Maryland defensive end Joe Vellano is poised for another big season for the Terrapins. He is one of 10 returning starters for a defense that hopes to improve greatly in 2012. The 2011 season saw Vellano have another very successful season in a Maryland uniform. In 2011, he recorded 94 tackles from his defensive tackle position, including 20 versus Georgia Tech. His 20 tackles were the most recorded by a FBS defensive lineman since the NCAA starting keeping statistics on-line seven years ago.
Vellano looks to improve in 2012.
“You have to focus on each play, you cannot let the watch lists and stuff get to you, you have to block it out.” He hopes to build on ideas and strategies he worked on to become a great player in 2011 to become an even better, more impactful player in 2012. “You can’t let the season drag you down. You have to take practice more serious, treatment. You have to take the season one game at a time, like it just started.” Vellano hopes that this focus will allow him to impact the games along with his fellow linemen more consistently, in an attempt to increase the production of the defense. “We have a real good d-line coming back. I think our d-line in general is really going to step up this year.”
Due to his often dominant performances in 2011, Vellano, his teammates, and coaches expect him to receive more double teams and emphasis from offensive line. This is something they plan to use to their advantage, allowing teammates the opportunity to make plays. Vellano, a team player, is not worried about not being able to make every play.
“They can’t double team everybody. They will send you plays, I will send them plays,” said Vellano.
Maryland will hope to turn its defensive struggles in 2011 to its strength in 2012 behind Vellano and other talented returning players. If Maryland looks to improve in 2012, the defense must improve, if the defense continues to struggle it could be a long season for a Maryland team that only returns 5 starters on offense including three key linemen and the leading running back. Maryland also lost Danny O’Brien, the second ACC quarterback in as many years to choose to complete his eligibility at Wisconsin. CJ Brown, who played well at times in 2011, will take the reins under center. His ability to impact the game with his feet will play a vital role in Maryland’s success in 2012.