With the Maryland football team running through fall training camp, defensive coordinator Andy Buh sat with a group of interviewers from the Big Ten Network for an interview. It was revealing, and you can watch it here:
Leverage the ball.— Maryland On BTN (@MarylandOnBTN) August 15, 2016
Swarm to football.
That's what @UMDCoachBuh wants from @umterps D. https://t.co/yW77AdCqfU
The biggest bit of news from Buh here isn’t shocking, but it’s significant. Buh suggested Maryland’s defense will line up often with eight men around the defensive front, with a safety dragged in from the backfield.
"We’re gonna be an eight-man box. We’re gonna be a single-high football team. That’s not gonna be any secret after the first snap," Buh said. "We’re gonna be that, and we’re gonna stop the run. We’re gonna pressure the pass. The scheme’s probably the most irrelevant thing that we talk about with them. It’s more their effort, attitude and enthusiasm about the game."
Maryland head coach DJ Durkin has a defensive background, and he’ll have a close hand in how the Terrapins operate on that side of the ball.
When Durkin coordinated Michigan’s defense last season, the Wolverines played often in the nickel – with five defensive backs – but had the defensive front talent not to cede more than 3.6 yards per carry. Maryland may not have quite that luxury, but the presence of two potential shutdown cornerbacks in Will Likely and J.C. Jackson gives the Terps a better chance to survive against the pass with just one deep safety.
It sounds like Maryland’s strategy will be pretty simple: Stack the box, and try to make teams win on unfavorable down-and-distance situations. That’s just about every defense’s goal, of course.
"We’re gonna lay our hat on stopping the run and trying to get into those third-and-long situations, where we can be a little bit more creative," Buh said.
The Big Ten Network crew asked Buh about the defense’s best strengths, and he responded with an answer about which we can make some inferences.
"I would have to say the front’s coming along really well," he said. "We’ve got about three outside guys in the corner position that have really been making a lot of plays, so we’re really excited about that."
Sounds like good tidings for Maryland’s defensive line, which will have several new starters. It can't hurt to hear things are working well for Likely, Jackson and a third corner, whom I surmise is Alvin Hill but could be any number of players.
Maryland kicks off its season against Howard on Sept. 3.