- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2008

SCHEDULE

DateOpponentTime

Aug. 30Delaware3:45 p.m.

Sept. 6at Middle Tennessee7 p.m.

Sept. 13Californianoon



Sept. 20Eastern MichiganTBA

Sept. 27at ClemsonTBA

Oct. 4at VirginiaTBA

Oct. 18Wake ForestTBA

Oct. 25N.C. StateTBA

Nov. 6at Virginia Tech7:30 p.m.

Nov. 15North CarolinaTBA

Nov. 22Florida StateTBA

Nov. 29at Boston CollegeTBA

UNDER CENTER

Just because Jordan Steffy will begin the season as the starting quarterback doesn’t mean the tumult at the position is over. The Terrapins are committed to finding a use for junior Josh Portis, an athletic Florida transfer who was suspended last year for cheating on a quiz, and junior Chris Turner barely missed out on the starting gig. Chances are all three will play and at least two of them will start multiple games before the season is over.

HOME COOKING

Maryland has the luxury of seven home games, including four of five in the heart of the conference schedule. California, Florida State, North Carolina and Wake Forest are all fairly comparable opponents that visit Byrd Stadium, and the Terps should have a chance to nab a couple of those toss-up games. Toss in a road victory or two in league play (Virginia? Boston College?) and the Terps could contend for an ACC title.

PLAYER ON THE SPOT

Da’Rel Scott

5-11, 192, tailback

The sophomore was durable throughout camp, for the time dispelling the biggest knock against his game. Scott, a former track star, produced some memorable moments in sporadic playing time last year but will receive plenty of work with veterans Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore gone. He will be helped immensely by a senior-laden, hulking offensive line.

INSIDE MOVES

No player has received such consistent praise between both the spring and August camps as Jeremy Navarre, who moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. He’s up to 290 pounds, and while still a little undersized for the position, Navarre makes up for it with leverage and technique. If he’s as good as Ralph Friedgen says he is, it will be fair to wonder why he played on the outside for three years.

SECONDARY CONCERNS

Three starting defensive backs are gone, but the Terps’ secondary might be improved anyway. Senior Kevin Barnes returns at cornerback, and both Nolan Carroll and Anthony Wiseman have earned raves during camp. Jeff Allen and Terrell Skinner are the likely starters at safety, and they help give Maryland perhaps its largest defensive backfield in recent years.

A NEW VOICE

Finally, an assistant who can actually drown out the “requests” of defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo. It’s tough to miss new offensive coordinator James Franklin at practice, from his frenetic scampering to his loud instruction. He has Friedgen’s obsession for detail, as well as some fresh ideas for maximizing Maryland’s offense. If nothing else, he will reinvigorate a unit that had grown stale in recent years.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Maryland could be the wild card team of the ACC. If things fall right - as they did in 2006 - the Terps could be in the conference title hunt deep into November. If everything goes poorly (like last year), it could be a mad scramble just to make a bowl game. And if everything evens out and the Terps have a normal year, they will win seven or eight games and head to a mid-level bowl.

— Patrick Stevens

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