Fans got their first peak at DJ Durkin's Maryland football team on Saturday at the Terps' spring game. The Red team (defense) outscored the White team (offense) 51-35 but the final score of a spring game is always nothing to read into.
That said, here are a couple things you can take away from Maryland's spring game. It should be noted that there's almost nothing definitive you can take away from a spring game. It's a scrimmage between two teams that have been going after each other in practice for close to two months already, and neither side is showing off what you'll see from them in September. Here's the scoring system the team used for the game, in case you're wondering how a "defense" puts up 51 points:
Scoring format for today's game. pic.twitter.com/koXL1sW6Pt— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) April 16, 2016
Here's what we saw:
1. Walt Bell's offense is FAST. Maryland's new offensive coordinator brought in an offense that moves at a breakneck pace. Quarterbacks got to the line quickly, often snapped the ball extremely quickly, and rarely held the ball long enough to get sacked. Caleb Rowe, Perry Hills and Gage Shaffer each completed 40-plus-yard touchdown passes, but the offense was still boom-or-bust.
2. Calm down, there's still no clear quarterback starter yet. Rowe and Hills played the majority of snaps at quarterback, while Gage Shaffer saw some playing time as well. Still, Rowe and Hills should be the two main competitors in the race to claim the starting quarterback spot, and neither particularly distanced himself today. Neither threw an interception, which is probably the best sign you could ask for. Still, there were plenty of overthrows and incompletions, which stalled drives just as they did in the regular season. Here's how each QB finished:
3. Maryland's defense looked fine, for what that's worth. A big qualification is that they were playing Maryland's offense. After unenrolling in the fall due to eligibility issues, heralded defensive tackle Adam McLean got a few tackles, including one tackle for loss, in his first action in a Maryland uniform. Sacks were weird to measure, as a quarterback was immediately ruled down the second he was touched. Still, Maryland's defense played better than it's offense, for what that's worth.
4. Levern Jacobs looked the part of a No. 1 receiver. Marcus Leak had an impressive showing in last season's spring game before leaving the team for "personal reasons," and Jacobs just about matched that production Saturday. He finished with five catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns, although four of those catches and 107 of those yards came before halftime. The team's leading receiver in 2015 looked every bit the part of a No. 1 target, if only for one scrimmage against his own team. Rowe connected with him for a nice reception in the first quarter that got called back. This was arguably prettier and any of his touchdowns.
5. Ty Johnson, still fast. Maryland lost leading rusher Brandon Ross to graduation, but Ty Johnson looks the part of a back who can at least help shoulder the load as a sophomore. He broke this 64-yard touchdown run in the first quarter: