Maryland-Cal: Grades

I wanted to hold off on posting any sort of grades or report card for at least 24 hours, because if I did it yesterday, all the grades would've been Ds. But now that I've had some time to think it over and recover, these grades seem pretty sensible to me.

(Note: I don't like report cards. Ever since Chemistry, I've disliked attaching quantitative values to qualitative things. But I haven't found a better way to do it yet, so this is what I'm stuck with.)

Okay, moving on:

QB: B

The more I think about it, the better Chris Turner's play seems. No, he wasn't lights out, but he was 17-30 with no interceptions, and should've had a touchdown. He had a few really nicely thrown balls - the TD and the fade to Torrey Smith come to mind - and made some plays with his feet, surprisingly. He wasn't perfect - he threw two or three passes that very easily could've been intercepted, and consistently threw the ball behind Adrian Cannon early on, killing any chance at a RAC. That said, considering he was under pressure most of the game, it wasn't a bad performance.

RB: B+

Really, neither Da'Rel Scott nor Davin Meggett had much to work with. There was a definite lack of holes to run through, and they were forced to bounce it outside most of the time. Fortunately, they made the most of what they had and turned in really good performances. Scott had 91 yards on just 13 carries and Maryland's only touchdown of the day on a 39 yard scamper. Meggett had 37 yards on four carries for a 4 ypc average - not bad at all. While I'm expecting better in the future from this duo, considering the circumstances, I find it tough to complain.

WR: B

Wide receiver is always a tough position to grade. If no one dominated the game (ala Hey-Bey) and no one has a bunch of drops, not a lot stands out in memory. The only drop I remember is Matt Furstenburg on a post that would've gone for about 25 yards. It was a big drop, but that was the only one, so it's tough to harp on it too much. Torrey Smith was ultra-productive when he got involved in the offense - two reverses for 16 yards total, plus a really nice 29 yard fade route - but didn't get enough touches. Adrian Cannon didn't show the big play potential that a lot of people had been expecting, but he did have 5 catches for 30 yards. I'm including the TEs in this grade, and both Tommy Galt and Lansford Watson had great games. Watson might've earned a starting position with a few huge plays, and Galt was a solid blocker and receiver over the middle.

OL: F

You knew it was coming. If you looked at the rest of the grades on offense and wondered how it was that Maryland only got one touchdown out of the day, here's the answer. The line not only contributed to a number of drive-killing penalties, they allowed pressure on Turner all day long and didn't open up holes for the RBs. There's not much positive to say about the performance. Every time Maryland got a little momentum, the OLine would kill it. And it wasn't just the young guys (though they were the main perpetrators). Rick Costa and Bruce Campbell had a few penalties, and were beaten occasionally. Cal has a very good defense, but the line needs to make marked improvements if Maryland is to compete this year.

DL: D

Almost as bad as the OL, the defensive line was completely manhandled. There was no pressure on Riley except when blitzing, there was no penetration into the backfield, and most of the time they didn't even hold their ground. The one time they did get into the backfield to make a sack without help from four other biltzers, Jared Harrell let a notably unathletic QB shake him and throw a TD. Awful. I know they're young, like the OL, but if this is how the rest of the season is going to be, Don Brown has some real tinkering to do to try to make this defense stand up.

LB: C-

It's tough to expect much from a group that had virtually no protection in front of them, but if DRS and Meggs can make something out of it, I'd expect All-ACC Alex Wujciak and team captain Adrian Moten to make an impact. Unfortunately, none was made. Wujciak had seven tackles, but consistently showed his lack of speed and athleticism. Adrian Moten was surprisingly quiet outside of a sack, and Demetrius Hartsfield - who's been getting a ton of props as Maryland's next great LB - missed a few tackles and didn't have much of an impact. Overall, I expected much better out of a very talented group.

DB: C

Anthony Wiseman looked out of place, was picked on a lot, and committed a few penalties that hurt. He did have a few really nice pass breakups, but he'll have to toughen up to work well in the press. Nolan Carroll was better, and shut down his receiver for much of the day, but was beaten badly a few times and didn't look good in run support. Cam Chism saw the field a decent amount, but looked as bad as Wiseman.

Luckily, the safeties pull this grade back up, as their play was miles better. Jamari McCollough was solid before his injury (I won't forget him standing back up to make the tackle after getting hurt) and Antwine Perez was all over the place and led the team in tackles. Terrell Skinner is definitely not a cover guy and got bailed out with a dropped pass after being beaten, but no harm done, I suppose. Kenny Tate didn't have the best of days and gotten beaten deep a couple times, but he was the outlier of the group.

Special Teams: B

If Maryland fails everywhere else, the one place you can rely on is special teams. Travis Baltz had a bad day, granted, but a bad day for him is a pretty good day for anyone else. Nick Ferrara went 2-2 and was solid on kickoffs, locking up the kicking job for the foreseeable future. Torrey Smith had the killer fumble, which keeps this from being a B+, but was his solid, consistent self after that. Kenny Tate returned punts, and looked very good doing it. He adds a big play potential Maryland hasn't had there since Steve Suter. Sadly, special teams was one of the biggest bright spots of the day.

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