Tuesday, September 01, 2009

University of Maryland: Cal vs. Maryland Preview

(Thanks to Rich K. for forwarding this)


Maryland (0-0, 0-0 ACC)


No. 12 California (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10)

Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET

Location: Berkeley, Calif.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium (71,799)

TV: ESPN2 - Terry Gannon (play-by-play) and David Norrie (color) will call the action in the national broadcast. Comcast SportsNet will air a replay in the Washington, D.C./Balimore market at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Terps on the Air...

Maryland's football broadcasting lineup for 2009-10 includes the Ralph Friedgen Radio Show and the Ralph Friedgen Television Show. The Ralph Friedgen Radio Show airs from 8-9 p.m. each Wednesday during the season on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network (see adjoining chart for affiliates) which has 13 affiliates this season. The Ralph Friedgen Television Show, which is presented by Outback Steakhouse, airs weekly at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. The fast-paced, 30-minute show goes behind the scenes with Friedgen and the Maryland football team. Replays of the show are scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday on Comcast SportsNet, just prior to the rebroadcast of the Terps most recent football game. Comcast SportsNet will carry the official rebroadcasts of all 12 University of Maryland football matchups.


• The University of Maryland, under the direction of ninth-year head coach Ralph Friedgen, opens football season No. 117 Saturday when it hits the road to face 12th-ranked California, a contest that closes out a two-game series with the Golden Bears. The Terps upended the 23rd-ranked Bears, 35-27, last season in College Park, the first-ever meeting between the teams. Saturday's game will be telecast nationally on ESPN2 and broadcast on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will show a replay of the game at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

• Senior quarterback Chris Turner, junior running back Da'Rel Scott and wide receivers Adrian Cannon and Torrey Smith are among those who headline what could be one of the most explosive offenses in the ACC under second-year coordinator James Franklin. Scott, a 2008 first-team All-ACC choice, rushed for 1,133 yards, the seventh-highest single-season total in school history, while Smith, just a sophomore, set the ACC single-season record for kickoff return yards (1,089) and had 24 receptions for 336 yards. Cannon, a junior, has the ability to make a big play and continued his strong off-season work in preseason camp. Senior Phil Costa, who has started 18 career games, will anchor the offensive line. Costa took over the center position this spring after spending most of his career at guard. Junior Bruce Campbell, one of the most physically gifted lineman in the country, will handle the full-time duties at left tackle. In addition, the always-reliable Cory Jackson returns as the starting fullback, ready to open holes for Scott, Davin Meggett, Gary Douglas and Morgan Green. Meggett was a pleasant surprise last season as a true freshman, gaining 457 yards on the ground. The wide-receiving corps is extremely deep, with the possibility of nine wideouts seeing time. Others vying for snaps include juniors Emani Lee-Odai and LaQuan Williams, sophomores Ronnie Tyler, Tony Logan and Quintin McCree, and freshmen Kerry Boykins and Kevin Dorsey.

• Junior linebacker Alex Wujciak, a second-team All-ACC selection last season, headlines the defense which welcomes new coordinator Don Brown, who has implemented an attacking-style defense. Wujciak ranked second in the conference in tackles (133) last season and is fifth nationally among returning tacklers. Seniors Anthony Wiseman, Nolan Carroll, Terrell Skinner and Jamari McCollough each played significant roles last season and give Brown leadership in the secondary. Skinner is the second-leading returning tackler, having registered 63 stops last season and McCollough had a team-high four picks. Carroll has also emerged as the No. 1 cornerback with his big frame fitting into Brown's system. Sophomore Kenny Tate was one of the the most impressive defenders in the preseason and should provide a boost in the secondary. Senior Travis Ivey is expected to spearhead the line along with Jared Harrell. Ivey, who battled injuries last season, is an imposing figure in the interior of the line, while Harrell should give the Terps a pass-rushing presence at end. Junior Adrian Moten is expected to start at Will linebacker for the first time in his career. Moten has been one of the top playmakers over the last two years, notching seven sacks in mostly a reserve role. He was also just selected one of four captains, the lone junior among the group.

