Maryland Football Makes Final Preparations for Delaware
Aug. 28, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - All dress rehearsals are complete and it is almost time for the curtain to rise on the University of Maryland football team's 2008 campaign.
The Terps took to the practice field Thursday afternoon for their final preparations for Saturday's season opener against Delaware. The 90-minute session featured regulars from both sides of the ball going against members of the scout team, and the practice concluded with a series of two-minute drills.
For the Maryland coaching staff and players, Saturday's home game against the Blue Hens will provide an initial opportunity to see how the Terrapins fare against opposition. Head coach Ralph Friedgen is particularly interested in judging how the offense performs under new offensive coordinator James Franklin and how the defense responds to schematic changes implemented during the off-season.
"There are a lot of things I'm going to be interested in seeing how they turn out," said Friedgen of his team's first game.
Quarterback Jordan Steffy will get the nod under center for the Terps on Saturday after winning the job during preseason camp. The senior signal-caller started five games a year ago, and had arguably his best game in the 2007 season opener against Villanova, when he completed 19 of 24 passes for 174 yards.
"He's shown me that he has perseverance, toughness and determination," Friedgen said of Steffy. "I don't know how this whole thing is going to work out, but right now there's no doubt in my mind that he has the best control of the offense. I just hope he goes out there and performs the way he's capable of performing. I have a lot of confidence in him."
Steffy completed his first five passes during the team portion of Thursday's practicing, finding wide receiver Isaiah Williams on three occasions. Maryland's defense, however, bested its offensive counterpart during two-minute drills, as defensive back Jamari McCollough recorded an interception and defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi forced a fumble.
Place-kicker Obi Egekeze, a senior, capped the practice by splitting the uprights on a mid-range field goal attempt.
Following practice, Friedgen announced the captains for Saturday's game. Three seniors, offensive lineman Edwin Williams, defensive lineman Jeremy Navarre and long-snapper Andrew Schmitt will represent the Terps offensive, defense and special teams' units, respectively.
"Obum went over and played defense [during practice this week] and did a good job for us," Friedgen said. "He's a wonderful kid."
In an attempt to create a new tradition this season, the team will have an in-state player carry the Maryland flag onto the field and an out-of-state player bring out the American flag on gameday. Senior defensive back Kevin Barnes, of Glen Burnie, Md., and junior offensive lineman Phil Costa, a native of Moorestown, N.J., were selected to carry the respective flags Saturday.
Kickoff for Saturday's game against Delaware is set for 3:45 p.m. at Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium.
The game will be telecast nationally on ESPNU and broadcast on the Terrapin Sports Network.
Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will replay the game at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Breakfast with the Fridge Set for Friday: As he has done over the past few years, Ralph Friedgen will hold a `Breakfast with the Fridge' event twice during the regular season. The eighth-year head coach will visit with Terp fans Friday, one day prior to the team's season opener, and on Friday, Oct. 24. Both events are free and will take place at the Inn & Conference Center on the University of Maryland campus. Each event begins at 7:00 a.m. with a free continental breakfast. Friedgen will address the crowd from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. when he'll discuss preseason camp and the season opener vs. Delaware. His second `Breakfast with the Fridge' event leads into the Homecoming game vs. NC State.
Terrapins Rising II: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic is running a Terrapins Rising Marathon from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, leading up to the kickoff (3:45 p.m.in Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium) of Maryland's season opener vs. Delaware. The second season of Terrapins Rising aired nationally throughout the nation this summer. Locally the 10-episode reality series aired each Tuesday this summer on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. The episodes are also available on Fridge TV.