- Heather Dinich, College Football Reporter
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2012 record: 4-8
2012 conference record: 2-6 (fifth place in Atlantic Division)
Returning starters: Offense: 7; Defense: 5; kicker/punter: 2
2012 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Ross* (390 yards)
Passing: Perry Hills* (1, 336)
Receiving: Diggs* (848)
Tackles: Hartsfield/Farrand* (78)
Sacks: Vellano/Drakeford (6)
1. The running game is improving. The Terps’ running backs were a highlight this spring, as Ross, Albert Reid and Joe Riddle each had their moments -- and that was without Wes Brown, who sat out this spring with injuries. Coach Randy Edsall said one of the biggest differences was the increased competition among the group. It was a welcome change, as the running game ranked No. 112 in the country at 103 yards per game last year.
2. Healthy quarterbacks. Finally, the Terps have healed. C.J. Brown, Hills and Caleb Rowe, each who missed all or part of last season with a torn ACL, are expected to be cleared to participate in fall camp. Brown was back atop the post-spring depth chart, and former fifth-string quarterback, Shawn Petty, is back at his original position of linebacker.
3. The receivers should be a strength. Diggs is back, and he should again be one of the best players in the ACC this year, but it’s not a one-man show. The Terps are loaded at receiver with Diggs, Deon Long, Nigel King, Marcus Leak and others. Long is facing high expectations after his record-setting junior college season at Iowa Western, and Diggs is coming off an impressive performance as a true freshman in which he made a push for ACC Rookie of the Year.
1. Rusty quarterbacks. Not only has Brown not played since 2011, but he has yet to be a full-time starter. That season, he was in the midst of a quarterback controversy with Danny O’Brien, who later transferred to Wisconsin. Brown has proven he can run, but will he have the arm strength and accuracy to make use of all of the talent at wide receiver? And will he have the time to throw it?
2. The offensive line. The Terps have three returning starters in Mike Madaras, De’Onte Arnett and Sal Conaboy, but Edsall said finding an eight- to 10-man rotation remains a priority heading into the summer. Maryland also still needs to replace Bennett Fulper and Justin Gilbert, who combined for 36 career starts, and the group's depth is a concern.
3. New faces on defense. Maryland has to replace six starters on defense, but it’s not just their playmaking abilities that will be missed, it’s also the leadership of guys like A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano, who became the faces of the program. There is only one returning starter on the defensive line, but the group did find some depth with Andre Monroe and Roman Braglio locking up the No. 2 spots at defensive end.
2012 record: 4-82012 conference record: 2-6 (fifth place in Atlantic Division)Returning starters: Offense: 7; Defense: 5; kicker/punter: 2Top returners:QB C.