Welcome to Maryland Week! This week we’ll dip our toes in some decidedly saltier water and try to avoid crabs—wait, no come back, it gets better, I promise—with a look at the 2021 Maryland Terrapins football season!
...just one thing. We’re a little light/short on Maryland contributors this year, so it’ll be a little patchwork. Are you a Maryland fan interested in writing for Off Tackle Empire? Want to build some journalistic cred to go work for the good people over at Testudo Times? Just a fan who has Hot Takes, damnit, and need to tell us?
We’d love to have you join the conversation at OTE! Feel free to open up a FanPost and start writing—we’ll give it a read and move it to the front page!
Today we’ll be kicked off for Maryland Week by comments and TT regular larry31. Huge thanks to Larry for answer the email/call! —MNW
Maryland football opened the Jones-Hill Football facility while simultaneously providing yet more proof that the Power-5 football model is wacky and upside-down.
A barber shop? A pool table? A massage room complete with happy ending? (I made the last one up.)
Named after Billy Jones who broke the ACC color-barrier in basketball and Darryl Hill who did the same in football. So, that’s cool. Ironically, Byrd Stadium has been changed to Maryland Stadium because its former namesake, Curley Byrd, was a flat out racist. Racist or not, he put MD on the map athletically, culminating in MD’s sole national championship if football in 1953. If you know of a way to acknowledge his contributions while also making clear his oppression of Black folks, let me know. Renaming the stadium seems to be a way of white-washing history, like his racism or accomplishments never existed.
Clearly, Maryland is serious about trying to compete. Locksley appears to have assembled a coaching staff that he wanted. I think he settled on some staff members when he was first hired. There has been a lot of coaching turnover, but the staff as well as the roster seems to have been upgraded.
FWIW, I think the Schiano re-do is going to work. I have some serious doubts about Frost. Bielema will be fun. (Isn’t it ironic that that fat guy has a name that reminds me of an eating disorder?)
LB and WR are the strongest and deepest units. WR group could be top-5 in the country and 2nd to only Ohio State in the B1G. LB group could easily be top-10. Taulia Tagovailoa looks to improve with the hiring of Dan Enos as QB coach. Brought in a grad transfer from Virginia Military Academy who had VMI ranked top-25 in FCS and undefeated this spring, until he got injured. He will be Taulia’s back up, so we won’t have the shit show we had last year when Taulia couldn’t play. DB’s are top-5 in the B1G. RB’s are better than average.
Question marks are DL and OL. I think DL will be average/serviceable. OL is serviceable/average, but very thin. If two or more starting OL get injured things could get ugly fast, and MD becomes the November shit show we have come to know and expect.
Without major injuries, I think MD surprises folks and beats WVU in their second week. Lots of outstanding skill position talent and the LBs are really good. But, the OL depth (and also DL depth) will probably rear their ugly heads as the season wears on. I expect improvement becasue the roster is better, but, more improtantly, the coaching stafff is significantly upgraded, without totally changing schemes.
If they return Morsell, Ayala, and/or Wiggins, they will be top-15: Torvik has them ranked 11th assuming Ayala and Wiggins return. They picked up some big time transfers in Fatts Russell from URI and Qudus Wahab from G-town. Also got a very underrated transfer from Utah State in Ian Martinez, plus three newcomers, 4-star freshmen James Graham, Ike Cornish, and Julian Reese. (Graham actually played on the team this spring).
Maryland will be back to being top-4 in the conference.
Big Ten Sports Overall:
The Terrapins have been solid in b-ball placing top 4 more years than not. Football has been an unmitigated disaster, but not really noticed because there has always been another team so awful that they kindly diverted attention away from Maryland—thank you, Chris Ash, Darryl Hazell, and Lovie Santa. (I always loved Lovie’s beard. He made me smile whenever I’d see him on TV. He’d literally make me think of Christmas.) Maryland has sucked and continues to suck in wrestling; has sucked, but is showing improvement in women’s volleyball.
Maryland has been ranked and made various NCAA tournaments in baseball, golf, gymnastics, men’s soccer, field hockey, women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse, and women’s basketball. Women’s basketball has won the B1G Championship for six straight years. Women’s and men’s lacrosse has been B1G champions 3 of the last five years. While in the B1G, Maryland has won six national championships: 4 in women’s lacrosse, 1 in men’s lacrosse and 1 in men’s soccer.
All with the third-lowest athletic budget in the B1G!
Maryland has been an ideal newcomer: Representing the conference well in many sports, but being politely sucky in the most important sport (football), thereby avoiding resentment from the established members. If Maryland and Rutgers crashed the B1G wedding, Rutgers got drunk and tried to kiss the bride and then made a stinking mess in the bathroom by missing the toilet. Maryland sneaks in but actually gives some token candlesticks to the bride and groom and has just tried to blend.
Has Maryland been the "ideal newcomer" to the Big Ten?
This poll is closed
Grading on a curve? Sure.
Thanks, Larry! Stay tuned for another front-paged FanPost looking at Taulia Tagovailoa and more on the 2021 Terps, plus some contributions from our Maryland writers and the rest of the OTE staff!