Ahead of Maryland football’s first Big Ten game of the season against No. 12 Penn State, we decided to take a look at what the opposing side is saying about the matchup.
Here’s what the Nittany had to say about the Terps, per their weekly press conference.
Coach James Franklin on Maryland posing a bigger challenge this season: “Well, I’m not really that concerned about the past. I’m more concerned about what we’ve seen on tape and what we know about this team now. They have always been very talented. I think we all saw how they played Ohio State last year. They have always had speed, even from when I was there, we always had a lot of speed on the roster from the area.
Then obviously you got a head coach who has got an offensive background and been successful. You know, was able to get there at a time where the roster was in a pretty good place and then also, we’re able to get a quarterback to transfer in that started a lot of games. That experience I think has been valuable and I think the system fits him well, too.
So they are doing a good job. They are doing a good job of taking advantage of the athletes they have. They have done a good job of building confidence in how they play and who they have played. There’s no doubt that we’re going to be walking into a significant challenge on the defensive side of the ball come Friday night, as well as offense and special teams.”
Franklin on players he’s looking out for: “You look at guys we’ve been impressed with, their center, Johnny Jordan. Obviously Tyler Bowen’s got some history specifically with their offensive line. Smart, physical, tough player. Sean Christie has played a lot of football for them, their left guard. Anthony McFarland is a guy that could change the game at any moment. They have got a number of running backs that can hurt you.
Their one running back they have moved to the slot, doing a good job there, as well, and Dontay Demus the wide receiver out of Washington, D.C. has done a nice job for them. They are a spread personnel team, is how I would describe them. They will go 11, 12 and then 20 personnel with a two-back flex formation. They are going to run the RPO stuff. Obviously, they are committed to running the ball and are doing a good job with that. ...
... You look at guys that we’ve been impressed with on tape, No. 5, Shaq Smith who is a Clemson transfer, Keandre Jones who is an Ohio State transfer, No. 4. Tino Ellis, seems like he’s been playing there forever, and then the very productive Antoine Brooks, who plays their strong safety/nickel, however you want to characterize that.”
Franklin on Shaq Smith and the rest of their defense: “It’s the athleticism. You know, with both of those guys that transferred from Ohio State and Clemson, it’s their athleticism. I think what the defensive coordinator and defensive coaches are doing a good job is playing to those guys’ strengths and allowing them to be successful in what they do best.
You know, obviously studying those guys on tape, you look at their production has been pretty good. You know, obviously they are two different players. You got one guy who is a speed player and you’ve got one guy who has got the ability to do both at 250 pounds. We know both guys very well.
So I think that’s the best thing they are doing is they are playing to their personnel strengths really on offense, defense and special teams.”
Linebacker Cam Brown on Maryland’s offense: “They have a very strong run game. Anthony McFarland is running extremely hard right now. I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge because we have been playing really well on defense and stopping the run, like with Pitt last week. Their biggest challenge is going to be us recognizing all the formations because they run a lot of formations out of different packages. I feel like that’s going to be the biggest challenge for us.
I feel like, other than that, other than recognition and playing with them, I feel like we have the talent and coaching to do anything against them.”
Brown on whether facing a mobile quarterback like Josh Jackson poses a challenge: “No, I do not think so honestly. I feel like Pitt’s quarterback was very mobile. I feel like he’s improved a lot. So I feel like going against Maryland’s quarterback, who is now I guess considered as a dual-threat quarterback, should not be an issue for us.”
Cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields on recognizing when Jackson moves out of the pocket: “I think that’s very important, just to be able to get off blocks. Also staying on your man for scramble rules because he is going to scramble. You just have to make sure your eyes are always at the right spot.”