (436.2 ypg). Maryland blew a 25-point lead vs. Rutgers in the finale and then got smoked by Stanford in a bowl, 45-21. Dudzinski?s task is complicated by rebuilding a front seven that has just one starter back.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|