There’s always things to figure out going into preseason camp. Here are Maryland‘s:
1. Who is the quarterback? Really, was it going to be anything else at No. 1? It might not be the most pressing matter, but it will certainly be the most scrutinized from the outside. Incumbent Chris Turner will come in with a slight edge over fifth-year senior Jordan Steffy, but don’t expect this to sort itself out for at least another two weeks. Josh Portis is in the mix, too, but the guys who actually played last year are more likely to start Aug. 30 against Delaware.
2. Just how good is Alex Wujciak? Maryland is about to find out, assuming its new middle linebacker doesn’t get injured in the preseason. The sophomore earned praise from his first day on campus, but a redshirt year and a torn ACL kept him off the field. At 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, he might soon emerge as one of the ACC’s top linebackers.
3. What about new offensive coordinator James Franklin’s offense? You’ll be hearing plenty about that in the next week or so. After an incredibly poorly phrased question on my part, Ralph Friedgen patiently explained at the ACC Kickoff that Maryland’s offense was not overhauled with Franklin’s arrival. Plus, he isn’t running a West Coast offense in the classical Bill Walsh sense, but rather a medley of schemes. Look for at least 60 percent – if not more – of the offense to appear quite similar to the past.
4. While on the topic of revamped systems, how about the defense? Call it a 3-3-5 stack. Call it a 3-5, like defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre does. Either way, it’s an attempt by the Terps to accentuate a strength (linebacker depth) and hide a weakness (size on the defensive line). With one safety acting as more of a linebacker than defensive back, Maryland will look a bit different. And with their personnel situation, it’s certainly worth a try.
5. Who’s the man at tailback, Da’Rel Scott or Morgan Green? They’re both going to get a chance to play and make up for lost time. Scott is the sort of explosive threat the Terps haven’t had since the Chris Downs/Bruce Perry combo of earlier this decade, but Friedgen never goes through a season without at least one game of a perceived No. 2 tailback receiving the bulk of the carries. The last Terps to receive the most carries in every game of a season was LaMont Jordan in 1999. It’ll stay that way.
6. Will it be Moise Fokou or Adrian Moten at strong-side linebacker? This also happens to be where sophomore Dominique Herald is listed on the depth chart. Fokou started last year, but Moten was incredibly valuable as a backup at three linebacker positions and needs to be on the field somewhere this year. Of all the positional question marks facing Friedgen, this is the best one to have.
7. Right guard. Phil Costa or Jack Griffin. Who’s it going to be? Barring injuries elsewhere, it would be no surprise if Andrew Crummey is replaced by a timeshare. Both Costa (seven starts) and Griffin (four starts) played plenty last year, and they should be in line to split right guard early this season.
8. Who handles kickoffs? Maybe Obi Egekeze. Maybe David May, the listed starter and a walk-on. Maryland must replace Chris Roberts, who handled the kickoffs last year. This could turn out to be one of those spots Friedgen frets about as camp progresses because of uncertainty.
9. What will happen in the secondary? Only one starter (cornerback Kevin Barnes) is back, so this will be worth keeping an eye on. The biggest name at safety is Southern California transfer Antwine Perez, who will compete with Terrell Skinner for one of the starting jobs.
10. Who are two guys on each side of the ball who could carve out decent-sized roles for themselves? On defense, it would be tackles Dean Muhtadi and Olugbemi “Bemi” Otulaja. If both of those guys can hold up with more frequent playing time, it would make Maryland a much more redoubtable unit. Offensively, it’s going to be a pair of redshirt freshmen wideouts – Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler. Smith drew plaudits from Friedgen all last fall, while Tyler was particularly impressive in spring workouts.