• Special teams, under the direction of first-year coordinator Charles Bankins, features a pair of preseason All-Americans in Smith and junior punter Travis Baltz. Smith capped off his redshirt freshman season by returning a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl. That return set the ACC single-season record for kickoff return yards. Baltz was a first-team All-ACC choice in 2008 after leading the league in punting average (41.1 ypp). He is a preaseason consensus first team All-ACC pick and is one of just nine punters on the watch list for the Ray Guy Award. The Terps do have a decision to make at place-kicker where redshirt freshman Mike Barbour and true freshman Nick Ferrara sit atop the depth chart. The two battled throughout preseason camp and a starter has not been named. Sophomore Tony Logan is expected to serve as the No. 1 punt returner, taking over for three-year starter Danny Oquendo. Logan did a solid job returning punts during the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.

Quick Hitters...

• Maryland is 71-43-2 (.620) all-time in season openers. The team is 6-2 in season openers under Friedgen, including wins in its last five. The Terps have not played a season opener on the road since 2003 when they visited Northern Illinois. Saturday marks the first time Maryland has opened the season on the road vs. a ranked team since 1992 (Penn State). In addition, Cal marks the highest-ranked team to face the Terps in an opener since 1982 (Penn State).

• Saturday's game will mark just the Terps second regular-season contest in the state of California. Sixth-ranked Maryland lost 12-7 at No. 4 UCLA in 1954. The Terps did play in the Bay Area two years, meeting up with Oregon State in the 2007 Emerald Bowl.

• Ralph Friedgen enters the season as the eighth-winningest coach (by percentage) in ACC history. He has a record of 64-36 (.640) in eight seasons. Maryland made its sixth postseason appearance in Friedgen's eight seasons in last year's Humanitarian Bowl. The 42-35 win over Nevada moved Friedgen's record to 4-2 in bowl games at Maryland.

• The Terps' 10 returning starters are the second-fewest in the Friedgen era. Heading into the 2004 season, Maryland had nine starters (five offense/four defense) back from the previous campaign.

• Chris Turner is on track to become the first three-year starting quarterback since Brian Cummings (1995-97). The senior ranks fourth on Maryland's career completion percentage list (59.7), seventh in career passing yards chart (4,474), seventh in total offense (4,295), fifth in completions (367), sixth in career pass attempts (615) and tied for 11th in TD passes (20). Turner needs 87 yards to leap Dan Henning (1985-87) for sixth place on the career passing yards list.

• Turner is the lone member of the Maryland travel roster to hail from the state of California. The senior is from Simi Valley, a town north of Los Angeles.

• Junior Da'Rel Scott ranks 22nd in school history in career rushing yards (1,268). His five career 100-yard rushing games are tied for 10th in school history. Scott needs 734 rushing yards this season to become the 10th back in school history to reach 2,000 yards.

• Sophomore Torrey Smith averaged a school record 21.3 yards each time he touched the the ball last season (1,425 yards/67 attempts). After posting an ACC single-season record 1,089 kickoff return yards as a redshirt freshman last season, Smith ranks fifth in school history in career return kickoff yards.

• With its win over Nevada in the 2008 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Maryland earned the 600th win in its football program's history. In 116 seasons of football, the team stands 600-521-43 (.535).

Tough on the Top 25...

Maryland was has been tough on the Top 25 over the last two seasons, boasting a 6-2 mark. In fact, the Terps were among the best in the nation last season playing ranked opponents. The Terps went 4-1 vs. ranked foes (AP poll) with wins vs. No. 23 Cal, No. 20 Clemson, No. 21 Wake Forest and No. 17 UNC. The Terps were one of only five teams in the nation (also Florida, Oklahoma, USC and Texas) to beat at least four Top 25 teams. The other four all finished in the top five of the final polls. Maryland went 2-1 vs. the Top 25 in 2007 with wins over No. 10 Rutgers and No. 8 BC and a loss to No. 4 West Virginia.

Not Lacking for Talent...

At first glance, the Maryland coaching staff looks to have a daunting task heading into the 2009 season as 30 seniors are gone from last year's team, including 23 players who started at least one time in their careers. The Terrapins do return a number of talented individuals with 38 letterwinners, including 10 starters (six offense/four defense) and two special teams standouts, back from last year's squad which advanced to the team's sixth bowl game (Humanitarian Bowl) in the last eight years. Fortunately, the Terps have a standout at quarterback in two-year starter Chris Turner, a gifted group of skill position players and some veterans on defense. The Terps also signed a recruiting class which was ranked as high as No. 26 in the country. A handful of those true freshmen may also see time this fall.

Cool Under Center...

