Here's a wrap-up of each offensive unit and an evaluation of how it performed in 2013.
Team MVP: C.J. Brown
Offensive MVP: C.J. Brown
Defensive MVP: Marcus Whitfield
Coach of the Year: DC Brian Stewart
Rookie of the Year: Will Likely
Comeback Player of the Year: Andre Monroe
C.J. Brown made a valiant return from his season-ending ACL injury last year, putting together a praiseworthy junior campaign. A dual-threat, Brown finished fourth in the ACC and 38th in the country with 258.3 total yards per game. When Maryland's two most talented playmakers, Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, suffered season-ending leg injuries, it was Brown who filled the void.
In terms of passing, Brown, who missed two games due to a concussion and a trunk injury, finished 152-for-258 (58.9 percent) for 2,045 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. His 204.5 passing yards per game and 134.9 passer efficiency rating both ranked sixth in the ACC. Besides the games against non-BCS foes, Brown had his best throwing performances against West Virginia (210 yards, 65.4 percent completions, 145.9 rating), Boston College (178 yards, 61.3 percent completions, 120.2 rating) and N.C. State (259 yards, two touchdowns, 165.4 rating).
For the most part, Brown showed off a decent arm, didn't force too many throws and was able to give his receivers chances to make plays. At the same time, he did have spates of inaccuracy and left his wideouts out to dry from time to time. Against Wake Forest, for example, he threw two costly picks, while Syracuse held him to a 52.5 completion percentage and also nabbed two interceptions. There were a couple instances this year when head coach Randy Edsall said Brown needed to perform better for the offense to take the next step.
Passing, though, is only part of what made Brown valuable to the Maryland offense. His rushing, which is detailed in the running backs section below, was vital to the team's success.
But during the two games Brown was out, his backup, sophomore Caleb Rowe, actually showed some guile. Though not a runner like Brown, Rowe has the best arm on the team and can let it fly downfield. Rowe suffered from some poor decision making and ill-timed throws (see: two interceptions in a rough game against Clemson), but the raw potential is clearly there. He actually holds the team's season-high in passing yards for a game (332 against Virginia) and the longest throw (77 yards against Virginia).
During the victory against UVA, Rowe completed just 18-of-34 throws, but he hit on several deep balls and racked up the aforementioned 332 yards and a touchdown, good enough for a 144.7 rating. Clemson, though, exposed Rowe; even though the signal caller threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns, he completed 43 percent of his passes and had those two glaring picks. For the season, Rowe finished 64-of-131 (48.9 percent) for 989 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Maryland's rushing offense left something to be desired this season as, for the second straight year, none of the three backs separated themselves. It certainly didn't help that the team's most talented rusher, Wes Brown, was dismissed from school before the season (he's due back in January), but even so, Maryland probably expected more out of the Brandon Ross-Albert Reid combination.
The sophomore Ross, a burly runner with good power and decent speed, did average a respectable 4.5 yards per carry and ranked among the ACC's top 10 rushers at 60 yards per game, but he didn't exactly establish himself as a clear feature runner. Although the offensive line didn't do him many favors, there were several incidents where Ross hit the wrong hole, fumbled the ball, or didn't show quite enough burst to bust into the second level. Ross, who finished with 660 yards and four touchdowns, did have a season-high 149-yard game against Old Dominion, but he failed to get going against the likes of Florida State, Wake Forest or Syracuse.
Reid, meanwhile, received just 67 carries this year, and he was able to gain 286 yards, good enough for a 4.3 YPC average. The sophomore scored twice this season and had his best performances against ODU (seven carries, 56 yards, touchdown) and Clemson (15 carries, 70 yards), the latter of which he started in place of Ross. Reid has some pop and toughness to him, but he's a similar runner to Ross and didn't do enough to unseat the starter.
The team's third back, freshman Jacquille Veii, was moved from corner to running back with Brown out, and while he showed flashes of potential, he never received a true opportunity to establish himself. A quick-twitch, speedy runner who is altogether different than Ross and Reid, Veii would've seemed like a viable fit for a Maryland offense in need of potentially explosive playmakers. But he never really got going, receiving just 37 total carries and catching five passes. Veii racked up 143 rushing yards (3.9 YPC) and had a season-long 26-yard tote against ODU.
When healthy, Maryland's most effective runner was actually quarterback C.J. Brown, a dual-threat who excelled in the zone read. The junior Brown didn't finish as the team's leading rusher because he took 170 negative yards in sacks, but he still managed 538 yards, a 4.4 YPC average and a robust 12 touchdown runs. Brown had four 100-yard games this season, including a pair of 122-yard performances and an impressive 138-yard, three-touchdown effort again N.C. State. Brown had at least a half-dozen runs of 30 yards or longer this season.
