A performance worthy of ACC Rookie of the Week honors? Ill take it.
Danny OBrien did just enough to win in a tough environment at Boston College this week, which is a huge accomplishment against a Boston College team that has been surprisingly tough against the pass throughout the 2010 season. The fact that OBrien managed to put up three touchdown passes and zero turnovers against a team that already has 11 interceptions on the year, including two returned for touchdowns, is pretty impressive.
While the freshman quarterback never really took many chances with the football, he followed the dink and dunk game-plan to perfection and even spread the ball around a little bit, throwing touchdown passes to Torrey Smith, Ronnie Tyler, and Kerry Boykins. With a healthy Jamarr Robinson now holding a clipboard on the sidelines, it is clearly evident that this is OBriens team, and that certainly isnt a bad thing at all.
Running Backs: C
It seems that the hot streak that the Terrapin running backs were on early in the season has come to a very quick halt. The duo of DaRel Scott and Davin Meggett managed a putrid 2.1 and 2.6 yards per carry, respectively, which obviously isnt going to cut it in a supposedly run-oriented Terrapin offense. Its tough to completely blame the backs for their ineffectiveness this week, though, because injuries to the O-Line seem to have regressed the unit back to 2009-esque levels, and when a unit that bad faces a Boston College defense that currently ranks fourth in the country in rushing defense, you know that its only going to end in disaster. Unfortunately, thats exactly what happened.
This unit showcased a surprisingly complete performance this week, something that we simply havent seen over the course of the year. In the first 6 games, the passing game consisted of either Torrey Smith (and only Torrey Smith), or an offense that consisted of spreading the ball to two or three receivers per game. On Saturday, the coaches finally seem the meld the two game plans together and create a passing offense that tried to feature Smiths explosiveness as well as spread the ball out to the other pass-catchers as well.
The plan worked, as Smith ended the day with 8 catches and a touchdown, and while those catches resulted in only 34 yards, it was still a good sign to see Smith fully integrated into the offense.
Also, when did Ronnie Tyler become a pass-catching threat? After being sparingly used as a receiver/halfback hybrid in the first half of the season, Tyler has developed into a very serviceable slot receiver with surprising speed. Add a rejuvenated Adrian Cannon and a productive Kerry Boykins to the mix, and we have ourselves a quality receiving unit that performed quite admirably.
Offensive Line: C-
I thought about giving this group a lower grade because of their awful showing in the run game, but I couldnt, considering the fact that they did somehow play better than last week.
The unit, while terrible at run blocking, did manage to give Danny OBrien a decent amount of time in the pocket, which enabled him to sit comfortably and find the open receiver, no matter whom it was. The Eagles only managed to generate pressure on a few notable occasions, which is a huge improvement over the nonstop pressure of weeks past.
Also, without Pete DeSouza in the lineup the unit managed to get called for ZERO holding penalties. I couldnt be happier about this, because it seemed like every single one of those penalties in the previous weeks killed a drive in the third or fourth quarter. Luckily, they came through when it counted on Saturday.
Defensive Line: C-
There was absolutely zero pressure on Boston College QB Chase Rettig throughout the entire game by the defensive line. The secondary was luckily able to bail the unit out with some terrific plays, but this unit at least has to be able to do something against an experienced line like BCs.
While theyre at it, the group should probably make a few tackles next game. This unit was one of the main reasons why running back Montel Harris was able to continually burst through the line and get to the second level of the Maryland defense. I know the defensive line has the ability to stop a runner of Harriss caliber, as they stopped an arguably more dangerous and more explosive threat last week in Clemsons Andre Ellington. So all this unit really needs is a little consistency. Hopefully theyll gain it sooner rather than later.
These games of decent-but-not-great play by the linebackers have got to stop. This unit is without question the most talented and most experienced defensive group on the team, and while they were making plays when the team needed them the most early in the season, that just isnt the case now.
Adrian Moten seems to have lost that play-making prowess that he showcased earlier in the season, and the defense is paying for it. With nary a hit on the quarterback, Moten couldnt generate a single bit of pressure, and his only bright spot was a clutch tackle-for-loss in the fourth quarter.
Its really the same story for the other backers as well, as the only real other notable spot in the game was an 8-tackle day by Alex Wujciak. This unit is going to need to be play better, especially in the run game, if they want to keep up the winning record that the Terrapins have right now. I think they can do it, but games like this leave me questioning.
Defensive Backs: A-
Finally, a bright spot! First of all, this unit limited Eagles QB Chase Rettig to only 189 yards through the air on 33 attempts, a very stingy number that was badly needed. Combined with the solid coverage, the safety tandem of Kenny Tate and Antwine Perez were basically the entire Maryland defense, as Tate managed the teams only sack of Rettig and Perez had a fumble recovery and two interceptions. Their big plays helped change the course of the game and limit a very talented Eagles offense to only 285 yards total, even with Montel Harris running wild in the middle of the field. A very nice performance from this group.
Special Teams: B
Oh where, oh where has the lights-out special teams play of only two weeks ago? Lets start off with the return game, where for some reason Tony Logan isnt being allowed to return every kickoff and punt. While Logan is receiving all of the punt returning duties, the kickoff returns are going to Torrey Smith, which is certainly not smart considering that the receiver is still injured, and Tony Logan is an all-world explosive playmaker.
Smith was predictably on his two returns this week, only gaining 38 yards between the two of them. Logan, meanwhile, continued to show off his break-neck speed in returning punts, and almost broke another one for a touchdown that was only halted after Logan had already made it past virtually the entire Boston College special teams unit. He was impressive, but Smith left much to be desired.
Travis Baltz, on the other hand, continued to show off his foot of gold. After his first missed field goal of the season last weekend, Baltz clanged home his only attempt this week, from 46 yards. He also boomed his punts this week, averaging 40.8 yards an attempt.
Overall, the special teams unit was quite good, but Smiths poor returns bring down the grade.