Spring football is officially in the rear-view mirror, with players focused on wrapping up the semester and coaches off trying to piece together their future.
But there are some medium-term issues that will bear monitoring between now and late July, when the chatter for the upcoming season will really begin to percolate and Ralph Friedgen appears at the ACC Kickoff.
Same goes for basketball, but that can be touched on tomorrow. For now, here’s five issues that will be worth keeping an eye on throughout the offseason:
1. Will Dion Armstrong and Bruce Campbell make it?
It’s only two of the Terps’ four returning starting linemen (on both lines combined) who were on Friedgen Academic Probation during the spring. Only. The reality is, the Terps’ success next year could easily hinge on Campbell’s presence at left tackle, and an extra defensive tackle like Armstrong would be of great use as well. Friedgen indicated both were progressing toward the end of the spring, so there is some optimism.
2. How does 87 become 85?
This really isn’t much of a scholarship crunch, but it warrants a mention simply because there is a small gap. This could be as easy as having two incoming recruits go off to prep school to get qualified, which by the percentages is about what happens every year. There’s always the chance of some sort of attrition, be it a player transferring down or academics knocking a player out of school. It’s just a little bit of math, and is always an offseason pastime.
3. How selective can Maryland be?
The Terps will bring in an interesting recruiting class next February, if only because the scholarship numbers will be tighter. Maryland unofficially has 12 scholarship seniors next year, and a typical amount of premature departures will probably bump that number somewhere in the 16-to-20 range.
Maryland typically collects many of its commitments during the summer as players pass through the Terps’ camp. Seth Hoffman at InsideMdSports.com reported over the weekend that quarterback Tyler Smith from Easton, Pa., is on board, and Maryland is probably ahead of schedule in terms of filling up its class.
4. Will all the players who missed the spring be ready to go?
Clearly, there’s some big names who underwent offseason surgery – Alex Wujciak and Cory Jackson chief among them. The greater questions should surround guys like linebacker Ben Pooler, who had his ACL surgery in October and figures to compete for playing time this year.
Friedgen continually mentioned getting Pooler back, so that’s a source of optimism for Maryland. A more dubious possibility is the return of safety Dominique Herald, who suffered a severe knee injury on kickoff coverage against California in September.
5. What’s the word with Byrd?
Construction on luxury suites continues, and while it isn’t complete, it also looks much closer to done than it did in mid-February. There’s four months (plus a week) for the project to end in time for the Sept. 12 home opener against James Madison. Finished or not, Byrd Stadium will look quite a bit different this fall than in the past.