COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Terps have a long, rich history of "wild-man" middle linebackers from New Jersey, going back a few decades to Mike Jarmolowich, who had a penchant for motorcycles and leather jackets, to more recently thumper Alex Wujciak, who also had a big personality, to now Garden Stater Cole Farrand. All three were in the mold of 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, and all loved to hit with games of 20-plus tackles on their Terrapin resumes.
And while Farrand may look the part as well, with his long, Wujciak-like locks flowing out of his helmet, the comparison mostly ends there.
Farrand is more reserved and modest, and mostly lets his game do the talking.
The senior from Green Pond, N.J., is adding to a 'Mike' legacy that stalwarts Jarmolowich and Wujciak would be proud of, and he's starting to get recognized for it.
Last season, despite playing with a broken hand and later to find out a concussion as well, Farrand racked up 23 tackles against Clemson. Last week at Indiana, he nearly reached that plateau, amassing 19 as the Terps won their Big Ten opener over the Hoosiers. That performance earned him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, while he now ranks third on the team in stops with 35 despite not starting two games after a lingering camp foot injury. Fittingly, his 23 stops versus Clemson last year was the most by a Terp since Jarmolowich back in 1990.
Farrand also gets it done in the classroom, where he was a two-time Academic All-ACC honoree, and on the field as an Honorable Mention all-ACC pick last season.
And for good measure in the IU game, Farrand also added 1.5 tackles for a loss and a pass breakup. It all came at a perfect time for the Maryland defense, which was looking to get healthy after injuries hit both the linebacker and defensive line corps, and IU came in with the nation's best back and one of the hottest offenses. Farrand helped snuff that out, along with a little help from his friends, like defensive linemen Darius Kilgo and Keith Bowers, setting the edge and occupying IU lineman so he could get clean looks and scrape away to all those stops (11 were solos).
"I knew I was playing well, I felt good out there, and the D-line was doing a great job in front of me and they were opening up holes and everyone was doing their job," Farrand said. "It was a product of everyone doing their job....they just happened to run the ball to me more often so I could capitalize and look a lot better. But it was definitely a team effort."
The Terps were still missing Matt Robinson and Alex Twine, but had regained the full services of senior outside linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil. The Terps knew running back Tevin Coleman, who led the nation at 189.7 ypg coming in, and IU's second-rated Big Ten offense would be a challenge to finally stop the bleeding. The Terps had been coming off run-game bludgeonings at Syracuse, and the week before versus West Virginia at home, where they were gashed for reams of yards on the ground.
"We definitely had a chip on our shoulder that yeah, we can stop the run and we are going to go out and prove it against one of the best offenses in the Big Ten," Farrand said of IU.
This week Farrand and the Terps will have to deal with yet another spread look, and with a running quarterback in Ohio State's J.T. Barrett.
Farrand said the unit has begun to "click on all cylinders," and each player knows their assignments better. They got better fit after losing gap control in the prior games. The Terps hope to return Twine and Robinson this week. OSU has a large, athletic offensive line, and the Terps must get some pressure and make plays on the perimeter yet again.
"Fortunately we have seen the spread offense a lot, and we are able to practice against it a lot, which is good for us," Farrand said. "Everyone just has to play their assignments."
Farrand was quick to give credit to all of the Terps defensive linemen, who have risen to the challenge despite losing starter Quinton Jefferson for the season. He cited a play at IU that summed it up.
"[Darius] Kilgo is playing great, same as Keith Bowers and Andre Monroe. Those guys have motors," Farrand said. "There was a play where Darius kind of sniffed out a screen and he ended up tackling the running back in the backfield. They hustle every play, and it makes my job easier because they keep the linemen on them the whole time."
Said Terps defensive coordinator Brian Stewart of Farrand on Oct. 1:
"He just played well, and we play well when he is on the field. He kinda calms any storm we may have, and he did a great job with a lot of tackles for losses, just did a great job. He always plays and practices with the same intensity."
Terps offensive lineman Andrew Zeller sees it all the time from Farrand, in both games and practices, and said its contagious.
"Oh yeah, everybody definitely noticed his game. You heard his name every other time over the loudspeaker, so you know he was having a good game," Zeller said. "Just to see him out there fly around, it really pumped us up. And when the defense is able to get their offense off the field....you know, Indiana had a very fast-paced offense and they are able to put up points on a lot of people and keep the clock moving. So for Cole to go out there and have the game that he did as far as production, it helped us out a lot and it pumped us up because if they are not allowed on the field we don't have to score as many points on offense."
Farrand said the award this week was nice, but he reflected it back to the team again. He said that when he watched the game film again this week, he saw how much a team effort it truly was.
Farrand said the stakes are higher this week with even more on the line. But in his modest way he described the Big Ten home opener as such:
"It's a great opportunity. But we're just to going to go out and play Maryland football," Farrand said.
Farrand Adds To Terps 'Mike' Legacy
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