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The 2009 Maryland Terrapins football team represented the University of Marylandmarker during its 57th season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terrapins played in the Atlantic Division of the conference, and competed against all five divisional opponents, two Coastal Division opponents on a rotational basis, and one permanent cross-divisional rival: Virginia. The rotating Coastal Division opponents were Virginia Tech and Duke. In 2009, Maryland played its second game of the home-to-home series against California, this year in Berkeleymarker. The Terrapins finished the season 2-10, 1-7 in a conference played and failed to qualify for a bowl game.

Before the season

Coaching Changes

Head coach-in-waiting

On February 6, 2009, offensive coordinator James Franklin was officially named the head coach-in-waiting to succeed Ralph Friedgen. The 61-year old Friedgen still has three years left on his current contract. ESPN described the move as an effort to ensure Franklin, considered a top recruiter who has had other coaching opportunities, remains with Maryland.

Defensive coordinator

Upon the conclusion of the 2008 regular season, defensive coordinator Chris Cosh announced his resignation. Cosh returned to Kansas State as defensive coordinator and assistant coach to the recently re-hired Bill Snyder, who had been head coach from 1996 to 2005. Cosh previously served under Snyder as linebackers coach from 2004 to 2005.

Outside linebackers coach Al Seamonson assumed interim defensive coordinator duties for the last game of the 2008 season, the Humanitarian Bowl, and was considered in the running for the job full-time. Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen also contacted Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green in order to gauge his interest for the position, but he declined in order to remain at Annapolis. South Carolina secondary coach was also considered, but declined in order to take a job at the same position at LSU with a $300,000 salary.

On January 9, 2009, it was announced that Massachusetts head coach Don Brown had been hired as the new defensive coordinator. Brown had served as head coach for UMass from 2004 to 2008, posting the best five-year record in school history, 43–19. His teams were ranked amongst the top-20 defenses in the nation three times: third in 2005, 20th in 2006, and 14th in 2007. The UMass scoring defense was ranked first in 2005 and fifth in 2006. Brown also has prior experience as a head coach at Northeastern and Plymouth State and 11 years as a defensive coordinator. In a move to address criticisms of former coordinator Chris Cosh's defensive system which had been characterized as overly cautious, Ralph Friedgen said about Brown:
"He's going to be aggressive.
He has a very aggressive philosophy, and he plays a different style defense than the norm.
He's been successful against a lot of the new offenses that we're seeing, like the spread.
He played against Navy and Georgia Southern, so he's faced a lot of the different styles we see, but he has a little different approach to it."

Other coaching positions

For 2009, new defensive coordinator Don Brown will also oversee the cornerbacks, a role held in the previous season by secondary coach Kevin Lempa. Lempa will now coach only the safeties. Former inside linebackers coach Al Seamonson expanded his role to take over the entire linebacker corps. Friedgen expressed a strong desire to retain Seamonson, who lost out on the race for the defensive coordinator job. Seamonson, as interim defensive coordinator, helped coach Maryland to a 42–35 victory in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl.

Maryland also lost special teams and tight ends coach, Danny Pearman, to Clemson at the end of the 2008 season. Shortly after being selected as Tommy Bowden's permanent replacement, head coach Dabo Swinney hired Clemson alum Pearman. Pearman played at Clemson as a tight end (1984–1987) and coached special teams and offensive and defensive tackles while at Alabama (1990–1997). Swinney himself played at Alabama during that period as a wide receiver.

Key Losses

Prior to the 2009 season, Maryland lost a significant amount of experience due to graduation. Thirty seniors, the largest class of Friedgen's tenure, graduated after the 2008 season or otherwise concluded their eligibility. Additionally, the team lost the previous season's receiving leader and feature wide receiver to the NFL Draft. Starting Z-receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey announced that he would forgo his senior year in order to enter the 2009 NFL Draft on January 7, 2009. In just three years, Heyward-Bey had achieved the number-two spot for Maryland career receiving yards (2,089), behind only Jermaine Lewis. It had been widely speculated throughout the 2008 season that the junior would likely leave for the draft, and, College Football News, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN projected him as an early entrant and first-round selection. He was ultimately chosen as the seventh overall pick.

Mobile quarterback Josh Portis transferred to the Division II school California University of Pennsylvania for his last year of eligibility. He had been highly anticipated as a Florida transfer and a dual-threat quarterback, but had seen little action in eight games, almost exclusively put in for one option run at a time. Portis recorded one completion on three pass attempts, 31 rushing attempts for 186 yards and one touchdown. He saw a decrease in game action after the North Carolina game, where he participated in three plays including an incomplete pass to a wide open Darrius Heyward-Bey for a probable touchdown and a fumble on an option run.

