RB Lance Ball

2005 Statistics

Coach: Ralph Friedgen
41-20, 5 years
2005 Record: 5-6
vs. Navy WON 23-20
at Wake Forest WON 22-12
at Temple WON 38-7
at Florida State LOST 27-35
at North Carolina WON 33-30 (OT)
at NC State LOST 14-20

2005 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2006 Outlook

Sorry to beat a dead turtle, but Coach Friedgen has been forced to completely abandon what made him so successful for so many years - running the option while throwing passes out of the same formations. The reason has to do with inept QB play, pure and simple. None of the available signal callers seems capable of making Friedgen’s system operate. The upcoming season is more about running the ball between the tackles to open up the pass. If the first part of this phase cannot be accomplished, this could be another season of discontent.

The defense is just good enough (though much better overall than a year ago) to keep this team in tight ball games. This team trying to play catch-up ball is not recommended. The main goal, simply, has to be to get six victories and make a bowl, which is something they have failed to do the past two falls after three straight 10-win seasons. Ergo, expectations have somewhat hurt this team's outlook - the time is now for people living inside the DC/Baltimore beltways to readjust/humble their thinking of what this team is capable of attaining. Then they can be ready for disappointment, and in turn be really happy when expectations are exceeded.

In a nutshell, Maryland has three sure home wins in September (Williams & Mary, Middle Tennessee, FIU). It doesn't take a calculus major to figure out the rest - all that is required then would be three more wins for UM to be bowl eligible. If this team cannot win three of their other nine games in this now 12-game season, the noose of the national media is going to tighten around this head coach that has no business being on a hot seat.

Although the home schedule might appear to be on the lighter side early, Byrd Stadium will be blessed with eventual visits from both in-conference Sunshine State schools (Miami and FSU). Sandwiched in between is a road trip to Death Valley (Clemson). As a whole, upwards of seven possible Top 25 teams dot the schedule. Getting those other three wins to become bowl eligible may not be as easy as it sounds. For a successful campaign, an upset or two will have to transpire.

This is still a young ball club, but such an excuse can only work for so long. More than a few breaks need to happen before thoughts of competing for an ACC Atlantic Division title can be a realistic goal. Is this a building year? In many ways, yes, especially when considering that only six to seven of the starters are seniors. One of them is QB Hollenbach, and he needs to start playing like an experienced upperclassman, or, again, “There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”

Projected 2006 record: 6-6
QB - 3 DL - 3
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 2 DB - 3
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Sam Hollenbach, 315-192-15, 2539 yds., 13 TD

Rushing: Lance Ball, 189 att., 903 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Lance Ball, 18 rec., 153 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Dan Ennis, 17-25 FG, 23-25 PAT, 74 pts.

Punting: Adam Podlesh, 44 punts, 43.6 avg.

Kicking: Dan Ennis, 17-25 FG, 23-25 PAT, 74 pts.

Tackles: Josh Wilson, 73 tot., 41 solo

Sacks: Conrad Bolston, 5 sacks

Christian Varner, 3 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Danny Oquendo, 3 ret., 11.7 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Josh Wilson, 2 ret., 3.0 avg., 0 TD


P Adam Podlesh
OFFENSE: Ricardo Dickerson-FB, Mario Merrills-TB, Derrick Fenner-WR, Jo Jo Walker-WR, Danny Melendez-WR, Derek Miller-TE, Ryan McDonald-C, Joel Statham-QB (transferred), Vernon Davis-TE (NFL)
DEFENSE: D'Qwell Jackson-MLB, William Kershaw-WLB, Gerrick McPhearson-CB, Milton Harris-SS

QB play has been the major con in the downfall of this offense. Joel Statham has transferred, so now senior Hollenbach has once again been penciled in as the starter (to the dismay of many fans). Sam has difficulties reading the field, making the right decisions, and he certainly lacks the ability to run the option that head coach Ralph Friedgen dearly loves. His 13 TDs to 15 INTs just won’t crack the crabs. And then a three-interception spring game (with one that went for a defensive TD) did not help his/other’s confidence level. The only competition comes from Jordan Steffy. The Pennsylvania promise has spent the last two seasons fighting through knee and throwing arm injuries, which led to a redshirt year in 2005. He has the better feet in terms of scrambling and running the option. However, expect sophomore Steffy to spend some time shaking off the rust, for he, too, seems somewhat unsure of himself in the pocket. The best of the bunch is Florida-transfer Josh Portis, but coaches will have to wait until 2007 for his services as he sits out due to NCAA transfer rules. Ergo, it's easy to see why Hollenbach remains the top dog.