Senior Chris Turner has been the Terps starter the last two seasons, though this will be his first year under center in the season opener. Turner has made the most of his opportunities the last two years, leading the Terps to a pair of bowl appearances and six wins in seven appearances (5-1 as starter) vs. ranked teams (AP poll). He also directed three fourth-quarter game-winning drives last season. Turner seems to even have taken a step further this year as head coach Ralph Friedgen praised him throughout preseason camp for not only his improved play, but also his leadership. His teammates agreed as he is one of four elected team captains.

• Turner has started under center for wins over No. 20 Clemson, No. 23 Cal, No. 21 Wake Forest and No. 17 North Carolina in 2008 and a vicotry over No. 8 Boston College in 2007. He also played an integral role in another such game (win over No. 10 Rutgers in 2007) during Maryland's winning streak against ranked foes which was snapped at six with last season's loss to Boston College.

• Turner has been on target vs. ranked foes. In seven games vs. the Top 25, Turner has completed 143 of 225 passes (63.6 percent) for 1,636 yards with nine TDs and two interceptions.

Maryland and The Pac-10...

Maryland and California are facing each other for just the second time. In fact, the Terps have only played four Pac-10 schools, with a pair of those meetings coming in the last two years. Maryland played UCLA twice, losing 12-7 on the road in 1954 and winning 7-0 the following year in College Park. The Terps fell to Washington 21-20 in the 1982 Aloha Bowl and dropped the 2007 Emerald Bowl to Oregon State, 21-14. UCLA was the only West Coast team to ever visit College Park until last season when California made the cross-country trek.

Maryland-California Ties...

• The Terps have two players on their roster from the state of California. Quarterback Chris Turner (Simi Valley) and LB Stephen Hargett (Los Angeles).

• Cal head coach Jeff Tedford and Maryland wide receivers coach Lee Hull were in the CFL at the same time. Tedford was an offensive assistant for the Calgary Stampeders from 1989-1991, while Hull was a wide receiver for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1990-92.

• Hull and fellow Maryland assistant coach Tom Brattan have both spent time in the Pac-10 Conference. Hull was the wide receivers coach at Oregon State from 2003-07, while Brattan was the offensive line coach at Stanford from 1999-00.

• The Terps have a number of former players on West Coast teams. Vernon Davis and Shaun Hill are members of the San Fransico 49ers, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jon Condo play for the Oakland Raiders, Shawne Merriman is a member of the San Diego Chargers, and Josh Wilson and Dave Philistin are on the Seattle Seahawks roster. Head coach Ralph Friedgen also spent five seasons (1992-96) as a Chargers assistant.

Offense Returns Plenty of Skill...

Despite losing a first-round NFL draft choice in Darrius Heyward-Bey and returning just six starters on offense, Maryland has many of its skilled players back in the fold:

• Junior RB Da'Rel Scott is coming off a year in which he was named first-team All-ACC and MVP of the Humanitarian Bowl. He capped his sophomore campaign by rushing for a Maryland bowl-record 174 yards (all in the second half) on 14 carries (12.4 ypc) vs. Nevada. With that performance, Scott became the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the first since Chris Downs in 2002. Scott's performance marked his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season, which ties for the fourth-most in a single season by a Terp. Scott finished the season with 1,133 rushing yards - the seventh-highest single-season total all-time at Maryland - and a team-best eight touchdowns.

• Sophomore Torrey Smith emerged as a receiving threat midway through last season. As well as setting the ACC single-season record for kickoff return yards (1,089), Smith finished the year with 24 receptions for 336 yards. Both of those totals are tops among returning players.

• Junior Adrian Cannon appears to have emerged as a prime receving threat. Cannon demonstrated his explosiveness in last year's bowl game, scoring on a 59-yard strike from Chris Turner on the third play of the game. Cannon also made a number of big plays in the preseason scrimmages.

• Sophomore Ronnie Tyler made a number of acrobatic catches last season and had a solid bowl game posting five receptions for 55 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown catch. Tyler may slide into the slot receiver spot occupied by Danny Oquendo the last three seasons, though redshirt freshman Kerry Boykins was impressive this spring in that role and LaQuan Williams is also expected to see time there after impressing in the preseason. After a solid 2007 season, Williams was hampered by a foot injury last season.

