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Profiles in Strange Coaching Decisions, Pt. II: QB Draws, Torrey Smith, and the Wildcat

I think almost everyone will agree on these topics, but you never know.

QB Draws

I understand that it was rainy and the ball security was iffy. But I still can't wrap my head around the absurd QB draw playcalls. I counted four of them yesterday, and three were on third downs; one of them was on a third and 14 in the second quarter with Maryland losing.

We have an nonathletic QB. He's a decent runner, but I'm pretty sure half the fanbase could at least tie him in a race. That's okay, but when that's the case, don't call plays that require a running QB. There's no chance Maryland converts a 3rd and 14 with Turner running (I don't care that he got 11 yards, that was fluky in its own right and doesn't excuse the playcall). The thing is, 3rd and 14 is a convertible down. 15 yard pass plays aren't that hard to convert - they aren't easy, but they aren't impossible. I'm sure Maryland's completed them before. So why call a give up play when you're losing and the down and distance isn't impossible? If you're wondering, this was before the huge downpour of rain in the mid second quarter.

This has been a recurring problem. I'm fine with one or two QB draws a game, provided they come on first or second down and are smartly done. Four of them, most on third down, though, isn't good. At least run a normal draw, or an option; something with a higher success rate than a QB draw with an unathletic QB.

Torrey Smith

Have you met Torrey Smith? If you've only seen the past two weeks of football, you might not know who I'm talking about. The past two games he's touched the ball a total of ten times - four against Virginia, six against Duke. The former NCAA leader in all-purpose yardage (he's now #3) had received at least ten touches in all but one of the previous six games. Why'd they turn away away from him so dramatically?

The offense has been terrible the past two weeks. They put up just 13 against perhaps the worst defense in the ACC. Yet one of the most dangerous players in college football is on the field, and Maryland can figure out how to get him the ball.

Okay, so he's been double-teamed sometimes. Throw a bubble screen, then. Run a reverse. Let him run the wildcat (more on that later). Most of the time, actually, he's not even doubled - there's plenty of times, especially near the red zone, when the just go one on one, because they realize Maryland doesn't throw it to him anyway (well, I'm assuming that).

Perhaps we shouldn't expect Maryland to be able to use a legit WR correctly. After all, look at Darrius Heyward-Bey's time here. Other teams figure it out.

Here's something I found intriguing. If Torrey Smith got as many touches as Antonio Brown, who is two spots behind him on the APY list, he'd be leading the race by 50 yards a game. If he got as many touches as C.J. Spiller - not entirely a fair comparison, as Spiller's a RB - he'd be leading by over 100 yards a game. In fact, out of the top five all-purpose rushers, Smith gets the least touches per game.

Makes no sense.

The Wildcat

Sort of related to the above topic, can someone explain to me why Maryland does not stick with the Wildcat at all? The last two weeks they've run one play in the wildcat, in the first quarter, and it was a Torrey Smith run. Both plays accounted for 0 yards. After those unsuccessful plays, Fridge or Franklin abandoned it.

The Wildcat doesn't have a 100% success rate - there will be failures. And the more times this happens, the more failures there will be. The offense has been simply absymal; why not give it a real try? What's Maryland going to lose: a three and out? Just give it five plays a game, including one pass and one handoff to another person. If after that it doesn't work, so be it.