Thursday, March 31, 2005

Football Outlook

The spring game is about a month away so it isn't too early to examine the state of the football team for the 2005 season. I'll spread the analysis out since this is usually a dead period for most college sports. The official outlook from Maryland's website had some interesting news in it.

  • Tim Cesa will be tried out at fullback this spring due to a lack of depth and glut of it at his normal linebacker position. The door was left open for him to return to the defensive side of the ball. If Dave Navarre, a 2005 signee who graduated early and joined the team in the spring, looks good at the FB position my guess is Cesa will be moved back to LB.
  • Dane Randolph has been moved to offensive tackle as a backup to senior starter Stephon Heyer at LT. Unless Randolph has put on 30 lbs in the offseason this move doesn't make much sense. At his listed 6-5 240lbs he is far too light to ever play OT. While it is true that he played at guard while in high school this seems like a desperation move by Friedgen. One of the big problems the last two seasons has been depth on the offensive line and that likely won't change again this season.
  • Look for Jamie Thomas to beat out sophomore Donnie Woods for LG.
  • Scott Burley will also give Brandon Nixon a serious challenge at the RT position.

This team starts practice on Saturday and there are many unknowns heading into the fall. The quaterback position is a mess with Jordan Steffy being the early favorite among the returning players. The other offensive skill positions are also unknowns. With Josh Allen's devastating knee injury sidelining him at least another year the position is wide open and no clear favorite has yet emerged. Talented freshman Morgan Green may get a long look when he shows up in August if the staff isn't wowed by the spring practices. The wideout position is very thin, with only 5 scholarship players on the roster as of spring practices. Besides the dynamic Vernon Davis who will play multiple receiver positions there are no game breaking talents. The staff is likely relying on at least one true freshman to step up in August and be a solid backup if not starter. Darrius Heyward-Bey or Isaiah Williams are the two most likely candidates to earn significant playing time. Sophomore Drew Weatherly also played a bigger role as the season wore on and is a big and physical wideout, though he lacks break away speed. He could supplant one of the two returning senior starters.

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