• Davin Meggett had a memorable true freshman season. Meggett was second on the team in rushing (457 yards) and rushing touchdowns (four). He helped spark wins vs. NC State and North Carolina. Meggett had a key 31-yard reception on third down to set up the game-winning field goal vs. NC State, and tallied a career-high 86 yards on 13 carries in the win over UNC. He was pushing Scott in the preseason for the No. 1 tailback spot.

• Sophomore wide receivers Tony Logan and Quintin McCree and redshirt freshman Kevin Dorsey were sharp in the spring. None of them have hauled in a pass in the regular season, but they are still battling for snaps.

Youth On the O-Line...

After losing five of his top seven performers from a year ago, offensive line coach Tom Brattan had a busy spring. Gone are three-year starting center Edwin Williams, two-year starting left guard Jaimie Thomas and two-year starting tackle Scott Burley. Jack Griffin and Dane Randolph also completed their eligibility. In all, those five players combined to start 115 games. LT Bruce Campbell and C Phil Costa return as starters. Campbell started the last six games at left tackle last season, while Costa has played at left and right guard in his career. Costa has take over as the starting center this year and is the leader of this group. The other three spots were up for grabs entering the preseason. Lamar Young and Andrew Gonnella have assumed the No. 1 spots at left and right guard, respectively, with junior Paul Pinegar, sliding into the right tackle role. R.J. Dill is likely to see time at right tackle with Pinegar, while true freshman Bennett Fulper, redshirt freshman Justin Lewis and sophomore Maurice Hampton are the primary backups at guard.

California At-A-Glance...

• No. 12 California enters the season opener with its second-highest ranking ever under head coach Jeff Tedford, who is in his eighth year. The only time the Golden Bears have been ranked higher in the preseason was in 2006, when they debuted at No. 9.

• Cal is coming off its sixth straight bowl appearance and fourth straight win, a 24-17 victory over Miami, Fla., in the Emerald Bowl.

• Cal returns eight defensive starters from a team that was ranked among the nation's best in many defensive categories last season. The Bears return all of their defensive line and secondary, but will have to replace three linebackers.

• LB Mike Mohamed is the team's leading-returning tackler, having racked up 87 stops (t-2nd on the team) as a reserve last season. The junior earned honorable mention All-Pac 10 honors despite starting just two games last season.

• In Jahvid Best, Cal features one of the top running backs in the country. He rushed for 1,580 yards last season and is the nation's leading-returning rusher.

• Junior QB Kevin Riley was named the starter after a three-way competition that also included Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney. Riley also won the job coming out of fall camp last season, but ended up giving way twice to senior Nate Longshore.

• After averaging 32.6 points per game in 2008, Cal has now averaged at least 30.0 points per game in six of the last seven seasons. The Bears have won 22 straight games when reaching the 30-point mark.

• Cal has been unbeaten at home in three of the past five seasons ('04, '06, '08), and has compiled a 27-4 record at Memorial Stadium during the span.

• Cal's special teams are highlighted by three preseason All-Americans in Syd'Quan Thompson, Jahvid Best and Bryan Anger. Thompson, a senior defensive back, will handle the punt return duties and ranked 21st nationally last season with 12.3 yards per return. Best led the Pac-10 with a 26.3 average on kick returns last year. Anger averaged 43.1 yards per punt in 2008 and had the three longest punts in the Pac-10 with boots of 76, 75 and 72 yards.

• Cal returns all four starters in its defensive backfield from last season. Along with Thompson, the Bears return safeties Marcus Ezeff and Brett Johnson, as well as junior cornerback Darian Hagan.

Tough Slate in `09...

Maryland's schedule is once again among the toughest in the nation, ranking 14th in the country. The Terrapins' 12 opponents posted a combined record of 92-64 (.590) last season. The Terps will face eight teams (California, Rutgers, Clemson, Wake Forest, NC State, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Boston College) in 2009 which played in bowl games last season and another (James Madison) which reached the FCS playoffs. Seven of those teams are either ranked or received votes in the preseason Associated Press poll.

Youth Served at Linebacker...

