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2017 Preview and Predictions: Maryland Football

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I’m no lawyer, so this won’t be in a closing argument format.

NCAA Football: Quick Lane Bowl-Boston College vs Maryland Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Recap: How’d last season go?

In DJ Durkin’s first year, things went as well as they could go. Maryland made a bowl game, showed promising freshmen from Durkin’s first recruiting class, and looked like they may be able to compete in a few years in the Big Ten East after some talent infusion and coaching. The QB situation was shaky and true freshmen were forced into action but it didn’t help them that the defense couldn’t control the flow of the game due to the lack of a meaningful defensive line.

So where do they go from here?

Maryland brought in another solid recruiting class, albeit greatly boosted by volume alone, but one that was also a great talent infusion into the team. That being said, freshmen or redshirt freshman/true sophomores make up roughly 60% of this team now so needless to say they are largely inexperienced. Things get tougher this year schedule wise, where Maryland faces the pre-season #2 strength of schedule. Those things can change since they’re largely based on expectations vs. reality but as of now things look difficult in Year 2 for DJ Durkin.

The defensive line brought in some upgraded talent in last year’s recruiting class but expecting true freshmen to contribute across the line immediately isn’t exactly a good thing. A new defensive line coach in Jimmy Brumbaugh is expected to help but the line is a work in progress. Linebacker is deep and the secondary is experienced, so Maryland will try to rely on the back 7 on defense to hold things down.

On offense, the running backs and offensive line will lead. Maryland returns Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison at running back who are looking to capitalize on breakout seasons last year. Walt Bell uses 3-4 running backs a game in his offense but Johnson and Harrison have established themselves as the lead backs. Maryland currently has a battle at QB where Tyrele Pigrome and Caleb Henderson are battling it out while true freshman Kasim Hill is giving Maryland fans hope for the future with his rave reviews so far in camp. Wide Receiver and Tight End are talented groups but thin ones. Maryland brought in five freshmen WRs this fall and expect at least a few to see playing time. They’re all much bigger targets than what the previous regime recruited with three of the four standing at 6’2 or taller. At the least they’ll see redzone action...when Maryland can get there.

All in all this will be a season of growing pains for Maryland but seriously if we could move past the blowouts against all meaningful competition that would be progress. Beat Texas and go 3-0 in the nonconference while somehow scraping three wins? Ecstatic. The future looks good (and recruiting is still on a high for 2018) but the present may be a bit painful to get there.

Predictions:

I hinted on it above but it ain’t pretty. Here we are:

Dead Read: 5-7 (3-6)

Aaron Yorke: 3-9 (1-8)

WSR: 3-9 (1-8)

BRT: 4-8 (2-7)

Brian Gillis: 3-9 (1-8)

Ray Ransom: 6-6 (4-5)

C4B: 5-7 (3-6)

Me: 4-8 (2-7)

Graham: 5-7 (3-6)

James Snyder: 6-6 (3-6)

Babaoreally: 6-6 (4-5)

87Townie: 2-10 (1-8)

InsertName: 4-8 (2-7)

LPW: 4-8 (2-7)

Thumpasaurus: 5-7 (3-6)

StewMonkey13: 3-9 (1-8)

MNW: 3-9 (2-7)

Zuzu: 4-8 (2-7)

The consensus is 4-8 (2-7) and almost everyone is within one game of that save for a few outliers. That sounds about right to be honest. Considering Maryland has Texas along with UCF, who is no pushover for a G5 school with Scott Frost at the helm, the nonconference schedule is challenging to go along with the gauntlet of the Big Ten East schedule. 4-8 and no blowouts would honestly be a decent season given the sheer amount of underclassmen on the roster. 60% underclassmen, over 50% of which are true freshmen, will always make things challenging. The promise there for Maryland but the experience may be lacking to make a bowl game again this year.