The Terps football team took the field for the first time this past Saturday morning, and spring practice has officially begun. After a disappointing injury-laden 2012 season, the Terps look to turn things around with a promising recruiting class and a healthy senior quarterback in their final season in the ACC.
There are some big things to watch for this spring for the Terps. First of all, how well can QBs Ricardo Young and Dustin Dailey run the Maryland offense while the other 3 quarterbacks recover from torn ACLs? Young is a transfer from New Mexico and Dailey is a walk-on from last season. Young will get first-team snaps, and has already impressed coaches with his arm and his legs. He is a dual-threat quarterback who can run Mike Locksley’s read-option offense well. He will be auditioning for the backup quarterback job behind senior C.J. Brown.
Secondly, how good is this Terps receiving corps going to be? Sophomore Stefon Diggs returns after a stellar freshman campaign, leading a group full of playmakers. Diggs will be joined by 5-star transfer Deon Long and junior Marcus Leak. The three of them should see the field a lot at the same time in 2013. Backing them up are very capable receivers Nigel King, Levern Jacobs, and Taivon Jacobs. King has the potential to be a very good receiver for the Terps, and should see the field a lot as well. The Jacobs brothers will be solid backups, but Taivon could redshirt his first season due to both a recent knee injury and concern for playing time.
Thirdly, what will the offensive line look like in 2013? The Terps are losing senior offensive linemen Bennett Fulper and Justin Gilbert this season, leaving holes at left guard and right tackle. Randy Edsall has announced that the offensive line (from left to right) will be: Mike Madaras-De’Onte Arnett-Sal Conaboy/Evan Mulrooney-Andrew Zeller-Nick Klemm. That offensive line will be joined by 4-star OT Derwin Gray in the fall, who will likely compete for the right tackle job with Nick Klemm. Randy Edsall and his staff will not want to move Madaras away from left tackle this early in his career. The two guard positions will be manned by a combination of De’Onte Arnett, Andrew Zeller, and Silvano Altamirano. Arnett and Zeller both struggled in their time at right guard last season. Altamirano is a 3-star junior college transfer who will be in spring camp.
Lastly, how will the Terps defense respond after a stellar 2012 season? The Terps are losing a lot of key starters on defense this season. Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis are leaving the defensive line, and Kenneth Tate, Demetrius Hartsfield, and Darin Drakeford are leaving the linebacking corps. Eric Franklin is the only departing defensive back. Maryland will rely on some young players to take over the defense in 2013. Expect to see a lot of sophomores and freshmen on the 2013 defensive depth chart. Randy Edsall has already announced that junior safety Matt Robinson will be moving to outside linebacker. He will likely take over Kenneth Tate’s linebacker position. Robinson is built much bigger than Tate, and should fare better moving from safety to linebacker than Tate did.
Overall, this looks to be an improved Terps team, especially on offense. The key to this season will be health. If key injuries can be avoided, this team can be very good. The Terps will hold 3 spring practices around the state that are completely free and open to the public. At noon on Saturday, March 30, they will practice at Dunbar High School. At noon on Saturday, April 6th, they will practice at Middletown High School. Finally, the annual Red-White Spring Game will take place at 7:00 PM on Friday, April 12th at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
The 2013 regular season will begin on Saturday, August 31 at home against Florida International. A highlight of the 2013 season will be a game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD on September 21st against rival West Virginia.