2009 Football Season Outlook - Part IV
Aug. 9, 2009
The following is the final installment in a four-part series previewing the 2009 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.) at California.
Today's portion of the outlook previews the secondary and special teams.
SecondaryMaryland should have a number of options in the secondary with two starters back in free safety Terrell Skinner and cornerback Anthony Wiseman along with five other players who saw significant snaps last season.
"We've got more experience back there than what we've had in the past," Friedgen said.
Skinner, a preseason All-ACC selection, is a hard-hitting free safety who should be in the discussion for all-league honors at the end of the season. He is the second-leading returning tackler (63) on the team behind Wujciak.
Wiseman, another preseason All-ACC choice, is the other returning starter. He led the team and ranked fourth in the ACC in pass breakups (0.77 pg).
At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Nolan Carroll gives the Terps a physical presence at cornerback. He struggled with ankle woes last season, missing three games.
Cameron Chism, Michael Carter, Trenton Hughes and Brandon Jackson-Mills will all be fighting for time at cornerback.
Chism saw time there, as well as on special teams, as a true freshman last season. Carter and Hughes, both entering their third season with the team, saw a limited number of snaps at cornerback.
"Trenton and Cameron really came on and played well for us in the spring," Friedgen said.
The Terps look to be extremely deep at safety.
"We've got four guys for safety," Brown said. "The key is going to be packaging those guys properly and making sure they all play. The nice thing is, we think we have enough versatility within our defensive package that we can utilize their strengths, and that is our goal."
Junior Antwine Perez, a transfer from USC, played quite a bit last season, seeing action at safety, outside linebacker and on special teams. He is a punishing tackler and will enter the spring behind Skinner at free safety.
Senior Jamari McCollough was the Terps' all-purpose defensive back last season. He has played each of the safety positions and cornerback.
McCollough had a team-best four picks last season and will look to take over for the departed Jeff Allen at strong safety.
Sophomore Kenny Tate is behind McCollough heading into the fall.
Tate, one of the top wide-receiver recruits from the 2008 class, will remain at safety. He moved there during the 2008 preseason and played in all 13 games last season.
"We gave him the option to move," Friedgen said. "We talked about it and Kenny felt like staying at safety was his best option right now."
Sophomore Austin Walker, who was a special teams contributor last season, is also a backup at free safety.
Veteran Richard Taylor hopes to give the Terps a boost at cornerback in the fall. Taylor, a sixth-year player, received clearance on a medical redshirt in the spring. Taylor has played in 23 career games as a reserve cornerback and special-teams performer. He sat out the spring while recovering from off-season knee surgery.
A number of Maryland's highly-rated recruiting class could figure into the mix in the secondary or special teams.
Green distinguished himself in the spring, but not in the secondary.
The sophomore served as the No. 3 quarterback, due to the lack of numbers at that position. In one scrimmage he completed 4 of 5 passes and rushed for 77 yards. "He really did a heck of a job for us in the spring," Friedgen said.
Special TeamsThe Terps return an all-league punter and a record-setting returner, but new special teams coordinator Charles Bankins will need to replace three of his prime performers from a year ago.
Maryland has maintained a strong punting game in Friedgen's tenure. Junior Travis Baltz, a two-year starter, earned first team All-ACC honors after averaging a league-best 41.1 yards per punt. It marked the seventh time in the last eight seasons the Terps had an all-conference punter.
Ted Townsley is a very capable backup to Baltz, who is a preseason All-America choice. Townsley has not competed in a regular-season game, but has a strong leg and has performed well in scrimmages over the last two years.
Torrey Smith was not only a standout at wide receiver last season, but he also made history on special teams. A preseason All-America selection, Smith averaged 25.9 yards per return last year en route to breaking the ACC single-season kickoff return yards record (1,089).
He may get even better this season.
"I think one of Charles' strengths is his kickoff returns," Friedgen said. "We had a couple big returns in the spring, so we should be pretty good there again."
Sophomore Tony Logan will get an opportunity as the punt returner.
"I think Tony Logan has the ability to go back there and make some plays," Friedgen said. "He did a great job at the bowl game replacing Oquendo."
The place-kicking job is fairly wide open with the departure of Egekeze, who booted 32 career field goals (tied for seventh in school history) and scored 164 points (10th in school history).
"Heading into camp it's pretty close between Barbour and Wallace," Friedgen said. "We'll also take a long look at Nick Ferrara."
Among the returning place-kickers, who also include senior David May, Wallace is the only one of the three to kick in a college game. He connected on 11 of 13 field goals two years ago at Indiana (Pa.).
May has served as a reserve place-kicker and kickoff specialist the last three years. He could see time as the kickoff specialist this season.
Nick Ferrara, a true freshman, will join the team in August. He was impressive in many of the elite kicking camps last season.
Schmitt was one of the more underrated players on the team over the last four years. Maryland has not had a punt blocked in the last 111 games (the longest active streak in the nation).
Schmitt has a lot to do with that record. He was the long-snapper for the last 50 games.
Sophomore Tim Downs, Schmitt's backup last season, enters the fall atop the depth chart at both short (FG/PAT) and long-snapper (punts).