COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback C.J. Brown #16 of the Maryland Terrapins throws a pass during warm-ups before the start of their game against the Clemson Tigers at Byrd Stadium on October 15, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
I never thought I'd say I was happy to talk about a 21-point loss in football, but here we are. Recap is here.
Davin Meggett. Why he continues to be so, so underused is beyond me. I don't have the same problem with Justus Pickett as some others do - in fact, I think he's pretty talented - but there's no doubt he isn't as good as Meggett right now. Davin was rewarded for his season of hard work with a 47-yard run in the first quarter ... and then got only one carry in the rest of the half. Then had a beautiful 17-yard touchdown run that was called back due to an illegal shift penalty. Sigh. There's really no reason he shouldn't be getting Picket's 8-to-10 carries each game. Or, rather, "shouldn't have," now that the season is basically over.
C.J. Brown's legs. I think it's pretty clear at this point that Brown is the best, most dangerous runner on the team, even moreso than Meggett. How much impact that has on his ability to actually be a quarterback depends on your philosophy, but he's proven yet again that he's more than a little dynamic when running the zone-read, breaking off runs of 20, 30, and 24 yards. We know about his quickness perhaps the most striking thing about his running style is just how strong he is: he runs through arm tackles more like a power back than a quarterback, and it's a little jarring to see.
Andre Monroe. He's like a young Joe Vellano. If I could build a football team, I guarantee you I'd have a guy like Monroe on the defensive line. He's undersized, but that actually helps him get leverage against bigger linemen. Combine that with a great motor and undervalued quickness, and you have a disruptive, penetrative defensive tackle. He finished with 2.5 sacks, and probably should've been given the rounded-off 3.0. He's not an every-down DT right now based on his size, but he just makes things happen when he gets playing time.
Demetrius Hartsfield. I've been rough on Hartsfield all year, but this week was better. He still missed a few tackles and got caught in coverage, but part of that had to do with how much he was run at: he finished the game with 14 tackles, 12 of them solo. (I'm big on solo tackles, if you haven't noticed.) Oh, and threw in two TFL. Oh, and delivered a big shot to Tanner Price down the field.
Plant City. They have strawberries.
C.J. Brown's arm. Part of the reason I use the diction I do in these posts ("Stock Up," etc.) is so that the categories can be somewhat relative and altered based upon expectations. I think everyone's expectation for C.J. Brown's arm is pretty low by now. And I don't mean that in a mean way: he's just not a throwing QB.
That considered, I don't think he did poorly. His fades and deep balls were generally a bit overthrown, but that's vastly superior to underthrowing them, and it gives the receiver a chance to make a play. And once he got into a rhythm with the zone-read, his passes, especially intermediate routes over the middle, were actually fairly accurate. And he had to deal with the same receivers Danny O'Brien's dealt with all year, which meant a fair number of drops.
That's not to say he did particularly great: again, the deep balls were always off the mark and even some of the balls that were caught were a bit off. But he avoided any big mistakes, which is the biggest thing at this point, and did well what he could. If you look at his 20-42 statline and express unhappiness, it would be better aimed at the people calling the plays.
Justus Pickett. Continued to be more or less average as Maryland's #2 back, but he did catch a touchdown pass and had a 15-yard run for a first down. He's athletic and can make plays, but he's not an every down back, no matter how much the staff wants him to be.
A.J. Hendy. Hendy's been seeing serious playing time for the past several weeks, which means the honeymoon period's starting to end. He got caught out of position every once in awhile on Saturday and, as the game went on, struggled to make some open-field tackles. He was productive early on, though (six tackles), and I still love his live-wire energy and the swagger he brings to a struggling unit.
Dexter McDougle. I still feel like McDougle has great potential. He did get caught taking poor angles in run support, but as a cornerback he locked down his side of the field. Of course, part of that was because he rarely matched up with Chris Givens. How he performs in the final game against N.C. State is going to one of the few things worth keeping an eye on.
