OSU Football: Scouting Maryland

What kind of problems could Maryland present for Ohio State? They start with the Terrapin offense, but the defense is coming off a solid performance against a usually high-scoring team.

Head coach Randy Edsall talked in the spring about needing to get more physical as his team is moving to the Big Ten, and I think if they did that they could become a more formidable opponent.

The Terrapins certainly do some interesting things on offense. They do a good job of getting the ball to their playmakers in space and letting them try to make things happen. Deon Long and Stefon Diggs are the real deal at wide receiver. Running backs Brandon Ross and Wes Brown are both 210-pound slashers. Ross in particular has shown he can take a short pass and go the distance the past two weeks, so you can't lose him while paying attention to the guys on the perimeter. While Long and Diggs are both smallish speedsters, they have size at WR in Juwann Winfree, a 6-2, 195-pound true freshman who scored a long touchdown against Indiana on a seam route when they were able to get him matched up with a linebacker.

C.J. Brown can make big plays with his arm or legs. Backup Caleb Rowe, who might be the starter with Brown nursing a wrist injury, has a stronger arm, but I'm not sure if there is much functional difference. He is not a bad runner, either, but he's not regarded as being as fast. They did run a couple of options plays for him against Indiana last week.

With Rowe they ran an interesting variation on the triple option out of a 2-back pistol set with the usual running back lining up next to him and the fullback behind the QB. The up back then became the pitch man while the deep back became the dive back. Rowe gave the fullback the ball up the middle forms couple yards.

Rowe also ran a speed option which might have been more to set up a very nifty counter in which he reverses out and throws back to the boundary. He had Long there in single coverage and he made a guy miss, got a block and a first down. They ran that twice against Indiana more the Hoosiers more ready the second time.

Also of note: They hit a long bomb on a fake bubble screen similar to UC's last long TD against Ohio State.

The offensive line, like Cincinnati, looks OK -- not a strength or a liability. And like the Bearcats, they can run their offense in a manner that doesn't require the line to be great. However, Maryland did seem more interested in running the ball than UC, and they have a nice-sized playbook of runs from a variety of formations. They will get under center at times as well. You'll see mostly 11 personnel but also some 21 in more than one look.

Both tackles did show the ability to get to the second level and make blocks in space, which is important because they like to run a lot of screens.

Defensively, it's kind of hard to know what to make of Maryland. After getting gashed by West Virginia and Syracuse in back to back weeks, they held what should be a pretty good Indiana offense in check for the most part.

The Terps have an active front that lines up in a 3-4 but acts more like a 4-3. Edsall has compared it to what you would have seen from the Houston Texans when defensive coordinator Brian Stewart worked for Wade Phillips. Previously they were together with the Cowboys as well.

I think you might see them try to do some things to disrupt Ohio State -- slants and twists. They are a team that when they get to third down will do some things to confuse the blocking schemes -- show pressure one place and bring it somewhere else.

The nose guard Darius Kilgo is the most impressive guy and Keith Bowers can get after the quarterback from his end spot. Kilgo is a senior listed 6-2, 310, and he moves very well. He can rush the passer from the middle.

The linebackers who stood out most against Indiana were Cole Farrand and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, although L.A. Goree was the second-leading tackler. Farrand is a really solid guy who runs well and is a good tackler.

Against Indiana, they appeared to be playing a lot of quarters and single high safety with plenty of man to man. I think it's hard to get behind them. At least once they did show a blitz with man coverage and no free safety, but for the most part they kept Indiana in front of them. The longest pass play was 29 yards, but they were gashed on the ground a couple of times.

Cornerback William Likely is small but sticky in coverage. He had an interception last week while running with Glenville speedster Shane Wynn for Indiana.

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