Maryland and MTSU Set to Clash Saturday
Sept. 17, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - After gutting out a 38-35 overtime victory against James Madison in last Saturday's home opener, the Maryland Terrapins shifted their focus this week to Middle Tennessee State and its spread offense.
The Blue Raiders (1-1) racked up 436 yards of total offense in Saturday's 31-14 win over Memphis, with quarterback Dwight Dasher accounting for 320 of those yards. In practice this week, the Terps have spent plenty of time preparing for a dangerous no-huddle offense that gave them trouble in last season's 24-14 loss at MTSU.
"We have some concerns because they are going make it a wide-open game, especially with the formations with three wideouts on one side and two on the other, or two and two," said Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen. "They have a tight end that is 190 pounds that is basically another wide receiver. That concerns me quite a bit."
Despite those concerns, the ninth-year head coach is expecting a good effort from his team which is in the midst of a four-game homestand.
"We had a good week of practice and I think our kids will be ready to go Saturday," Friedgen said after Thursday's workout.
Maryland (1-1) will have to go against that spread offense without senior Nolan Carroll, who broke his leg against James Madison and will miss the remainder of the season. The injury was more than just a blow to the depth chart, as Carroll is a team captain and has been considered one of the leaders of the defense.
"I think there is a tremendous amount of feeling for Nolan on the team and obviously not only is Nolan very well liked but he is very well respected," said Friedgen.
With Carroll out, Cameron Chism is expected to step into the starting role at cornerback opposite senior Anthony Wiseman, in his second year as a starter. Chism, a sophomore, had a key third-down pass breakup late in the fourth quarter against James Madison, and has shown a nose for the ball throughout practice this week.
Trenton Hughes, also a sophomore, should see extended time at cornerback as well. Michael Carter and Brandon Jackson-Mills may also play there.
Dasher will be a main concern for the Terps defense, as he is a threat to pass and run. Against Memphis, he was 18 of 26 for 231 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 89 yards.
"Their quarterback is a guy to be reckoned with," said Friedgen. "He's an excellent athlete, a very good runner and an excellent passer. He had a very good game against Memphis last week and played well against us last year. He's a guy we really need to control."
Following practice, Friedgen announced that Torrey Smith, who returned a kick for a touchdown and accounted for 229 all-purpose yards vs. JMU, will serve as special-teams captain against Middle Tennessee State.
Kickoff for Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee is set for 3:30 EDT in Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, with the game to be broadcast live on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network and streamed on ESPN 360. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will show a replay of the ESPN360 webcast at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets for the game are available through the Maryland Athletics Ticket Office. Fans my call 1-800-IM-A-TERP or click here.