Maryland is not going to be an ACC title contending team with this defense. I can't decide if the problem is the lack of talent on the D-Line or with Defensive Coordinator Chris Cosh. It's probably a combination of both to be honest.
Teams either run or pass all over us. If we stop one aspect of a team's game, they exploit the other and Chris Cosh doesn't know how to stop it. The only time we win is when our offense puts up big points or we get a bounce that goes our way.
Think about it:
Against Cal, MD won by putting a lot of points up on the board early and Cal had to abandon the run. But Cal still put up 423 passing yards
Against Eastern Michigan, Maryland's offense was again effective, but Eastern Michigan still put up 453 total yards on Cosh's defense.
Against Clemson, Maryland escaped with a win and held Clemson to 151 passing yards...but sadly Clemson still ran for 221 yards.
Against UVA, you can put part of the blame on the defense, but the offense played their worst game of the season, putting the defense on the field for a large portion of the game. But the Terps still gave up 226 passing and 201 rushing yards.
The Wake game was the best game for the D this season - shutting out Wake. But part of that might be the fact that Wake's offense played terrible rather than Maryland's defense playing great.
Against NC State, the Terps D almost let State back into the game, but did a good job against a young team, especially considering the fact that the D was on the field for 36 minutes.
And then tonight against Va. Tech the Terps allow 273 rushing yards (granted, Tech was holding on almost every single play) but the Terps never had a chance to try to get back in the game because the D gave up and just let Tech run all over them.
I'm not saying MD lost this game solely because of the defense. When the other team has the ball for 37 minutes and 34 seconds and your offense only rushes for - 12 yards on 18 carries (yes, -12 yards), you're not going to win. But it's starting to become a theme that Maryland's weakness is their defense. The class of 2009 will help tremendously with MD's defense (especially if we're able to sign a certain 5-star linebacker from Wheaton), but I think the defense prevents Maryland from being an elite team in the ACC this year. Next year might be a different story, but this year I think the Terps are on the verge, but won't be able to get over the hump. And the "X" factor in all of this is the Terps D.