There was a chance that Maryland would be bad this year, but *this* bad was nearly unthinkable.
In Year 5 of Randy Edsall, the Terrapins have no passing game to speak of (and yet insist on relying on it regularly) and make too many mistakes to win with their ultra-conservative style. When faced with an up-and-coming forward-thinking coach in Bowling Green's Dino Babers, one thing was clear: Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley were overmatched.
With Maryland's defenders playing deeper in coverage due to Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson's ability to sling it down the field, the Falcons focused almost entirely on quick passes to get the ball to playmakers like Roger Lewis (15 receptions, 200 yards) in space. Bowling Green also ran the ball nearly as much as it passed (55 pass attempts, 50 rushes), averaging 4.0 yards per carry, and the variety of playcalling combined with the Falcons' frenetic pace kept the defense guessing.
Meanwhile, Maryland's offense was an absolute trainwreck, once again.
I mean, look at this. What the heck is this?
You're going up against a team that just gave up 399 yards rushing on 6.2 yards per carry, after a game in which it was clear your running game was much stronger than your passing game, and not a single back gets more than nine carries? It's even worse than it looks! Five of Hills's eight runs were designed pass plays that turned into scrambles, meaning the actual playcalling difference was closer to 38 passes, 21 rushes.
What is Maryland's offensive identity? It can't just be "pray the other team kicks to Will Likely," so, what is it?
Despite C.J. Brown's limitations, at least with him at quarterback Maryland knew it could have some success with the read option game. The Richmond game suggested the Terrapins would develop more of a power-running style this year. The success of Wes Brown in his limited carries Saturday sure seems to suggest that would have been a better idea than having Perry Hills throw 30 passes.
None of this was more evident than when Maryland, in a close game in the second half, called eight straight passing plays over the course of three drives. Those eight plays totaled nine yards and resulted in two punts for Maryland, and then the game ended like this.
Most of these issues come down to one fact: Maryland does not have a capable quarterback on its roster. That is the fault of the coaching staff, which has been unable to bring in a quality passer or develop one in five years under Edsall (and four under Locksley). Maryland has also proven unable to adjust its offensive gameplan without a capable quarterback, which again is the job of the coaching staff.
So let's talk about Mike Locksley!
Mike Locksley has had exactly one good offense and one passable offense in his 10 years as an offensive coordinator/head coach, and none of them have been at Maryland.
In 2007, Illinois had Rashard Mendenhall, Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn. In 2008, the Illini had the latter two players. At no other time has Mike Locksley produced a top-50 offense.
Locksley is a terrific recruiter who is one of the best in the nation at locking down DMV talent. Four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins comes in next year (as well as some other notable local blue-chippers), and that should help in the long term. But we're in the present now, and what we saw Saturday was absolutely miserable.
Every single defense Maryland will play from here on out will be better than Bowling Green's, and Maryland's inability to find ways to move the ball against the Falcons is unacceptable.
Maryland lost because of a series of errors, not just one. And those errors started before Saturday.
In short, it's become really hard to blame these fans:
"RAAAA-AAAALPH FRIEDGEN" chants audible on BTN
— draxx grootman (@Pete_Volk) September 12, 2015