Maryland football’s defense has had three solid games and four rough outings this season. Unsurprisingly, that’s directly correlated with the team’s 3-4 record.
With the team desperate for a win, DJ Durkin, and anybody else who spoke to the media this week, seemed to be in agreement that the team was one the verge of a breakout. We’ve already looked at Durkin’s comments this week, but senior defensive leaders Jermaine Carter Jr. and Josh Woods feel like the Terps are ready to put the past behind them and perform up to standard this weekend against Indiana.
“Practice [Monday] was unbelievably fun,” Woods told assembled reporters Tuesday afternoon. “A lot of the leaders on both sides of the ball [were] just kind of trying to take the reigns back of the team, just making sure everybody has fun because when we have fun, we play better, we play looser.
“I feel like we’re breaking through whatever slump we were in.”
On Wednesday, Carter, who leads the defense in tackles and sacks, echoed those same sentiments.
“The last couple weeks have been a down couple of weeks,” Carter said, “Things that we were doing early, as a team, weren’t showing up on film, so we just needed to get back to those things. I think that started this week at practice. We’ve been having fun at practice, just flying around.”
Denzel Conyers, who’s on his last year of eligibility and battling his way back from a nasty knee injury, might just be on the verge of his own personal breakout.
“One day, I fell in practice,” Conyers said. “I went up for a ball and I came down on my right leg. It was gratifying knowing that I just did it without reacting. The more I was exposed to things, the better I felt and the more I felt like me everyday.”
Conyers has recorded seven tackles in only four games this season for the Terps, mainly on special teams and in mop-up time on defense, but that could change going forward, as he’s working his way back up the rotation. His presence in the defensive backfield is invaluable, not only because he’s the most experienced defensive back on the team, but because Maryland’s defense spends a lot of time on the field, and any added depth is a plus.
“You’re going to start seeing him in the rotation a lot more,” Buh said Wednesday.
With five games left on the schedule, only Penn State is the only remaining opponent that fits the bill as an offensive powerhouse. If there was ever a time for the Terps have a defensive renaissance, it would be now.
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