With the loss of Dave Philistin, Moise Fokou, Chase Bullock and Rick Costa, the Terps will have to replace a ton of experience at linebacker. That group combined to play in 144 games, including 54 starts. During spring practice, the Terps had just one linebacker - Adrian Moten - who has played in a game at that position. With Alex Wujciak and Ben Pooler missing the spring, the LB two-deep featured three freshmen (Demetrius Hartsfield, Darin Drakeford and Avery Murray), junior Drew Gloster, who moved from tight end, and special teams performer Hakeem Sule. Moten has played in 23 career games, earning his first start in the Humanitarian Bowl. Despite the youth, the linebacking corps may prove to be a strength. Drakeford and Murray are true freshmen who arrived in January and have found their way into the two-deep. Gloster looks like a capable backup for Wujciak, and Pooler and Sule could see action behind Harstfield, who was one of most impressive defenders in the preseason.

Senior Secondary...

The Maryland secondary looks like it may be the strength of the defense. The Terps lost starters Kevin Barnes and Jeff Allen, but they return six players, including four seniors, who saw plenty of action last season. CB Anthony Wiseman and FS Terrell Skinner are the returning starters, but Nolan Carroll, Kenny Tate, Jamari McCollough and Antwine Perez each played a number of snaps in 2008. Carroll, Skinner and Wiseman have combined to played in 95 career games, while McCollough, Perez and Tate played in all 13 games last season. Tate was one of the standouts of preseason camp, making plays daily in either practice or scrimmages. Cameron Chism, Trenton Hughes and Richard Taylor are the top backups at cornerback. Chism and Hughes played last season, though sparingly. Taylor is a sixth-year senior who has 23 games of playing experience. He gained a year of eligibility after suffering through two injury-plagued seasons.

Kicking Competition...

With the departure of two-year starter Obi Egekeze, the place-kicking job was fairly wide open entering the preseason. Redshirt freshman Mike Barbour was No. 1 heading into camp, but Nick Ferrara, a true freshman who joined the team in August, is also in the running for the job. They have gone back and forth during the preseason, with Barbour nearing locking up the job early in the second scrimmage before missing his final three attempts in a 4-for-7 day. Ferrara followed that up by hitting all three attempts (45, 48, 48) in Thursday's final scrimmage of the preseason. However, Barbour came back and nailed both of his attempts. In fact, they were his two longest field goals of the preseason, both coming from 46 yards out. Barbour was good on 13 of his 20 attempts in the preseason, while Ferrara went 6-for-6. Barbour and Ferrara, who were teammates at St. Anthony's High School in New York, currently share the No. 1 place-kicking duties, though head coach Ralph Friedgen will likely use Ferrara in a long field-goal situation due to the strength of his leg.

By The Numbers...

3...Number of punters (Brooks Barnard, Adam Podlesh and Travis Baltz) the Terps have employed in the last nine years.

3...Maryland has 38 players active in the NFL which is the third-highest total in the ACC. Miami has 54 and Florida State has 48 (source: ESPN.com, Aug. 10).

4...Number of seniors (Chris Turner, Phil Costa, Cory Jackson and Tommy Galt) on the offensive depth chart.

5...Despite serving as the kick returner for just one season, Torrey Smith ranks fifth on the Maryland career kickoff return yardage list (1,089).

5...Number of players (Edwin Williams, Jeremy Navarre, Jeff Allen, Anthony Wiseman and Alex Wujciak), who started all 13 games in 2008.

6...The Terps have had an All-ACC punter in six of the last seven seasons (Travis Baltz - 2008; Adam Podlesh - 2003-06; Brooks Barnard - 2002)

9...Number of 2008 postseason participants the Terps will face in the fall. Cal, James Madison, Rutgers, Clemson, Wake Forest, NC State, Virginia Tech, Florida State and BC all played in the postseason.

14...Number of seniors on this year's squad. Last season Maryland had 30 seniors, which was the most during the Ralph Friedgen era.

14...The Terps have placed a league-best 14 representatives on the Academic All-ACC team over the last two years. Clemson ranks second with 10, while Boston College, Duke and Georgia Tech have eight apiece.

26...The Terps' offensive line has a combined 26 career starts (Phil Costa - 18; Bruce Campbell - 8).

38...The Terps have 38 players active in the NFL and have had seven first-day picks in the last six NFL Drafts.

58...Among the 85 scholarship players, 58 of them have at least three years of eligibility remaining.

110...Four of Maryland's offensive linemen who departed (Edwin Williams, Jaimie Thomas, Scott Burley and Dane Randolph) combined to start 110 games in their careers.

111...The Terps have not had a punt blocked since Nov. 13, 1999 (Florida State), a stretch of 111 games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.

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