Running Back
The theme for the upcoming fall will be to run first. Five quality RBs dot the roster making this the deepest set of backs in the ACC. Junior Lance Ball is the top gun after finishing strong last season (Second Team All-ACC). He has the combination of power, size and speed best suited for pounding the ball between the tackles. Josh Allen was gradually becoming a star after finishing as one of the team’s top two rushers in each of his first three seasons. A knee injury forced a redshirt in his true senior season of '05. The forecast is promising, but he has yet to see substantial contact during live situations since the injury. Keon Lattimore, brother of NFL star Ray Lewis, is yet another powerful carrier (the biggest of the bunch). This hulking junior has been relegated to a third option however, providing nothing more than depth. Throw in P.J. Humber, the best looking back this spring, along with highly touted recruit RB Morgan Green (a strong receiver out of the backfield), and it's easy to see why this group will be expected to “carry the load”. The FB job belongs to new starter Tim Cesa, who runs low and makes the right blocks, which is a key given the fact that it will be the bevy of TBs getting the handoffs.

The top three receivers from ’05 are history, and the Terps are left scrambling to uncover a “go to” guy of any sorts. The incumbents do show flashes of speed and athleticism, but are far too inexperienced yet to make such positives automatically work in their favor. Coaches have made their case public while logging a good many extra hours attempting to repair the leaks. Dropped passes and standing around when covered all seemed to be par this spring. The only veteran is senior Drew Weatherly, but he does not represent anything close to an All-Conference type. The Terps will occasionally utilize four-receiver sets, and thus, many of the players have been bouncing around from the "Z" to "slot" position in an attempt to find the right mix. Heading into the fall, every position is wide open. Heyward-Bey is the burner of the group and showed great promise last spring before redshirting. Danny Oquendo is the most advanced in terms of understanding the system, while Isaiah Williams is the best leaper. So far, a star is not available, and with the marginal QB situation, the youth available here isn’t likely to bail out the Terp’s passing dilemmas.

Tight End
Huge contributors Vernon Davis and Derek Miller have left the program. Filling the void must be accomplished by committee. Three are battling for playing time, and each brings different skills to the table. Both sophomore Dan Gronkowski and junior Joey Haynos are massive, 6'6 and 6'8 respectively, with Gronkowski being the primary blocker and Haynos being the better pass catcher. Look for junior Jason Goode to be more of the H-back of years past with his athletic skills. All three have limited real game reps under their belts. Blocking does not appear to be a problem, but the Terps will certainly miss the departed ones immensely. Incoming freshman Drew Gloster also figures to enter the mix with his size, athleticism and high school accolades (rated the No. 21 receiver in the nation by ESPN).

Offensive Line
Depth and able bodies both exist for this campaign. A pair of all-ACC tackles provides the best set of bookends in the conference. It starts with "soon to be" NFL star Jared Gaither, a 6’9, 330lb true sophomore who is now a second year starter and is as good as you will find. Jared is the best looking tackle (sure first round choice when he comes out) seen in these parts for quite some time. He was set to be the backup to All-American Candidate Stephon Heyer a year ago at this time before a season ending knee injury to Heyer forced Gaither into the lineup. Heyer now returns after a redshirt senior season and moves over to right tackle after starter Brandon Nixon was suspended indefinitely for a team rules violation. Guard Andrew Crummey has elevated his play to a new level, according to coaches, something much anticipated since his recruitment. Some minor spring injuries gave many of the newbies their chances to shine, and the results give this offense a solid two-deep up front, including last year's starting DT Jack Griffin who is now on this side of the ball. As already mentioned, this group sets up quite nicely the Terp’s "Run First" option.

