clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Closing Arguments: Maryland Terrapins

New, 325 comments

Previewing the Maryland Terrapins innaugural B1G Season

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

With another season of College Football upon us, we take a look at the inaugural season for the Maryland Terrapins.  Maryland is in its fourth year under coach Randy Edsall, first in the B1G, and many are skeptical on whether or not he can build upon last season in the new conference.  Will he do enough to get Maryland to a bowl game, or will he return to the previous sub .500 records?

I.                    Case History/Opening Statement

 A.      Case History

The 2014 College football season marks the first for the Maryland Terrapins in the B1G.  Randy Edsall accomplished his first bowl season in 2013 at Maryland, starting the season off 4-0 and buzz-sawing regional rival West Virginia in that process 37-0.

Randy Edsall, by most people's opinion, improved upon what he had done in the first two years in College Park, finally breaking the .500 mark and getting to a bowl game.  He almost doubled his win total from the previous year (four to seven), and the offense looked much better than the prior year (outside of the offensive line).  The pass rush showed great strides on the defensive side of the ball, while the secondary had injury concerns as both starting corners were out for the year and the Terps broke in a true freshman at corner.

2013 was not bad by any means for a Maryland team that had won six games combined in the prior two seasons, but it wasn't the farewell tour that they wanted to give either, sans taking it to NC State in their place in the last game of the season.  Maryland still needs to show consistency on offense, and those concerns stem from the offensive line play improving so that Maryland can show a more balanced attack.

B.     Opening Statement

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, the 2014 Maryland Terrapins are going to surprise you.  Maryland returns the starters at all skill positions on offense, and has upgraded on the offensive line at LG and RT.  On the defensive side, Maryland returns its entire starting DL, 3 of 4 LBs, and 3 of its 4 starters from last season in the secondary.  In short, the Terps are not short in the experience department.  The expectations from Randy Edsall are an improvement over last year's 7-5 regular season even with the schedule that has been dealt to them for their inaugural B1G season.  The expectation is a bowl game at a minimum, with many pundits clamoring for at least 7-8 wins or off with his head [wait, can I say that in a court room?].

On offense last season, Maryland had great performances when its starters were healthy.  Then both starting WRs in Stefon Diggs and Deon Long went down against Wake Forest, on the same play for the rest of the season.  CJ Brown was in and out of the lineup with a concussion first against FSU, and then a "trunk injury" that was never fully explained.  While this was not ideal, if there was ever any position that Maryland could sustain an injury and keep going almost full stride, it was WR.  Levern Jacobs and Amba Etta-Tawo stepped in for Diggs and Long, and they were adequate in their absence while gaining some great experience in the playing time they were not expecting.  This has led to a fierce competition this summer at the WR spot with Marcus Leak back after his one year hiatus and Taivon Jacobsdone with his redshirt year.  In short, if CJ Brown gets more than three seconds to throw the ball, B1G defenses are going to have a long day.  This is a big if mind you, as Maryland is currently looking at two, albeit highly touted, freshman starting on the offensive line at LG and RT. 

Defensively, Maryland looks vastly similar to last year as they are returning 10 of 11 starters.  Maryland loses their leading sack leader in Marcus Whitfield to graduation, but they return Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil from injury and true sophomore Yannick Ngakouepushing him for the starting spot as his backup.  Expect both on the field at the same time often this season in pash rush packages.  Maryland's question is the secondary, but early reports from camp are optimistic with Alvin Hill holding off the incumbent starter in Jeremiah Johnson for the second corner position as he returns from his foot injury. 

In the kicking department, Maryland boasts Brad Craddock who is only in his third year of Americanfootball.  Don't let that fool you though, as he has a strong leg and his sophomore year was a vast transformation from his freshman year in terms of accuracy.  If Craddock continues upon his sophomore year, he is the best B1G kicker, hands down.

Taken together, this team has the potential to surprise many in the B1G, who most are expecting to finish below .500 with the conference move and new opponents.  Frankly, many are just saying it because they don't know anything about Maryland other than they are pretty average when it comes to football.  This team has the talent to win 7-8 this year, and the only concerns I have in that would be worrying about clock and timeout management from the coaching staff along with ingame adjustments.  Randy Edsall has not done well in the former, and I worry about the latter because of the unfamiliarity of the B1G teams to the staff causing them to need to change game plans early on if they aren't working.

II.                Discovery

A. What We've Written about Maryland This Offseason

B1G 2014 // Maryland Cocktail Party Preview

B1G 2014 // Maryland's Smartest Guy in the Room

B1G 2014 // Maryland Pot Luck 1 & Pot Luck 2

 B1G 2014 // Bad Teams, Bad Unis, Bad Fit

 B.  What We Can Learn from Pop Culture

 

Randy Edsall can dougie....that's about all I have:

 

Randy Edsall doing the Dougie (via LightsOut Leukemia)

 III.             Pending Docket

This is a pretty brutal schedule from everything I know and have learned about the B1G so far.  Maryland could realistically lose five games in a row in conference play, starting with Ohio State onward.  They have the potentialto upset Michigan, Penn State, or even Iowa, but the odds will be against them in all three of these games unless Michigan and Penn State's offensive lines are really as bad as we think they are.  A sweep in the OOC will do a lot to alleviate concerns of going bowling, but even that may not guarantee things depending on the strength of the B1G East this year:

Date

Opponent

8/30

JMU

9/6

@USF

9/13

WVU

9/20

@Syracuse

9/27

@Indiana

10/4

OSU

10/11

BYE

10/18

Iowa

10/25

@Wisconsin

11/1

@PSU

11/8

BYE

11/15

MSU

11/22

@Michigan

11/29

Rutgers

 

IV.              Emotional Plea

By most accounts, Maryland is a team on the rise.  There is a ton of offensive firepower, experience and potential for this team to win at least seven games this year.  Maryland boasts the best WR tandem in the conference, a sixth year senior at QB, and returning over 90% of the defensive starters.  If they perform to their expectations, this team will surprise almost everyone in the B1G.  Should I believe in Randy Edsall?  Can he keep this turn around going?  Good thing I'm not answering this in 2012, but I think he can.

V.                 The Verdict

Just like I've alluded to, most of the B1G writers are down on Maryland this year.  What can that team from the ACC do they say?  There is no way they can compete in the B1G there first year, no way.  Either way, whoever is right, this team is going to be fun to watch.  The offensive firepower alone should make the Indiana game one of the most exciting of the year and one that everyone is probably going to tune into just to see how high that score will be. 



W

L

CW

CL

Aaron Yorke

3

9

0

8

Aaron Rench

7

5

3

5

Green Akers

5

7

2

6

Brian Gillis

3

9

2

6

GoAUpher

5

7

2

6

Ray Ransom

5

7

2

6

MNWildcat

5

7

2

6

DJ Carver

7

5

3

5

MC ClapYoHandz

5

7

2

6

CandyStripes

4

8

1

7

Eric Schulman

3

9

0

8

Graham Filler

4

8

1

7

babaoreally

6

6

3

5

Jesse Collins

5

7

2

6

Mike Jones

6

6

2

6

GoForThree

3

9

0

8

Conf Avg.

5

7

2

6