In 2010, the University of Maryland exceeded expectations, going an impressive 9-4. The Terps were expected to be led by Jamarr Robinson, but he was overtaken by Redshirt Freshman Danny O’Brien. The move turned out to be an incredibly savvy move by then-coach Ralph Friedgen, as O’Brien was named ACC Rookie of the Year.
Friedgen was promptly fired after a season in which he won 8 games and led his team to the Military Bowl. Friedgen took the Terps out of the tunnel for the final time at RFK Stadium vs. East Carolina, and led the Terps to a 51-20 over the Pirates. Immediately after the game, the coaching search began for Friedgen’s replacement. All signs pointed to former Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach, but word came out that no negotiations even took place, and AD Kevin Anderson hired Randy Edsall away from UConn.
Edsall takes over a team not short on talent. O’Brien is a great building block on offense, and what O’Brien is to the offense “Star” Linebacker Kenny Tate is to the defense. Tate is one of the most dynamic defensive players in the country, and will be counted on to lead the Terps defense under Edsall.
The Terps open up against a Miami team rife with scandal. Miami will have 8 players suspended for the game, including 7 starters. Maryland will be without two suspended players of their own – suspended for violating unspecified team rules. The two in question are backup RB D.J. Adams and reserve offensive lineman Cody Blue.
Miami was hit especially hard on the defensive side of the ball. The Canes will lose 3 of their starting defensive lineman (Oliver Vernon, Marcus Forston, and Adewale Ojomo), and potential All-American candidates in LB Sean Spence and S Ray-Ray Armstrong. Maryland’s offense should benefit greatly from these losses – that could be the understatement of the weekend. The losses along the defensive line and Spence should greatly help the Maryland running game, especially without the aforementioned Adams.
On offense Miami will lose their starting Quarterback Jacory Harris – although that may actually be a positive given his unstable nature – Wide Receiver Travis Benjamin and reserve Tight End Dyron Dye. Benjamin is the team’s top returning receiver and is also the main punt returner.
The suspensions completely shift the balance of this game. When lines opened for this game, Miami was a 5.5 point favorite. However, once the scandal was announced the game was pulled from most places, after the suspensions were handed out, Maryland was handed a 3.5-4 point favorite in most books. Quite the shift.
Both teams are talented, but Miami clearly has more talent on their sideline, even with the 8 players suspended. However, Maryland may have the two most talented players on the field Monday night in O’Brien and Tate.
At the end of the day, Maryland will be fired up under new coach Randy Edsall and the suspensions should affect Miami. Prediction: Maryland 31, Miami 21