The Maryland Football team didnt exactly live up to expectations this week, as they lost their much-anticipated matchup with the then 21st ranked West Virginia Mountaineers. The Terrapins were, for lack of a better word, embarrassed for three quarters, and though the team did mount a bit of a comeback late in the game, very few quality grades will be passed out in this weeks Terrapin Report Card.
Does nobody want the backup quarterback job for this team? A week after third-string quarterback went C.J. Brown went down with an injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season, backup QB Danny OBrien re-aggravated an ankle injury that could keep him out for weeks or even months. Luckily, the Terps have stocked up on quality signal-callers, as freshman Devin Burns looks to be the new Maryland backup. He probably wont see much time, but itll be interesting to see how he fares if he does indeed get any playing time.
Now on to the QB who actually did play: Jamarr Robinson. Robinson came out of the gate looking like his old conservative self, as he frequently opted for short throws and never really threw the ball downfield for the first few quarters. But when the third quarter came around, everything changed. Robinson heaved two beautifully thrown touchdowns to Torrey Smith that changed the momentum of the game, and he finally showed what Maryland fans have been waiting to see all season: that Robinson can, in fact, throw the ball farther than twenty yards. Overall, Robinson was decent, and you have to give him credit for performing admirably in the face of an overwhelming amount of pressure from the West Virginia defensive line.
Running Backs: C
This ones tough, as the Terrapins had to revert to a pass-heavy attack pretty early on in the game after falling behind so quickly. However, when the running attack was used, there really wasnt much there. David Meggett never really got into a rhythm and was limited to only 30 yards, and while DaRel Scott continued to show off a quality all-around game, it wasnt enough to lift the grade of a unit that only averaged under three yards a carry. Overall, it was a disappointing week for a unit that really never got going.
Honestly, as a unit, the receiving corps probably doesnt deserve this grade. But boy, did Torrey Smith show off what kind of athlete he was. Smith was a BEAST in this game, catching two balls that any normal, non-freakish athlete would not have caught. But Smith did, and he managed to bring the Terrapins back into the game with both of them. And while the rest of the unit did virtually nothing, Smith alone makes this grade an A.
Offensive Line: D+
Just an ugly performance by this group. They werent able to create holes for the running backs when the team did try to run in the early-going, but their biggest weaknesses were obviously in pass-protection. To allow your quarterback to get sacked eight times in a game and expect to have even a reasonable chance to win is just not going to cut it, and this group needs to improve, and quickly, if it hopes to compete top-flight ACC defenses.
To make matters worse, starting left tackle Justin Gilbert was injured in the game and did not return. This is a huge loss for the Terrapin O-line, as left tackle is arguably the most important spot on the line, and without an at least somewhat serviceable player there, the chances of Jamarr Robinson having any time to throw without ending up on the ground are very slim.
Defensive Line: C
This was certainly not a great performance by this group. There was never really any pressure on Mountaineers QB Geno Smith, and that all starts with the men in the middle of the defense. If Maryland wants to blitz with their linebackers, theyre going to need the opposition to at least respect their interior line, and that certainly did not happen today.
As far as the lines play on run defense, it was surprisingly decent, with the exception of a few key plays. Noel Devine did his thing in running over the line in the early going, especially with that HUGE fifty-yarder early on, but the group settled down and held Devine relatively in check. While their run defense helps the grade, this line was still nothing more than average.
I would love to give this group a higher grade based on the way theyve played to start the year, but with a subpar outing on Saturday, I just cant. While Adrian Moten did have manage to add another sack to his already outstanding total, and Demetrius Hartsfield and Alex Wujciak worked together to force and recover a fumble, Im still severely disappointed in the lack of tackling by this group.
The main job of a linebacker should be to apply pressure and wrap up ball-carriers, and while the group did somewhat apply that pressure, as I talked about earlier, there were countless tackles to be made that were missed, simply because of a lack of effort and technique by this group. And these guys know better than that, as Moten and Wujciak have been in the defense for a ten years combined between them, and they should have no problem wrapping up running backs or receivers, even ones as tricky as Devine.
Defensive Backs: C
While the defensive line wasnt exactly applying pressure, and the linebackers werent really doing their part either, the secondary was, to put it bluntly, picked apart by Geno Smith. While Kenny Tate managed to have a nice game with seven combined tackles and a terrific interception that was returned 53 yards, the rest of the backs could not stop anything that the Mountaineer offense was throwing at them. Theyre going to surely be getting some serious flack from Coach Friedgen this week, as if their play doesnt improve, teams will start to take advantage of this part of the Terrapin defense.
Special Teams: B
Nothing too exciting here, as the team never really broke any kick returns of considerable length. While the team did allow a very long return of a punt by Jock Sanders, Travis Baltzs excellent punting made up for it. Baltz has been absolutely fantastic all season, even when filling in as kicker, and this week was no exception. Baltz consistently hit his punts high and far, and was even quite accurate with each kick, as they almost always ended up within the opponents twenty-yard line.