Sophomore wide receiver Marcus Leak thinks that will change this season.
“Look for us to put up better numbers than what we did last year,” Leak said. “We probably won't take as long to get going, we'll try to get a good number of yards on first and second down so we don't have to punt the ball or have long conversions on third down.”
Leak played in seven games last season, starting two of them, and finished with 12 receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown. He is battling redshirt freshmen Nigel King and Tyrek Cheeseboro for one of the starting receiver spots to start the season.
“It's always nice having a little experience going into the next season,” Leak said. “Some of our young guys don't know what it's like to play in the game. You kind of explain to them what's it's going to be like so they can prepare more and know what to expect coming into the season.”
Leak is also listed as a potential kick returner on special teams in the preseason. Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said that he will need to evaluate a lot of players, including some of the new freshmen, for the return man position, but Leak hopes that he will get a shot at the job.
“I would love to be on special teams,” said Leak. “I'll try to get out on as many special teams as I can to help my team win.”
The receiver position is one of the most crowded positions for the Terps and there are a lot of new faces including highly-recruited freshman Stefon Diggs from Our Lady of Good Counsel. Other true freshmen receivers include Levern Jacobs, who did not pass the team conditioning test Monday morning, Malcolm Culmer and Amba Etta-Tawo.
“We got a pretty good amount of receivers right now,” Leak said. “A lot of young guys are making great additions to our wide receiving corps. We're looking to take them up under our wing and just help them learn and we're going to push each other and get better every day in practice. Nothing's final as far as the depth chart so we're just working everyday, trying to be very efficient.”
The receiving corps will have certainty at the quarterback position to start the season with junior quarterback C.J. Brown being the starter after former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien transferred to Wisconsin in the spring. Brown made a name for himself last season by scrambling for 647 yards and five touchdowns, but his passing is an area of concern going into the season. Brown completed under 50 percent of his passes last season and threw for seven touchdowns and six interceptions. Regardless of last season's performance, Leak and his teammates have praised Brown on his development as both a passer and a leader during the offseason.
“He's getting a lot better,” Leak said. “Of course we know he can run the ball, we see him coming out and working every day on passing the ball, getting some time in with our players and working on accuracy like we did over the summer on seven-on-sevens. He's getting better.”
Leak is confident that the Terps will have a better performance in 2012 than their 2-10 season last fall and believes that next season will be a step in the right direction for the Terrapins.
“I feel like we're going to produce this year,” said Leak. “Hopefully we have a better record than last year. We were better than what our record showed because we had a lot of close games. We've just got to learn to finish them.”