Amidst some of the wreckage of Maryland 52-24 loss to Ohio State in the Terps Big Ten home opener on Oct. 4, Randy Edsall found a good teaching point as they head into their first bye week.
"I told our team today [Oct. 5] everybody should take the time this week to sit down and talk to [junior place-kicker] Brad [Craddock] and pick his brain," he said. "Because if you take a look and see how far he has come since he has been a freshman here, to where he is now? And I told them, I said, I think he is the best kicker in the country.
"And to see how he has put the time and effort, and how self-motivated and the leader that he is and everything else. I am very proud for him to be able to do that."
The Terps' head man said what with the wind at his back Oct. 4, he didn't hesitate to put the junior Craddock in for his school-record 57-yard field goal to open the Terps scoring on Saturday. Edsall was also pleased with the entire delivery, as true freshman Nate Adams was stepping in for starter Christian Carpenter, who was injured last week.
Edsall praised both Craddock's kickoffs and school-record boot, but said none of its surprises him based on Craddock's work and preparation. Edsall said based on the wind, he'll be comfortable with Craddock to 60 yards now. After camp Edsall said the comfort level was 55 yards.
Edsall said that how hard he works, studies, and seeks information, from both within the program and out, has taken Craddock's game to the next level. Craddock has worked for over a year with former Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover.
"You talk about a young man who has come a long way since coming over here from Australia," Edsall said.
Meanwhile, Edsall said that after looking at the game film that when playing a team as good as OSU, "you can't lose the turnover battle 4-0. Can't lose the field position battle minus-19 to minus-44. Can't the time of possession, third down.... those are the things you can't have go against you in order to beat a team like that. And those are the things that happened. I thought we had good effort from our guys, but we got to be able to get more positive things done in that game," Edsall said.
Edsall was pleased with just the two penalties assessed the Terps, "but again, we are still giving up way too many big plays defensively in order to be the kind of defense that we need to be. And we weren't as able to get as many big plays offensively that we had been getting. And a lot of that was because of the speed and athleticism of Ohio State."
Edsall saw other positives as well, like some of the goal line stands and red zone stops (two), but still they didn't do enough good things consistently on defense. Offensively, he liked the first half long drive. But both sides of the ball, there was just not enough consistency and players at times getting away from their technique, he said.
"Guys got kinda got out of the moment. Whether they panicked a little bit or just got a little over-anxious, they got away from doing some of the things that you have seen them do from a technique standpoint, fundamentals, and it got them in trouble," Edsall said.
At the quarterback position, Edsall said he thought C.J. Brown did some good things, while at other times "he made some bad decisions. But just like every other player on the team," Edsall said. "But again, those things are always magnified more with the quarterback. But there were times he got pressure, the fourth down play was great. Saw the thing open up, scrambled, made the first down and we go down and score. So just overall, we just have to be more consistent and rely on our fundamentals and our technique and not be so robotic sometimes with all of our guys."
Edsall repeated his stance that he has never considered going with anyone but the senior Brown as his starter, and that "there is no controversy here. So don't try to start one."
"C.J. is our quarterback. Caleb is our back-up. I can't make it any clearer than that guys," Edsall said.
Rowe came in relief of a struggling Brown in the second half against Ohio State, after Brown threw a brutal pick out of his end zone in the final moments of the opening half that led to another OSU score after the Terps had cut the lead to 14 just before intermission. Rowe (13-22-3-173 yards, one touchdown) was able to move the offense through the air far more effectively than Brown, who struggled with his accuracy beginning with the opening drive of the game, when he missed two open receivers downfield. While Rowe missed some reads and threw the three picks, one was his fault, the others on receiver Marcus Leak. Rowe has the strongest, most accurate arm and quickest delivery, and has looked far more decisive getting the Terps into their passing game than Brown.
With the bye week, Oct. 5 was spent in film review. The team will be off Oct. 6-7, practice Oct. 8-9, off again Oct. 10-11, and then return to their usual routine with an Oct. 12 practice next weekend.
The Terps staff will go recruiting Oct. 6, Oct. 9, Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, with Edsall hitting several local stops on a local tour on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.
The Terps will also do plenty of self-review of the first six games.
"We'll be taking a look at ourselves at the mid-point, analyzing ourselves and what we can take with what we have already done in these first six games being at 4-2," Edsall said. "Take a look at what we'll continue to carry and some other things, and we'll work on fundamentals and technique, and we'll also get a jump on Iowa."
Edsall said there will balance this week of both getting the players healthy after the long grind since August camp (and before that, lifting since June), but also get out on the field and get some work done to get better. He said this week and next will also be a heavy testing periods in the classroom, so focus will be there as well.
"Get healed up, get rejuvenated, so when we come back Sunday we're ready to go," Edsall said.
Edsall said he is hopeful injured Terps like Alex Twine, Matt Robinson, Zach Dancel and Daniel Ezeagwu can make it back by Iowa, while long snapper Carpenter is still on the bubble.
"Those guys have been getting treatment, doing what they got to do to try and get back. And hopefully they will be able to get back sooner rather than later," Edsall said.
Edsall, Terps Look to Rebound in Bye Week
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