Maryland Football 2014 – Better, Worse or about the Same?
Better. Maryland will have star wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long back and healthy (as well as a fully functional C.J. Brown at quarterback) and will be adding serious offensive weapons in wide receiver Marcus Leak (returning from a year off), running back Wes Brown (returning from a suspension) and incoming four-star wide receiver Juwann Winfree. The Terps can rival any team in the conference in terms of depth at the skill positions, and while there are major questions on the offensive line they brought in five recruits on the line, three of whom have a chance to start immediately — five-star offensive tackle Damian Prince, four-star offensive tackle Derwin Gray and JuCo behemoth tackle Larry Mazyck.
The defense will be about the same. Marcus Whitfield, Dexter McDougle and Isaac Goins are all gone, but Brian Stewart’s defense continues to improve and key contributors like William Likely, Andre Monroe and Cole Farrand return (as well as four-star incoming freshman Jesse Aniebonam). The 3-4 has really worked for Maryland, and while there are questions throughout, they have depth, experience and talent (not to mention a great scheme to work within).
Will Maryland be better, worse or about the same as last year?
Depends on your definition of better team. Will Maryland be better in 2014 than they were in 2013? Almost certainly. Will they have more wins? That’s uncertain. They’re a better squad, but they play a much tougher schedule. I’m going to predict a 7-5 regular season record, with Maryland winning one game in their brutal six game stretch (Ohio State, Iowa, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, Michigan State, at Michigan).
Pete Volk of the Maryland blog Testudo Times provided the information for our Maryland Football 2014 Spring Wrap Up. For more Terrapin football information, commentary and analysis, you can follow Pete on Twitter @Pete_Volk.
Southern Miss Football 2014 Spring Wrap Up
Strengths & Question Marks
The biggest thing I noticed pretty much throughout the spring was the team’s improvement on defense. Having redshirt senior Alan Howze back at linebacker and redshirt senior Jacorius Cotton back at safety, Southern Miss adds a ton of skill and experience to a unit that suffered from a lack of both throughout much of 2013.
Southern Miss will also be much improved at the offensive skill positions. The Golden Eagles must continue to improve along the offensive line. That position group looked better this spring than it did last fall, but there’s still work to be done.
Watch for D.J. Thompson to have a big year at wideout. He missed all of last season with a variety of nagging injuries. But he’s back, and showed this spring he’s capable of being Nick Mullens’ go-to guy.
Also, defensive lineman Dylan Bradley and running back George Payne have a lot of potential.
QB – B
RB – B
WRs – B
OL – C
DL – A-
LB – B+
Secondary – A-
STs – C
Given the team’s 1-11 overall record last season, it’d be difficult to be much worse. That being said, that’s not the reason the Golden Eagles will be a far better team than they were last season. It will be year two under head coach Todd Monken. On top of that, due to a variety of reasons, many youngsters got heaps of playing time last season – and they bring all of it back for 2014.
That being said, Southern Miss was ravaged by injuries last season. Will the team be able to avoid the same fate in 2014? Also, what will the offensive line look like this fall? A 4-8 record is probably most realistic, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they Golden Eagles finish 6-6.
Jason Munz of the Hattiesburg American provided the information for our Southern Miss Football 2014 Spring Wrap Up. For more USM football information, commentary and analysis, you can follow Jason on Twitter @munzly.