I feel like I am echoing C4B here but there are only so many ways to say the same thing. There is a lot of hope but being stuck in the B1G East offers little chance of error and requires a lot of chance if you want to break into the Top 3. Maryland is coming off of a tragic season where they saw a fellow teammate eventually succomb to heat stroke in early season practices, the media fallout from it, an entire coaching staff axed from it, and a new one come in. What can we possibly expect?
Where We’ve Been: 2018
Ugh, do we really need to go here? If you live on Mars, perhaps you haven’t seen what occurred to this program last year. Jordan McNair tragically passed away in what can be at best described as a training practice gone wrong. Rightfully so, Maryland suffered the fallout of this tragic incident and as you would assume the entire coaching staff either resigned or was fired, present or not at the workout.
The result? A 4-8 season with an interim head coach who eventually left when Mike Locksley was hired. There was hope: a 52-51 defeat to OSU in OT gave MD fans a lone glimmer of hope for the future but that loss was more painful than any other loss there was last season. The chance to knock off a Top 10 team dropped in the end zone in a miscommunication between a RS sophomore QB and true freshman WR. It summed up what could be and where the program was in one game.
A Look Ahead to 2019
More noon games, great. I mean really, how much harder can it get for programs to attempt to drive interest when they are dealt a hand full of noon games that means you need to get up at 5-6am to get to campus by 9am to get parked and setup to quickly tailgate before frying in the September mid-atlantic sun?
Maryland should be explosive on the offensive side of the ball this year with Locksley leading the charge. Sure, he’s the head coach and not the offensive coordinator but the guy who won offensive coordinator of the year isn’t giving that up so easily. Maryland will use it’s plethora of running backs, transfer QB Josh Jackson, and its’ young WR corps to make some noise this fall. Anthony McFarland will easily be a 1st team all Big Ten candidate after his breakout reshirt freshman season a year ago, destroying defenses in space.
The defense? Well, that remains to be seen. The secondary returns a ton of experience and brings in highly regarded safety Nick Cross to fill Darnell Savage’s shoes but can the defensive line step up? Senior Adam McClean entered the transfer portal (grades) but there is a ton of young talent on the line that has yet to make an impact. This will be their year to step up; if they don’t it will be a long season. Maryland will fill holes at LB with transfers Keandre Jones (OSU) and Shaq Smith (Clemson) while Chance Campell and Isaiah Davis battle it out for the final spot.
Special Teams? If you want to believe spring practice reports....well this is going to be a long season from their perspective. No one particularly stood out at punter, which is a problem in the Big Ten. By no one particularly stood out, I mean no one from the scholarship punter to the walk ons were impressing anyone. Yikes.
When Talking to a Maryland Fan
Do Mention: Mike Locksley. His impact on recruiting and immediate transfers coming in. Anthony McFarland. Basketball.
Don’t Mention: Can we strike the last year somehow? How do you both not mention what occurred with Jordan McNair and also honor his memory? Maryland has so much work to do.
B1G 2019: Maryland Week
Monday: Cocktail Party Preview (You are here, right now)
Tuesday: New Coaching Roundup
Thursday: Basketball, a thing we do somewhat ok!
Friday: Someone will hate on our uniforms, I’m sure.