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Maryland Terrapins 2017 Football Season Preview

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What will year two of the DJ Durkin era bring to the Terrapins?

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Maryland Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Hey! Yes, I know, this is supposed to be Michigan State week. Turns out Graham didn’t pay me enough so my real job had some things come up and I swapped with Andrew on weeks. Anyways, let’s get Maryland week going!

About Last Season

DJ Durkin’s first season was about what you expected it to be with the schedule he drew. 6-6 and they headed to an OK bowl game where the lack of a functioning defense really showed. I’ll take a .500 record and a bowl game appearance in the first year of a head coach anytime.

Luckily, DJ Durkin really cleaned up recruiting in his first full cycle, so that should lay a solid foundation. Defensive line coach Mike London left for the head coaching vacancy at Howard, eager to get back into the head man gig after being an assistant at Maryland following his firing from Virginia. He was replaced by Jimmy Brumbaugh, who coached at Kentucky in the same position and most notably coached up Bud Dupree to a first round selection while there.

On the Offensive Side of the Ball

Walt Bell will need to replace the rotable pool of quarterbacks, who featured Perry Hills as the incumbent starter the prior two years when not injured. True sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome comes in with the most experience as a starter but UNC transfer Caleb Henderson has made the most noise this spring and is the presumed starter heading into summer camp.

Maryland graduated Trey Edmunds, Wes Brown, and Kenneth Goins at running back but Bell’s offense isn’t a feature back system to begin with and those three weren’t primary contributors. Ty Johnson returns along with Lorenzo Harrison, who should be the two feature backs while true freshman Anthony McFarland will look to make noise as a scatback type player who can play RB and out of the slot.

Speaking of which, WR should be a whole new look this year with Levern Jacobs graduating and signing on with the Redskins as well as DeAndre Lane, Malcolm Culmer, and Teldrick Morgan graduating. Maryland’s top WR DJ Moore returns and will look to help out a bunch of new faces in the system.

The offensive line should be interesting this year as Michael Dunn, LT, was the only starter graduating off the line. There is a ton of returning experience and many of the highly touted recruits should start making significant impacts.

On the Defensive Side of the Ball

Can I skip defensive line? It’s....a work in progress. Roman Braglio graduated, so he must be replaced as a starting DE. The DT situation should improve this year as Kingsley Opara came into his own last year and Cavon Walker was showing extremely disruptive flashes last year. If they can become more consistent, that would alleviate many concerns. Jessie Aniebonam is a pure pass rusher that could benefit from some more help along the line so he isn’t consistently double teamed.

What does Maryland do now that Will Likely graduated? I would guess that we see a combo of JC Jackson and Tino Ellis on the corners, which isn’t terrible considering their raw talent but both will need to show improvements from the year prior. Ellis broke into the lineup as a true freshman and should he continue to progress he could be a good one.

Maryland will rely on a lot of youth at safety as they will be relying on true freshman Marquese Bell to make significant contributions at the hybrid LB/S position they use. Bell made some noise in spring practice so there is hope that he can firmly grab the starting position and run with it over the summer.

Special Teams

With Will Likely graduating, Maryland needs to replace one of its most productive returners in recent memory. Look for WR DJ Turner and Taivon Jacobs to take a lot of reps over the summer as they determine who will take the lead in the returner role.

Mike Shinsky appears to have some more range on his FG’s and the kicker job is his to lose. Maryland has been in an odd place with kickers ever since Brad Craddock went down with injury his senior year but reports from the spring made the kicker competition sound like things will be OK. I know MNWildcat is very interested in the results.

The Schedule

Maryland Football 2017

Date Opponent
Date Opponent
Sat, Sep 02 @Texas
Sat, Sep 09 Towson
Sat, Sep 23 UCF
Sat, Sep 30 @Minnesota
Sat, Oct 07 @Ohio State
Sat, Oct 14 Northwestern
Sat, Oct 21 @Wisconsin
Sat, Oct 28 Indiana
Sat, Nov 04 @Rutgers (Yankee Stadium)
Sat, Nov 11 Michigan
Sat, Nov 18 @Michigan State
Sat, Nov 25 Penn State

Maryland has a legitimate chance at going 1-2 in its non-conference...which is not good. Playing at Texas to open the season will be very tough and they’ll have to hope that Herman has yet to get through to all of the talent on the Texas roster to install his system. UCF was very good last year under Scott Frost and the return game will be just as tough. Maryland should win on talent alone and they have the bye week right before it, so 2-1 is where it should be.

Maryland drew Minnesota, Northwestern, and Wisconsin as its cross-divisional games this year, which kind of blows in year 2 of a rebuild. Northwestern is a winnable game if they forget what offense is again but Maryland doesn’t have much of a shot against Wisconsin and we will have to see what the Minnesota boatrowers do this year. Ending with Penn State will be a fun game on Thanksgiving weekend but I’m thinking 5-7 looks like a real possibility this year considering the strength of schedule right now and 4-8 could happen too. Yikes. This is so pessimistic but competing against OSU and Michigan would make me much happier about those records.

If You're talking to a Maryland Fan Definitely Do Not Mention

Len Bias, Randy Edsall (really, it’s for your own good), Debbie Yow, recent NCAA Tournament records, how Ralph Friedgen was fired, Randy Edsall, etc.

If You’re Talking to a Maryland Fan Definitely Do Mention

2002 National title, 2000-2007 football success, Gary Williams, Lefty Driesell, Juan Dixon, Grievis Vasquez, lacrosse, recent baseball success, field hockey, see the non-revenue sports theme yet?

B1G 2017: Maryland Week

MONDAY | Cocktail Party Preview

TUESDAY | New Position Coaches

WEDNESDAY | Who can make an early impact?

THURSDAY | Basketball Recap