Overall, Maryland finished 11th in the ACC and 87th nationally with 144.6 rushing yards per game, and UMD did not have one back featured among the top 100 nationally in YPG. The team's 4.06 yards per carry was slightly better compared to other conference opponents, though the Terps still finished eighth.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Take away explosive sophomore Stefon Diggs and touted transfer Deon Long, both of whom went down after seven games, and Maryland did not have one qualified receiver ranked among Division I-A's top 150 in yards per game. Without those two dynamic threats, the Terps lacked a reliable downfield option and a consistent playmaker. Even though the likes of sophomores Levern Jacobs and Nigel King had their moments, both dropped a few catchable balls (see: Syracuse game, Clemson game) and just didn't force defenses to respect them the way Diggs did.
The speedy Jacobs ended up leading the squad with 40 catches for 540 yards and two touchdowns, and he did come on late during the year. Jacobs recorded at least six catches in four of Maryland's last five games and had a career-high eight-catch, 158-yard day against Clemson. Jacobs, though, has to build off his campaign and can't suffer through mental lapses when the Terps need him to convert.
King was supposed to be the underrated third link in Maryland's receiving corps, but the Terps are still waiting for him to burst out on a weekly basis. Sure, he showed off his size-speed combination on a 53-yard touchdown catch against N.C. State, and yes he averaged 15.2 yards per catch and hauled in a scoring throw against Clemson, but he also disappeared at times and failed to come up with some decent passes. King finished fourth on the squad with 31 receptions for 428 yards and four scores.
Redshirt freshman Amba Etta-Tawo is sort of in the same boat as King. He's not quite as talented, but he has potential. Now, he just has to consistently cull it out. Etta-Tawo finished 2013 with 29 catches for 449 yards and two scores, including a standout season-ender against N.C. State. Etta-Tawo's four catch, 101-yard effort was the second time he'd surpassed the century mark this season, as he pulled down six balls for 109 yards against Syracuse.
As for Diggs and Long, the two did their thing while it lasted. The former still ended up second on the team with 34 catches for 587 yards and three touchdowns, including a sensational 66-yard score against FIU and a 41 yarder against ODU. Diggs' 179 yard effort against ODU was a single-game season-high for a Terps receiver as he built on his stellar freshman season. But even when the ball wasn't thrown in Diggs' direction, he forced defenses to shadow him, allowing the likes of Long and Co. to come open.
And Long did indeed take advantage. The Iowa Western transfer was third on the squad with 32 catches for 489 yards and a touchdown. He exploded onto the scene with a nine-catch, 110-yard effort against FIU and had a pair of 98-yard games against West Virginia and Virginia as well. Though not as dynamic as Diggs, Long can stretch the field, make defenders miss and come up with the tough catches.
At tight end, senior Dave Stinebaugh finally managed to stay healthy for most of the year, which is a victory in and of itself. Though he mostly contributed as an extra blocker, Stinebaugh managed 13 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns. His 12-yard score against Virginia helped Maryland escape with a narrow victory.
It would have been difficult to play as poorly as the 2012 version of Maryland's offensive line, which ranked among the bottom three units in Division I-A in sacks allowed. And though this year's Terps trenchmen won't make anyone forget the 1962 Packers, they did indeed play better than last year. Especially during Maryland's last three games, when, despite a rash of injuries and constant reshuffles, the unit seemed somewhat cohesive (at times).
Sophomore Ryan Doyle shifted from right tackle to left tackle when freshman Moise Larose suffered a concussion and was relatively effective guarding C.J. Brown's blindside. Former walk-on redshirt freshman Mike Dunn, who had been starting at right guard, moved out to tackle and didn't play poorly either. Meanwhile, backup sophomore guard Andrew Zeller assumed Dunn's old spot, and while he struggled at times, he mostly held his own.
But playing well against an N.C. State is one thing; holding up against the ACC's -- and next year the Big Ten's -- best is something else entirely. So while there were some positives to take away from the line, there's room for improvement. After all, Maryland still finished in the bottom half of the ACC with 24 sacks allowed, and too often there was little push when run blocking.
Doyle was stood up numerous times at right tackle and on several occasions got beaten off the ball. Dunn, when he was at right guard, didn't always pick up blitzers, sometimes failed to maintain leverage, could be pushed around by elite defensive tackles, and wasn't exactly a second-level presence. Even junior center Sal Conaboy, perhaps the team's best returning blocker, had a few issues with center-quarterback exchanges. Conaboy still mostly did the job, but there were instances when he had miscommunications with the guards and missed on combo blocks.
The line's left side didn't exactly shine either. Much was expected out of senior guard De'Onte Arnett, but he never really took a step forward. Arnett didn't show a potent first step and seemed to play on his heels against better D-linemen. Meanwhile, the team's initial starting left tackle, sophomore Mike Madaras, left the program in late October. Though Madaras played OK during his time in College Park, he may have been better suited at guard.
As for the backups, junior guard Silvano Altamirano looked promising during the preseason, but he didn't do enough to push into the lineup, despite all the moving parts/injuries. Senior tackle Nick Klemm, meanwhile, started the year hurt and never really made a significant contribution. Larose earned praise as a scout-team player, but he understandably had some blocking/illegal formation issues during his one start this year against Syracuse before being sidelined the rest of the season.
Terps Team Evaluations: Offense
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