In February 2009, wide receiver LaQuan Williams became academically ineligible and was dismissed from the team. Friedgen said that Williams could possibly return for the fall. Williams was injured throughout the 2008 season, but recorded a strong 2007 campaign including a crucial reception in the upset win over 10th-ranked Rutgers.

The following are some of the key players who will no longer play for Maryland in the 2009 season:



Special Teams:
  • Obi Egekeze (K)

† – Heyward-Bey entered the NFL Draft a year early

‡ – Portis transferred to California University of Pennsylvania

Key Returns

Maryland will enter the 2009 season with just nine returning starters, the fewest in the ACC, and 56% of its lettermen from the prior year, the lowest of any team other than the service academies. The defensive and offensive lines suffered significant attrition, but the Terrapins are considered deep at the skill positions. Senior quarterback Chris Turner was called a "big-game performer [with] a chance to leave an imprint on the school record books." Maryland will also return its three top running backs from 2008: Da'Rel Scott, Davin Meggett, and Morgan Green. Despite the loss of Heyward-Bey, the Terrapins retain a great deal of athleticism at the wide receiver position with Torrey Smith, and Ronnie Tyler should replace Danny Oquendo as a reliable third-down option. In total, Maryland entered the season with ten potential starters at wide receiver.

  • Phil Costa (C), most experienced returning lineman
  • Da'Rel Scott (RB), returning leader in rushing yards (959)
  • Torrey Smith (WR), returning leader in receiving yards (303)
  • Chris Turner (QB), returning leader in passing yards (2,318)

  • Jamari McCollough (DB), returning leader in interceptions (4)
  • Alex Wujciak (ILB), second-leading ACC tackler in 2008 (133)

Special Teams:
  • Travis Baltz (P)
  • Torrey Smith (WR/RS), ACC record for kick return yards (1,089)

Recruiting rated Maryland's 2009 recruiting class as 25th in the nation. ranked the class as 26th in the nation. Maryland secured several highly-touted recruits. Scout or four-star prospects included running backs Caleb Porzel and D.J. Adams, defensive lineman De'Onte Arnett, defensive back Travis Hawkins, and offensive lineman Pete White. The class also included eight linebackers, a position which Maryland had heavily recruited in order to backfill graduated players. Offensive tackle Nick Klemm had originally planned to go to Boston College, but de-committed to sign with the Terrapins after Eagles' head coach Jeff Jagodzinski was fired.

Maryland showed a strong interest in Porzel's Good Counsel classmate Jelani Jenkins, the number-one ranked prospective linebacker in the nation. Jenkins narrowed his possible school selection to a field of fifteen including Maryland, before ultimately signing with Florida. Tavon Austin, a four-star running back from Baltimoremarker, committed to West Virginia despite strong interest from Maryland. On 2 February 2009, three-star offensive tackle Ryan Schlieper de-committed from Maryland and signed with Pittsburgh.

On National Signing Day, the Terps secured thirteen recruits from Maryland and Washington, D.C. Four of the top-ten prospects in the state signed with Maryland. ESPN graded the class as a "B−", with the main criticism being that "too much good in-state talent has slipped away." It also cited a failure to land a highly-rated quarterback. During the signing day news conference, Friedgen stated:
"We are very happy with this class.
It is a large recruiting class.
I feel that it met a lot of our needs.
We lost a lot of [linebackers, offensive lineman, and defensive lineman last year].
We were able to fill those needs with this class of players.
I think that if you were to describe this recruiting class, they are a big, athletic bunch of athletes who can run and hit.
They are also good students.
I am really putting an emphasis on guys who can be successful in life, and who have goals that they want to achieve ...
We have 15 local-area players.
There are some others that we would have liked to have, but you are never going to get all of them.
We put a lot of stock in trying to recruit the local-area kids."


In the preseason, the Terrapins were predicted to finish last (sixth) in the ACC Atlantic Division by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele's, and The Sporting News forecast a fifth-place divisional finish for the Terps. Athlon also ranked Maryland as 57th out of the 120 Division I FBS teams.

Maryland will begin the 2009 season with the second game of the home-and-home series at California. In Week 2, they face , which in 2008 advanced to the Division I FCS semi-finals. Two more home games, a rematch from 2008 against Middle Tennessee and a game against Rutgers, round out Maryland's non-conference schedule.


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