I've got news for all you midwestern schools out there- The Terps are here to play. There's a lot more to Maryland football than the sickest uniforms on planet Earth.
Fall baby! We made it! Football for everyone! Thank goodness, it’s been far too long. And what a season we have to look forward to. New beginnings for the Terps. Finally got rid of that stench of ACC mediocrity and put our B1G boy pants on. And I’ve got news for all you midwestern schools out there- The Terps are here to play. There’s a lot more to Maryland football than the sickest uniforms on planet Earth. They’re no doormat. I’m not saying by any means that they’re going to make a run at the B1G championship game, but they’re gonna compete and they’re gonna win some ballgames. They’ve got as much experience as anyone and some of the best talents in the conference. The key factor is health. If they’re healthy, they’re in a bowl game without question. Let’s learn some more about Maryland football.
MEET THE OFFENSE
The offense is the strong point of this football team. They return 9 of their 11 starters, and 97.5% of last year’s offensive yards. That’s only good enough for tops in the nation. The unquestioned leader is CJ Brown at QB. His experience (along with a pair of stud receivers) is probably his biggest asset, as he’s been the starter since mid-2011. Thing is, he’s been riddled with knee, hip and head injuries since. When CJ Brown is healthy, the Terps can score from anywhere. He’s not blessed with a great arm, but he’s a heck of an athlete that can run as well as any QB in the country.
Stefon Diggs and Deon Long
Love me some Diggs, as should you, because he might be the best wideout in the country. Kid can flat out ball. Let’s have a quick looksie before I start gushing about him.
Man’s the complete package. The second you think you’ve got him trapped, he’s slipped a tackle and beaten you around the corner for 6. Great football IQ as well. He’s joined by fellow 5-star receiving recruit Deon Long. Both of these cats can fly, I’m talking mid 4.3 speed. The downside is that they both broke their legs in the SAME FUCKING QUARTER last year. So they’ve been in the training room all spring healing up instead of getting much needed snaps. They might need this week against JMU to shake off some rust, but they should be all set to tear it up this season. When they’re healthy, it’s pick your poison through the air against Maryland.
The Backfield and Offensive Line
The Terps have a nice collection of decent running backs. Brandon Ross has been listed as the top running back, but it’s really a 3 man attack. Ross is a smart, downhill runner who tends to fall forward, but isn’t really a standout talent-wise. That more accurately describes Wes Brown, a former UA All-American recruit that missed last year due to suspension. Brown is a bruiser, and might see more red zone carries (and the majority of the carries overall) as the season goes on. Albert Reid is the speedster of the group, and played solid in Brown’s absence last year with 4.3 yds/carry. The major flaw with this offense is the size and lack of depth on the offensive line. There are going to be growing pains as some of these guys get used to facing the bigger boys that play at the likes of Michigan State and Wisconsin. They were dominated by FSU’s D-line last year, and it lead to CJ Brown getting injured (albeit on a massive cheap shot). Center Sal Conaboy has been around seemingly forever, and it’ll be up to him to lead and keep this unit from holding the offense back.
MEET THE DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS
Brian Stewart’s 3-4 Defense
Quick synopsis here. Brian Stewart is the former D-Coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys and uses a 3-4 defense. In his two years, his defenses have placed in the better half of the ACC despite having a collection of undersized players by most FBS standards. And that’s the way he likes it. His defense is all about speed and athleticism, especially from the linebacker corps. That’s where guys like Matt Robinson come in. Robinson’s the veteran of the group who converted from safety to linebacker. The strength of this defense will be the 4 senior linebackers. Along with DE Andre Monroe (9.5 sacks last year), these guys are great at pressuring the QB and should wreak some havoc this year.
The secondary is capable and will hold its own, but I want to talk about my boy Will Likely for a minute. He is ferocious. At 5’7, 175 lbs, but he plays 6’5. Extremely exciting to watch. He’s your typical undersized athlete with a chip on his shoulder. Flies around the field and knocks the big boys on their asses. Had a big year last season as a freshman, and terrorized the opposition in the return game after Diggs got hurt. Kicks and punts were Stefon’s domain early last year, but I think it’s all Will, all the time now. And he’s only going to get better. Be afraid B1G boys.
He’s the kicker. Sucked in 2012, was great in 2013. Moving on.
Even by Big 10 standards, this is a TOUGH schedule. Starts off fairly easy, but gets real rough, real quick. The way I see it, they gotta cut it into segments. Focus on getting out of September with 4 wins. They could easily take 5, but let’s not get greedy. From there, it heads downhill fast. That stretch of Ohio State, Iowa, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, Michigan State, and at Michigan is down right dirty. I’m hopeful they can win 4 of them and finish at 8-4, but it won’t be an easy task. They’ll score a big upset somewhere in there though, and that’ll be epic.
So that’s it. Your 8-4 Maryland Terrapins. Holler at me on gameday, I’ll be in Lot 1 bright and early.