Thursday, August 28, 2008

Homer Preview: The Terrapin Edition

In an effort to provide coverage of teams outside of the OTP Preseason Top 25, we've asked some of our friends and fellow college football aficionados to follow our preview format for their own team. This edition of The Homer Preview, featuring the Maryland Terps is courtesy of James Bond (yes, his real name), a proud Maryland alum, attorney extraordinaire, and the "lawya" we refer to when we refer to "lawya".

Homer Preview: Maryland Terrapins
What You Need to Know:The Terps are returning 46 players who saw action on the field last season, where they finished 6-6, which includes a loss in the Emerald Bowl to the Oregon State Beavers. Maryland made a Terrapin out of one of those Beavers, new Wide Receivers Coach Lee Hull. Another new old face on the Maryland sideline is Offensive Coordinator James Franklin, who coached with the Ralph “The Fridge” Friedgen during his first 4 years at Maryland. They also added a new special teams coach in Danny Pearman, making this the third team he’s coached with in the ACC, including perennial ACC powerhouse VTU.

Returning players on offense include 4 out of 5 starting linemen, Chris Turner at starting QB who was third best in passing efficiency last year, and All-American Darrius Heyward-Bey at WR. Another threat the Fridge is excited about is senior TE Dan Gronkowski, having both blocking and catching abilities.

Defensive veterans Jeremy Navarre and Trey Covington have each played at least 30 games. The LB corps has proven to be an NFL factory of late, and this year should prove no different with Dave Philistin and Adrian Moten. Philistin was the fourth leading tackler in the ACC, and Moten was the jack-of-all trades last year at linebacker.

Who You Need to Know and Their 07 Stats:
QB Chris Turner: 1958 yds, 7 TD
WR Darius Heyward-Bey: 51 rec., 786 yds, 3 TD
LB Dave Philistin: 124 tkls, 6.5 TFL

Game To Watch: Biggest game for the Terps will be against Clemson on the road. The Terps open up against Delaware, MTSU, California and EMU, so if they start strong, they’ll go strong into the Tiger cage, where they won two years ago. If they do poorly, then more losses will follow, not because of skill, but because of confidence. They could rebound against UVA the following week, beating Clemson and starting 5-0 will be a motivational boost as the ACC just might start to Fear the Turtle.

They'll Do Well If...: Chris Turner has time to throw the ball! The O-line has the experience of playing together, and Turner has proven effective in passing the rock, defeating two top-ten teams last season (Rutgers and BCU). There is no doubt the passing game is the primary weapon for this team, especially since the running back tandem of Da’Rell Scott and Morgan Green saw little time on the field last year. Luckily junior stud FB Cory Johnson will be blocking for them. The Terps have an experienced back up in Jordan Steffy, who has started a number of games for the Terps, but went down early last year, giving Chris “Sunshine” Turner an opportunity to display his skills. There has been stiff competition between these two, but Turner will start.

The secondary is also young, returning only one starter in Kevin Barnes, so the veterans in the front seven will have to pressure the quarterback and stuff the run. Staying healthy is key for this team, as there is little depth in the o-line, d-line, and defensive secondary.

Finally, if the Terps protect their house, then that will be 7 wins and they’ll be bowl bound for the second year in a row. The toughest game at home will be FSU, although, MD gave up a heart breaker to Wake Forest last year.

Season Outlook
: The Terps will have to win tough games on the road: Boston College, Clemson (#9), Virginia and Virginia Tech (#15). These four teams finished in the top of their respective divisions last year. Maryland could start the season 4-0 before they go to Clemson and Charlottesville. Even if they lose those four road games, they could still end up with 8 wins but in the bottom half of the division.


Alan said...

Excellent job as always, Mr. Bond. It's good to know when not defeating terrorists in poker games, finding Russian satellites, or defeating an evil media empire you still have time to follow the Terps. Ralph Friedgen is impressed. And hungry.

Erin Schlegel said...

That's the best sports article I've ever read! Go Terps! Well written Mr. Bond and nice website Alan :)