Marginal QB play has changed what makes Ralph Friedgen the quality offensive coach people in the business have known him to be. His best offenses, going back to even his days as an assistant at Georgia Tech, employed multiple pro-option sets used to confuse defenses. He will line his guys up in the option formation, but then throw out of it...a very unique and difficult scenario to prepare for. But with the QB situation what it now is, Maryland has been forced to abandon the option almost completely. The Terp’s inexperienced receiver combination makes establishing their running game between the tackles imperative. The backs and lineman are more than capable of carrying this new system to winning levels, but the challenge will still be the fact that foes know all of this and will focus on stopping the run. A note of importance - offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe has left the program after being here since Friedgen arrived (five years), and as of June, a new coordinator was not yet hired, leaving some to believe that Friedgen will now take over (double duty) as a head coach slash offensive play-caller. This could be a golden situation, but, then again, the QBs’ lack of consistency tends to hand-tie anyone calling the shots.


OT Jared Gaither


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Sam Hollenbach-Sr (6-5, 218) Jordan Steffy-So (6-1, 222)
FB Tim Cesa-Jr (6-1, 243) Chris Gronkowski-Fr (6-1, 240)
TB Lance Ball-Jr (5-9, 225) Josh Allen-Sr (5-11, 205)
Keon Lattimore-Jr (6-0, 235)
WR Isaiah Williams-So (6-3, 200) Terrell Skinner-Fr (6-3, 190)
WR Drew Weatherly-Sr (6-4, 210) Derrius Heyward-Bey-Fr (6-3, 195)
WR Danny Oquendo-So (6-3, 175) Greg Powell-Sr (6-0, 188)
TE Dan Gronkowski-So (6-6, 262) Jason Goode-Jr (6-3, 231)
Joey Haynos-Jr (6-8, 260)
OT Jared Gaither-So (6-9, 330) Scott Burley-Jr (6-6, 316)
OG Donnie Woods-So (6-3, 291) Jaimie Thomas-So (6-4, 327)
Jack Griffin-Jr (6-7, 276)
C Edwin Williams-So (6-4, 317) Phil Costa-Fr (6-3, 280)
OG Andrew Crummey-Jr (6-5, 294) Garrick Clig-Jr (6-3, 298)
OT Stephon Heyer-Sr (6-7, 319) Brandon Nixon-Jr (6-6, 314)
K Dan Ennis-Sr (5-11, 154) Obi Egekeze-So (6-3, 205)


Defensive Line
The good news has been the return of nose tackle Robert Armstrong, who has been able to rediscover his abilities after back surgery put him on the shelf all of last season (many felt his playing days were over). His return has allowed senior Conrad Bolston, the top lineman, to move back to his former spot at tackle, and it also now gives the Terps something they lacked that absolutely killed them late in games...depth in the middle. Also making crucial improvements has been Jeremy Navarre at DE. The bad news...five-star recruit Melvin Alaeze still has not received the necessary test scores to enroll. His arrival has been put on hold for the second straight year and has created a void in terms of UM maintaining players capable of pressuring opposing QBs. Another player on the interior making moves has been Carlos Feliciano, who finished the spring as a co-starter. Given the resurgence of a few, the prospectus of this group looks leaps and bounds more positive than it did just one year ago (when they finished ranked 78th for run stopping) heading into August camp.

Yes, gone is the team's leading tackler for three years, D'Qwell Jackson. The new name called upon will be Wesley Jefferson as he moves over to the middle from the weak side. One of the most highly recruited players as a prep (nation’s No. 1 rated LB), Jefferson has yet to truly meet expectations due to sharing playing time with the immense talent this unit has maintained. The best of the group may be Erin Henderson (brother of former Butkus winner E.J., who is now a Minnesota Viking). Faster than his older brother, this sophomore turned some heads last spring with a show of great promise before a knee injury forced him out. His backup, Moises Fokou, a surprise transfer from nearby Division III Frostburg State, ended the spring game this year as the top tackler. The SAM position has the most experience with senior David Holloway, who is now 12 pounds heavier (and stronger) and could be seen making plays all spring. The scheme continues to use a position called LEO, which is really a cross between a DE and a LB. Sophomore Trey Covington remains the starter here, but keep an eye on rising redshirt freshman Barrod Heggs, who during the spring game helped aid a poverty stricken QB rush. This young corps has the girth and grit to improve the run defense.

