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Summer checklist: Maryland Terrapins

7/7/2015

The dog days of July are here. Spring practice is nearly three months in the rear view, and the open of preseason camps nationally arrives in less than a month. This week, we’re looking ahead to August to identify two key areas in which each Big Ten team must make strides over these final weeks of the offseason.

Next up: Maryland

No more surprises at WR; Jacobs Bros. need to put in the work: Even the most optimistic Maryland fan can't be happy with all that's happened at wideout. First, Stefon Diggs left early for the NFL. Then running back/slot receiver Jacquille Veii transferred. Marcus Leak left soon after for "personal reasons." And Juwann Winfree was indefinitely suspended just last month before he withdrew from school. The Terps started with a lot of depth here but, as it stands, they now need to work on staying healthy. That's where the Jacobs brothers, Levern and Taivon, come in. They're more valuable than ever now, and they need to spend this offseason fine-tuning their respective skills and shaking off any remaining rust. Levern spent 2014 on the scout team as Maryland looked into assault charges -- he was eventually found not guilty -- and Taivon played in just one game last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury. These two could still form a solid one-two, but there's not a lot of room for error.

Continue to adjust to the 4-3: The Terrapins were undersized last season, and that didn't do them any favors in the Big Ten. The defense allowed at least 30 points in seven games and ranked No. 101 nationally in rush defense (201.6 ypg). To help fix those issues, Randy Edsall hired a new defensive coordinator in Keith Dudzinski last February. He's focused a lot on quickness and, by bumping Yannick Ngakoue and Jesse Aniebonam down to the line, he should certainly get that. Dudzinski knows there's still "a little bit of a learning curve" here so the sooner everyone gets on the same page, the better off the defense will be. It's all about focusing on that transition.