BOISE, Idaho —- OK, off to the mailbag from a couple loyal readers who prefer to remain nameless, which is a much-needed as it appears New Year’s will unexpectedly be spent away from home:
Hey, what are your thoughts on the offensive line for next year? This seems like it could be key, since they’re losing so many players. Most of them were a disappointment this past season but can it get worse?
This is question numero uno for the Terps heading into next season. Pencil in Bruce Campbell at left tackle. That’s a sure thing. And Phil Costa will start somewhere.
After that, it’s a whole lot of unknowns —- and, in general, it was guys who couldn’t earn playing time this year. So that isn’t terribly encouraging.
Two crucial players will be Lamar Young and Justin Lewis, who might wind up as Maryland‘s starting guards. At the same time, walk-ons Paul Pinegar and Danny Edwards could be critical pieces.
Even before the offensive line’s uneven play surfaced this season, that unit seemed like it would be the linchpin for Maryland’s success in 2009. There’s no reason to change that assessment now.
It could get worse, and at least in the short term I suspect it will. Three new starters on any offensive line is never a good formula, and while it’d be dumb to rule out that Maryland’s line could be good next season, it’s probably more reasonable to say it could be decent by the end of next season. To expect much more isn’t very wise.
Are there any Maryland players (other than the obvious) who you think will do more than just “explore” the NFL Draft?
Let’s assume the “obvious” is Darrius Heyward-Bey, who indeed will take a peek at the NFL in the coming week.
Of the other 13 scholarship juniors, the only name that could be in that mix is cornerback Anthony Wiseman. This might come as a surprise to those who saw Nevada repeatedly pick on Maryland’s cornerbacks in yesterday’s Humanitarian Bowl, but Wiseman has applied to the NFL advisory committee.
You never know what those evaluations say, and you’re never entirely sure what circumstances anyone happens to be dealing with outside of football.
So I don’t know if Wiseman counts as “obvious” or not. But if he doesn’t, then he’s the most likely answer to the question.
—- Patrick Stevens