Day 7: Secondary Position Breakdown
Last season, Maryland’s special teams unit struggled with inconsistency and a lack of playmaking in the returns unit. Place kickers Henry Darmstadter and Adam Greene combined to go 8-for-15 on field goals and had two attempts blocked, while the team finished last in the Big Ten in punting average.
Wade Lees enters the season as the incumbent starter at punter and the hope is that he can build on a sophomore campaign in which he launched a season-best seven punts of 50+ yards. In July, Lees was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List, given to the nation’s top punter, for the second straight year. (Fun fact: Lees will enter the 2018 season at 30 years old, the second-oldest player in the FBS).
The team will have new players handling kickoffs and place kicking duties and this will likely be decided in preseason practice. Freshman Joseph Petrino may find himself eventually handling both duties. The No. 10 overall kicker in the Class of 2018, according to 247Sports, has a cannon for a leg, and will likely battle with Matt Barber, Mike Shinsky, Paul Inzerillo and Bentley Faulkner to see who kicks for the Terps.
— Joseph Petrino (@joseph_petrino) September 5, 2017
Matt Oliveira returns for his senior season as the Maryland long snapper and his experience will be welcomed. At returner, Ty Johnson will probably keep his kick return duties. He averaged 24.3 yards per return and had a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown at Ohio State. The team will also have to find a replacement for DJ Moore, who handled most of the punt return duties last season.