Maryland At A Glance

Maryland

September 03, 2004

Coach: Ralph Friedgen (fourth season)

Last year: 10-3 (6-2)

Conference: Division I-A Atlantic Coast

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

Stadium: Byrd (51,500)

Offense: Multiple

Defense: Multiple

Top returning players: CB Domonique Foxworth, RB Josh Allen, OL C.J. Brooks, K Nick Novak, LB D'Qwell Jackson, LB Shawne Merriman, QB Joel Statham, WR-KR Steve Suter

Top newcomers: QB Jordan Steffy, RB Keon Lattimore, LB Eric Lenz, LB Wesley Jefferson

Strengths: Maryland is probably the fastest and most athletic it has been since Friedgen arrived in 2001. Jackson, the Terps' middle linebacker, is one of the best players in the conference, and he's only getting better. Foxworth is an emotional leader and a shutdown corner. With Novak, Suter and punter Adam Podlesh, Maryland might have the best special teams in the conference.

Weaknesses: Inexperience is a major concern, especially at quarterback. Nearly the entirety of sophomore Joel Statham's game experience consists of part of one game last season against Georgia Tech. Maryland is also replacing three of four starters in the defensive secondary, and might start two freshmen on its defensive line.

Strongest opponent: Florida State. The Terps still haven't figured out a way to beat the Seminoles. Maryland is 0-12 against the Seminoles since they joined the ACC in 1992.

Key game: West Virginia. For two straight years, Maryland has started slow and finished strong. If the Terps open the 2004 season with victories over Northern Illinois and Temple at home, they'll face a huge test in Morgantown against the Mountaineers. West Virginia is eager to salvage some pride after Maryland defeated the Mountaineers, 41-7, in the Gator Bowl with a quarterback (Scott McBrien) who coach Rich Rodriguez didn't even want in his program. - Kevin Van Valkenburg

Season opener

Opponent: Northern Illinois

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Tomorrow, 6 p.m.

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

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