2009 Football Season Outlook - Part II
Aug. 5, 2009
The following is the second in a four-part series previewing the 2008 University of Maryland football team.
The Terrapins open fall practice on Monday in preparation for their season opener on Saturday, Sept. 5 (10 p.m.) on the road against California.
Today's portion of the outlook breaks down the wide receivers, offensive line and tight ends.
Outlook Schedule on umterps.com: Overall Overview/Quarterbacks/Running Backs Monday, Aug. 3 Defensive Line/Linebackers Friday, Aug. 7 Secondary/Specialists Sunday, Aug. 9
Wide ReceiverDespite the loss of the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Maryland has a chance to have an improved receiving corps this season.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was drafted by Oakland, ended his college career one year early, but finished second in school history in all-time receiving yards (2,089) and third in receptions (138).
The Terps have a deep nucleus returning despite the loss of Heyward-Bey, as well as Danny Oquendo and Isaiah Williams, who both started during their careers. Oquendo was a dependable third-down receiver the last three years.
The future looks bright with no seniors and just three juniors among the team's top nine wide receivers.
In addition, veteran LaQuan Williams, who sat out most of last season with a foot injury (and missed the spring), gives the Terps a veteran presence. He had a breakout 2007 campaign, but played just three games last season.
"I think this is one of the positions where we have really good depth," Franklin said. "We've got three-deep and hopefully those guys take that as a positive and an advantage for us, and go out and push each other to be the best."
Smith burst onto the scene last season when he took over as the starter at X receiver for the final six games.
He spent all season as the kick returner, setting the ACC single season record for yards (1,089) and posted 16 of his 24 catches over the last six games.
He also averaged a school-record 21.3 yards each time he touched the ball last season.
Smith's 14.0 yards per catch ranked second in the ACC among freshmen with at least 20 receptions.
The Terps are hoping for even bigger things from Smith this season as he emerges as one of the team leaders.
"Torrey is a great player and an unbelievable person" Franklin said. "We just love to have him in our program and I think he's got a chance to have a really good sophomore year."
Smith will battle with Cannon at the X receiver slot. Cannon played in all 13 games last season and helped the Terps in the bowl win over Nevada, hauling in a 59-yard TD pass from Chris Turner. He also had two TD catches in the Red-White Spring game. "Adrian is on a mission right now,' Franklin said. "He is working extremely hard. He finished up the spring with a lot of confidence. Actually, he really ended last season with a lot of confidence. He is working really hard right now."
Lee-Odai is also in the mix at X receiver. One of the fastest players on the team, Lee-Odai has played in 21 games over the last two seasons and will be counted on for increased production in the fall.
Tyler is penciled in at the F (or slot) receiver position, manned by Oquendo the last three seasons, though he'll have to fight off Boykins and Williams.
Tyler ranked sixth on the team in receptions (20) last season, making a number of acrobatic catches especially on third down.
Boykins, a redshirt freshman, was impressive on the scout team last fall. "Kerry is someone we are really excited about," Franklin said. "He's another guy who had a really good spring."
Williams missed the spring so he'll need a good fall camp to help his case for playing time.
"LaQuan Williams didn't play last year because of injuries, but he's a guy who has played and had a lot of success," Franklin said. "So I could see any of those three guys starting in the slot."
Logan, McCree and Dorsey head into the preseason in a battle at Z receiver.
Logan gives the Terps a shifty presence in that spot.
"Tony has got really good change of direction," Franklin said. "He's got play-making ability."
McCree saw limited time last season, but had an impressive spring. He capped it off by posting four receptions for 163 yards and three TDs in the Red-White Spring game. Dorsey, a redshirt freshman, was highly-recruited out of high school, but sat out last season due to foot surgery.
The staff is looking for big things from Dorsey.
Webb Dulin is in his third year in the program and gives the Terps a veteran presence at receiver. Eric Powell, Joey McQueeney and Kevin Brown will all provide depth at the wide-receiver position this fall.
Offensive Line/Tight End
Graduation hit the offensive line harder than any other unit on the team.
The Terps lost five of their top seven performers up front from a year ago, including three All-ACC performers.
In all, those five players combined to start 115 games and help the team reach three bowl games in the last four years.
Bruce Campbell and Phil Costa are the lone returning starters. Campbell started the last six games at left tackle last season, while Costa has played at left and right guard in his career. Costa, who started 12 games at right guard in 2008, will take over as the starting center this year.
Costa, a preseason All-ACC choice, quickly made the transition to the full-time role.
"Phil easily had the best spring among the offensive linemen," Friedgen said. "I thought we had a pretty good player in Edwin Williams last year, and I think Phil really kind of played better than Edwin did. Plus, I think the leadership that he's providing has been as good as we've had in a long time."
At 6-foot-7, 300 pounds, Campbell is a gifted athlete who runs like a tight end and is among the strongest players in school history.
"I think Bruce Campbell is in the top five percent in the country, including the NFL, in terms of body type and athleticism," Franklin said. "He's got some experience now so we are expecting really big things from Bruce this year."
Junior Paul Pinegar is the only other lineman to see any significant time in his career. Pinegar has played in 12 games at tackle over the last two years. He enters the fall No. 1 on the depth chart at right tackle, but will have to battle for that spot.
Redshirt freshman Justin Lewis will open the fall atop the depth chart at right guard.
"Gonnella has probably improved as much as anyone on our team," Friedgen said. "He has a tremendous work ethic and passion for the game."
Young saw brief action in three games last season and Friedgen calls him "one of the better athletes for a guy his size I've been around."
Justin Gilbert, a promising redshirt freshman, will back up Campbell at left tackle.
Bowen has battled foot injuries the last two seasons, but saw some action in the spring. He's shown promise during practice over the last two years.
"There will be competition between those three guys," Franklin said.
Sophomore Maurice Hampton is also a reserve at guard, but he has yet to play.
Junior Danny Edwards will back up Costa at center. Edwards is in his fourth year in the program and played in two games as a reserve last season.
True freshman Bennett Fulper is penciled in behind Edwards.
Another first-year player who could figure into the two-deep is Pete White, one of the more highly regarded recruits in this class.
White, who was the fifth-ranked guard in the country last season, will begin the year at right guard.
"Pete White has a legitimate chance to contribute as a true freshman," Franklin said. "He needs to lose some weight, but I think he has got a chance."
The tight-end position will see a transition with three-year starter Dan Gronkowski departed and a new coach in place.
Gronkowski capped off his Terrapin career by earning honorable mention All-ACC honors last season. He had a career-high 29 receptions, which ranked third on the team.
Charles Bankins, a native of Maryland who was an assistant at Richmond the last two seasons, took over as tight ends and special teams coach in the spring.
Galt and Watson each played in 13 games in 2008, with the latter posting 10 receptions for 115 yards.
"Tommy came on at the end of last season," Franklin said. "He's older and very hungry. He wants to end his career on a real solid note."
Watson offers more speed since he was a wide receiver in high school, but has grown to 260 pounds.
"He's inexperienced, but he can be a threat with the ball in his hands," Franklin said.
Furstenburg played in two games on special teams last season before being sidelined with an ankle injury.
Campbell was impressive in his redshirt season, showing good pass-catching ability.
"Devonte Campbell is a very good athlete who still is learning to be a tight end with his hand on the ground," Franklin said.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Schlothauer will add depth at tight end.
Dave Stinebaugh is the lone incoming freshman at tight end. He was the 2007 Baltimore County Player of the Year.