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2021 Closing Arguments: Have the Terps turned a corner?

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Some discipline and coaching would have Maryland on the verge of bowling, writes larry31.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In our hurry to get you ALL the Closing Arguments, we were a little short on Maryland help. So quick! While we do that! Look at all our other Closing Arguments for Big Ten football while we find someone...

...whew. Just in time, here's friend of the program larry31 with some updates and scenarios on how the Maryland Terrapins and HC Mike Locksley fare in 2021.

State of the Program

Araiderfan is a poster on TestudoTimes that is clearly close to MD's football program. In summer 2019, he was very down on the Terps, even after MD dominated an overrated Syracuse team to open the season. He was right. Apparently, a lot of the players were very loyal to DJ Durkin and did not like the new Locks regime. 2019 was a shitshow for MD football, and aradierfan was right.

Well, this summer araiderfan thinks 8 wins is achievable.

They argued that Durkin recruited highly ranked athletes, whereas Locks recruits football players. For instance, MD has put several fast running backs in the NFL: Ty Johnson, Anthony McFarland, and Javon Leake. Before the 2020 season he said lightly recruited Jake Funk (MD was his only P5 offer) was a better running back than all of those fast guys because he was disciplined, patient, and a better student of the game.

Sure enough, the much lesser renowned Jake Funk has made the LA Rams 53-man roster as a 7th round pick.

What We've Written

Best Case/Worst Case

Arguments for my previous 7-5 prediction for MD 2021 football:

MD has a lot of talent, most notably QB, TE WR and LB.

MD has upgraded several key coaching positions: Brian Braswell at O-line, Dan Enos as QB coach, Brian Stewart as DC, and former UTEP OC Maike Canales as an off-field analysis (a position usually reserved for grad students).

Following a popular trend in the NFL, MD has a very big and agile TE (Chig Okonkwo) who will be a serious match up problem: too fast for linebackers and too big for DBs. If he is double-teamed, MD has the receiver talent to make teams pay for man coverage.

Araiderfan says 8-4 is achievable.

Arguments against a successful year:

Taulia Tagovailoa doesn't improve as much as expected and continues to be inconsistent and a turnover machine.

MD has zero depth at OT. Starters are competent, but serious injuries at OT will lead to an injured Taulia or lots of sacks and interceptions.

Poor discipline by players. Last year WR Jeshaun Jones had a chance to obliterate an opposing player with a blind hit on two occasions. He couldn't resist the temptation to tee off on some DB that had probably been talking shit the whole game. It is a punk move to clock a defender who is running full speed but has his head turned toward the guy with the ball. It also is a penalty. Twice this happened, and twice a MD touchdown was called back because of cheap shots by Jeshaun Jones. MD needs to not beat themselves with stupid penalties.

If one of these bad things happen, MD goes anywhere from 4-8 (OT injuries) to 6-6 (Taulia not being as good as expected).

The Schedule

The Verdict

MNW: Thanks, as always, to larry31 for picking up the mantle of our hottest Terp takes! Here's how the OTE staff think the Turtles finish up in 2021:

Vote in the polls and give us your picks in the comments! (And, if you're interested in writing about Maryland for OTE on the regular, write a Fanpost and then drop me a line!)

Poll

Maryland in the Big Ten, 2021 edition:

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    0-9
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    1-8
    (2 votes)
  • 9%
    2-7
    (16 votes)
  • 16%
    3-6
    (27 votes)
  • 33%
    4-5
    (56 votes)
  • 37%
    5-4 or better
    (63 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Maryland overall:

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    1-11, and thank God for Howard
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    2-10
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    3-9
    (2 votes)
  • 6%
    4-8
    (11 votes)
  • 15%
    5-7
    (26 votes)
  • 20%
    6-6
    (33 votes)
  • 35%
    7-5
    (58 votes)
  • 17%
    8-4 or better
    (28 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now