Defensive Back
Finishing with the nation's No. 19 pass defense last year was more a case of opponents successfully ramming the ball down the field via the ground game. Nonetheless, the prospects in this secondary are a tad better than those on the average ACC team. The standout is senior, Josh Wilson at CB. His athletic ability affords him the luxury of natural cover skills that bail him out in troublesome situations. He has spent the off-season working on better techniques. The end result will likely be a case for post-season All-Conference considerations. The next best in line is heavy hitting (and interception leader) FS Christian Varner. Outside of these two, up to ten players could be vying for one of the other two starting positions. Isaiah Gardner is not where he needs to be yet, and a groin injury has slowed his progress. He is still being counted on (for now) to fill the other CB spot, but the Virginia Beach-native is being pushed by soph speedster Richard Taylor, who is also not quite ready for the limelight in his second season. The key could be the emergence of former 2000 Washington Post prep Player of the Year Marcus Wimbush – the senior’s career, up until now, has mostly been a battle with the injury bug. This unit needs to find the right combination of guys and gel quickly for it to repeat last year’s showing.

A repeat of opponents running the ball down the throat of the interior late in games is likely a thing of the past as the DL finally is capable of going two-deep. Main concerns entail the lack of a top-notch pass rusher as well as a second lockdown corner. The LBs are the strength of this unit despite the departure of tackling machine D'Qwell Jackson. The unit is extremely athletic, quick to the ball, and carries a nice list of high school accolades. They will need to strengthen their run stopping abilities before being labeled one of the better ACC units. But the entire defense being on the field too long given the ineptitude of the offense could still be an issue, though this group seems better suited to handle another such occurrence given the depth of all the capable bodies.


DT Conrad Bolston


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Jeremy Navarre-So (6-4, 250) Mack Frost-So (6-5, 264)
Omarr Savage-Jr (6-5, 262)
NT Rob Armstrong-Jr (6-4, 307) Carlos Feliciano-Jr (6-5, 298)
DT Conrad Bolston-Sr (6-3, 285) Dre Moore-Jr (6-4, 298)
LEO Trey Covington-So (6-3, 241) Jermaine Lemons-Jr (6-3, 250)
SLB David Holloway-Sr (6-2, 220) Dave Philistin-So (6-2, 218)
MLB Wesley Jefferson-Jr (6-1, 236) Chase Bullock-So (6-2, 237)
WLB Erin Henderson-So (6-3, 233) Moises Fokou-Jr (6-3, 215)
CB Isaiah Gardner-Jr (5-11, 194) Richard Taylor-So (5-10, 189)
CB Josh Wilson-Sr (5-10, 182) Kevin Barnes-So (6-1, 179)
SS Marcus Wimbush-Sr (5-11, 205) Jeff Allen-So (6-1, 190)
FS Christian Varner-Jr (5-11, 195) J.J. Justice-Jr (6-2, 217)
P Adam Podlesh-Sr (6-0, 192) ..




Walk-on Dan Ennis made his first 11 kicks last campaign before entering a nightmare of an up-and-down streak (finished 6-for-14). He struggled especially from the crucial plus-40 yard range (only 3-for-8), and his short game also became erratic. Once again, he will be pushed by big man (6'3, 205) Obi Egekeze. The major inconsistencies of Ennis will force a battle into late August. The stronger-legged Egekeze will also battle walk-on Chris Roberts for kick-off duties.

Adam Podlesh, need we say more? The three-time Ray Guy Award semifinalist is now in his fourth year as the Terp punter. He could use a little more work on his hang-time, but expect Podlesh to push for most of the national punting post-season awards yet again. Coverage needs some attention after allowing foes 12+ yards per return (one went to the house), making the hangtime issue a pivotal one for overall net improvements.

Return Game
Much like the kickers, question marks abound at both return spots. Since Steve Suter left two years ago, the Terps have failed to field a body that puts a scare into opponents. Last year’s main guy (Jo Jo Walker) is gone, so coaches have experimented with upwards of eight different guys in an effort to find the right ones. Most have struggled with basics such as catching the ball, and none appears to have the breakaway speed. The race will continue not just into August, but also likely into mid-October, as real game reps will tell all. Expect to see several numbers be shuffled until all get their chance so the staff can decide.