Image Credit: 247Sports
This is the first in a series of articles documenting the outlook of the Maryland Terrapins’ offensive line in 2013.
2012 Statistics: 12 games played, 8 games started
Not many true freshmen get to see significant playing time in college football. Even rarer is a true freshman offensive lineman making 8 starts on an ACC team. Even more rare is that the true freshman started games at left tackle, and played at a high level. But Maryland’s Mike Madaras did just that in 2012.
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On an offensive line that was shaky in 2012, Madaras provided a solid presence at left tackle. He saw game action in all 12 games, and started the final 8 games of the season after Nick Klemm was unimpressive through the first 4. Randy Edsall didn’t want to have to use the true freshman so early in his career, but knew it was what had to be done to win games. It is very rare that a true freshman offensive lineman sees any game action, mainly due to the nature of the position.
The offensive line is one of the most complex, and one of the most underrated positions in football. A large part of an offensive line’s success comes from chemistry. The ability to work together to block the men on the other side of the field is one of the toughest skills to learn as a football player. Not only is it physically tough, but it’s mentally tough as well. While learning a playbook is definitely tough, learning the playbook of 4 other players is even tougher. The offensive line is a unique position in that in order to succeed, you have to understand what each other lineman is doing. If you don’t understand that, then blocks get missed and quarterbacks get crunched. It’s for this reason that you often see the smartest players on the football field playing on the offensive line.
That mental and physical toughness is why you don’t often see a true freshman do as well as Mike Madaras did in the 2012 season. In fact, Randy Edsall admitted that Madaras was the first true freshman he had ever started on one of his 14 offensive lines as a head coach. He is a special player, and deserves huge amounts of respect for his performance last season. Coming out of high school, he was seen as a versatile lineman who could play guard or tackle. Scouts differed on whether he was a 3-star or a 4-star recruit, but they all liked him. He chose Maryland over Duke, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Mississippi State, N.C. State, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina, Stanford, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. He was a teammate of Stefon Diggs’ and Wes Brown’s at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, MD.
Madaras certainly has room to grow, but has a lot of potential on the Terps’ offensive line for the next 3 years. He provides a solid presence at left tackle, and a solid offensive line is going to be key as the Terps transition into the Big Ten Conference in 2014. He should enter the 2013 season as the starting left tackle for the Terps, and will look to build on what was a very impressive freshman year.
As for the future, there will be an interesting battle at left tackle between Madaras and 4-star 2013 recruit Derwin Gray. Gray will likely redshirt this season, but both Madaras and Gray project as left tackles. With their talent, one would assumedly have to move to right tackle. With his versatility and experience, I could see Madaras making the move to the right side in 2014. A lot of that will depend on Madaras’ performance in 2013 and in spring camp in 2014. The bottom line is that the Terps have a bright future at the tackle positions moving forward.