Kevin Dorsey. Eight catches were nice, but we expect that out of him. What wasn't nice were the two catches he failed to secure, which resulted in two fumbles that were recovered by Wake Forest, one of them being erroneously overturned. Also called for the illegal shift that undid Davin Meggett's touchdown.
Matt Furstenburg. Dropped a touchdown.
Sal Conaboy. Making his first start at center, so I want to go easy. But he had an illegal snap on a 4th-and-2 at Wake Forest's 35 on Maryland's first drive of the day. The Terrapins were going to go for it, but the five-yard penalty forced a punt instead. Tough to get upset about it, given that he's a true freshman making his first start, but that didn't make it hurt less.
Trenton Hughes. After dealing surprisingly well with Michael Floyd against Notre Dame, I thought Hughes was going to be the man for the final two games. Then he ran into Chris Givens, who toasted him for a 64-yarder and 191 total receiving yards. Youch.
D.J. Adams. Two carries, -2 yards. And there went any hope he had of getting out of the doghouse, I'm guessing.
Nick Ferrara. Disastrous day for Nick the Kick. And we had such high hopes after his freshman year. Missed two very makable field goals of 32- and 36-yards, and pitched in a 15-yard punt for good measure. I've been a big advocate of cutting down his workload and assigning him only one or two kicking jobs instead of all three, and I still think that would be good for him. Nathan Renfro is guaranteed a starting spot somewhere next year.
Maryland's run defense. Again. Gave up 194 yards, so that breaks the six-game streak of allowing 200+ yards of rushing offense ... by six yards ... thanks to the 22 yards of sacks. This came against the 105th rushing offense in the country.
Gary Crowton. Seriously, the playcalling here was absolutely absurd and the most damning portrayal of Crowton's ineptitude I've seen in weeks. To do a complete 180 to start, I'll say he had one fantastic call, going with a QB draw on 3rd and 17 that netted Maryland 20 yards and worked to perfection. Well done.
Now: what was everything else? Making C.J. Brown throw 42 times? Going deep on 3rd and 2 in Wake Forest territory? A wheel route to 250-pound fullback Tyler Cierski? Everything that worked so well against Miami has been promptly abandoned, right when a quarterback better-suited to the system came in. This offense needs to thrive on the ground game, in particular the zone-read option that Brown pulls off so well.
I know the objections. There's the idea that because Maryland has no scholarship back-up quarterback after Brown, Brown can't run. But why not? Maryland is 2-9 and there's a game left in the season. If you lose Brown, you lose Brown. It isn't a terribly big deal. They should be building for the the future offense, and that hopefully isn't this. And regarding the fact that Maryland losing by large margins implies that they can't go run-heavy: actually, to me it means they should go run-heavy. They're neutered through the air. Maryland's best big-play threat is Brown, on the ground. Besides, the offense is (or at least was) designed to be quick-strike. It's a hurry-up, no-huddle attack at its base that took three minutes to score a touchdown against Miami. When done properly, it isn't a time-consuming attack anyway.
Perhaps Crowton's off-the-wall ideas would work when his team is more talented than everyone else. (Oops, nevermind. Tried that, didn't work.) You know the scariest thing about him? Per his track record, his offenses get worse.
Randy Edsall. For multiple reasons. First, because throughout the season, a loss = Stock Down for the head man. As it more or less should be. Secondly, because of the horrible execution all-around. He can't catch passes for the receivers, but he should certainly have drilled his guys well enough to avoid illegal snap and illegal shift penalties in crucial situations. Oh, and more or less conceded the game when he punted in the fourth quarter at the Wake 45 when Maryland was down by 14.
- C.J. Brown, QB. Wasn't great, but finished with 296 total yards.
- Andre Monroe, DT. Two and a half sacks. Nuff said.
- Davin Meggett, RB. Had a big day, and would've been bigger without the illegal shift.
- Maryland band. By popular demand. Very loud, nice amplification.