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Post-Year Stream of Consciousness: Random Thoughts on Maryland's Season

I'm not yet prepared to go down the road of a ton of research and the like to review the year with basketball on it's way, but I am prepared to publish a few, mostly random thoughts on the season that was and the season that will be (that is, next year). This isn't real analysis, just whatever came to my mind. (BTW, this will be the last thing on football for awhile except Fridge). Without further ado:

  • First ten loss year ever. Worst year since 1967. No analysis needed.
  • Maryland won two games by a combined six points. Both games were won by 3. In both games, the opposing team's kicker missed two (not one, two) FGs, at least one of which definitely should've been made.
  • That said, Maryland also lost five games by less than a TD. A few of those games (BC) weren't all that close, but some were a play or two away.
  • Don Brown's first year was...okay. I don't think the problems Maryland had stemmed from the scheme, but rather the athletes and talent in house. Most of these guys were recruited and raised on Cosh's zone system, and making them go man-to-man and attack doesn't work well.
  • James Franklin, on the other hand, was extremely unimpressive. I'm reminded of the days when Ralph was his own OC. Offensive line aside, playcalling was so awkward - one-play Wildcats, the Jamarr Package, passing in run situations, ultra-conservative playcalls on 3rd and long - that I have no confidence in his decision-making ability as a future HC.
  • I love Chris Turner, but this wasn't his year. If Jamarr Robinson was back at QB the entire year, Maryland might pull out an extra win. That's nothing against Turner, but rather the OL. With Robinson, though, Maryland might not win JMU or Clemson, in which Turner was at his best. Regardless, Robinson was better suited to this patchwork OL.
  • On the topic of QBs, how about next year? I can't wait for the position battle brewing already. Robinson is the most experienced, but his performance this year shouldn't have given him the spot. Clay Belton looks talented and I love his potential. Danny O'Brien is the smartest of them all, but has the least physical tools. C.J. Brown is the opposite - he's fast with a cannon arm, but people have questioned his decision-making. Don't forget about Tyler Smith - who has amazing tape but average stats - and Devin Burns, who's really grown on me in his senior year as a possible starter from day one.
  • We can't even handicap this race, though, until a coach is decided. If it's Friedgen, the starter will likely be O'Brien or Robinson. If it's Franklin, the starter will probably be Robinson. If it's someone else, well...
  • The offensive line will be improved, yes, but don't think they'll transform into greatness overnight. Part of the problem was experience, yes, but another part was talent. For a former OL, Fridge has never really attacked OL recruiting, and it's hurt.
  • Torrey Smith's second half of the year was supremely disappointing, but his first half was wonderful. If he can put together an entire season like that, he'll be an All-American contender.
  • Don't sleep on Adrian Cannon or Ronnie Tyler, either. Both have shown a ton of potential. Get Tyler to catch the easy ones and don't let Cannon disappear so easily, and Maryland is absolutely loaded at WR. Remember, LaQuan Williams, Kevin Dorsey, and Kerry Boykins will all return, too.
  • Maryland's still loaded at RB, too. Da'Rel Scott is one of the best in the ACC, and Davin Meggett will be better with him healthy. Porzel should see time as a slot receiver once in a blue moon and get a few carries a game. Gary Douglas, unfortunately, will probably be relegated to backup status. D.J. Adams should be the goal line back. That's five guys that were three stars or better.
  • Does this seem overly positive? Maybe, but Maryland's stacked at WR and RB next year. Find a decent QB and an OL that isn't blown over by the wind, and next season could be very fun, especially if they land an "offensive genius" like Mike Leach.
  • On the other side, I'm not sure how much the DL will improve. The talent will be the same, except they'll be even less experienced, if that's possible. They lose both starting DEs in Jared Harrell and Deege Galt; you won't find me singing their praises a lot, but who's behind them are questionable. Derek Drummond was average this year. DeOnte Arnett is talented but unproven. Carl Russell couldn't get on the field. Justin Anderson and Masengo Kabongo saw most of their time at DT. I'm not enthralled with the ends unless freshman David Mackall can make as early an impact as some people think.
  • The DTs are slotted to be a bit better, but not a ton. A.J. Francis thankfully returns and looks to be pretty good, but the other slot is open and gaping. Travis Ivey wasn't amazing, but he was consistently solid. There's no one definitely slotted to take that spot over. Much like last year, the entire DL will probably be a position battle.
  • Alex Wujciak will probably be All-ACC, though I'm not sure he deserves it. Tackles are an overrated stat when the guy's behind a terrible DL, and Wujciak racked them up with ease. He's good, don't get me wrong, but he's not as outstanding as a lot of people assume. His athleticism isn't top-level and he's vulnerable in coverage and in the open field. Still, he's the best Maryland has against the run up the middle.
  • I'm very excited about Demetrius Hartsfield. Cinquante Neuf has the potential to be very, very good. He's athletic, physical, and is ahead of where Adrian Moten and Wujciak were their freshman years.
  • Cameron Chism is a legit #1 corner in the ACC (he has the talent and the playmaking ability), but who's the #2? This year, it was Anthony Wiseman, and that didn't turn out too well. My money's on the big, physical Travis Hawkins, who will probably be better than Chism eventually.
  • This year wasn't quite what we expected from the safeties. The seniors were okay, but Antwine Perez and Kenny Tate - the starters next year - were inconsistent. The pair is definitely talented, I won't argue that, but both have made questionable decisions and are inconsistent. If they can patch that up, they'll be among the best in the country. If not, teams will beat Maryland deep on a consistent basis.
  • Is Nick Ferrara really the MVP? If not for Torrey Smith's decline, I would've said no, but he just might be. Great year from the freshman. He'll be a stud in the coming years.
  • Some quick thoughts on the likely coaching search: Billick, Leach, London, Strong, Golden, Gill, Foster, Nuimatalolo. In that order.