Just because it should be doesn’t mean it will be, and WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen knows he needs to keep his team up during its bye week. The Mountaineers have an extra week to prepare for their Border War rivals, and should be chomping at the bit for another crack at the Terrapins.
“We all know how important the Maryland game is," Holgorsen said. "Every game is important. This one is pretty important. I’ve been fortunate enough to go against them for going on my fifth year now. I know what this game means to our team and our school and our fan base. It’s the same thing for them.
“Fortunately for us, we get two weeks to deal with it. They only get one week to deal with it, but such is the schedule.”
Holgorsen’s teams have faired well, for the most part, against the Terrapins during his tenure at WVU. The Mountaineers have won three-of-four against Maryland since Holgorsen took the reigns, but their one defeat was a 37-0 blowout in Baltimore in 2013.
The Mountaineers’ three wins were much more hotly contested, as they came by a combined 19 points.
Even though the Terrapins are going through some overhaul in their offense, as head coach Randy Edsall announced earlier this week Perry Hills lost the starting quarterback job to Caleb Rowe, Holgorsen has seen first-hand how crazy these WVU-Maryland games can get.
As a result, West Virginia will do everything in its power to avoid being caught sleeping on the Terrapins, even during its bye week.
“Thursday we’ll have a big team lift and get after them a good bit in the weight room and condition them a good bit. Then Friday and Saturday we’ll give them two days off to just be normal,” Holgorsen said.
“You don’t have too many opportunities to do that when you’re in the weekly grind of game week, so we have an opportunity to do it.”
Holgorsen and his staff will have the rare opportunity to double-dip in scouting the Terrapins with this bye week. The staff will surely have their eyes glued to the television Saturday when the Terps take on South Florida, then they it will have the chance to get together early next week to break down the actual game tape.
It will be everyone’s first look at Rowe in 2015, as the redshirt junior will be making his first start of the season.
The change in the Maryland offense isn’t limited to the signal caller, as two new wide receivers, D.J. Moore and Taivon Adams, will join Rowe in the starting ranks. Randy Edsall said he wanted to shake things up in order to bring more versatility to the Terrapin offense.
“Perry is a great kid. He worked really, really hard, but again, there were some things there through the first two games, not just in this game but in the first two games where we’ve seen that we’ve got to be able to take advantage of some things. We’ve got to be able to stretch the field in our passing game; both horizontally and vertically,” Edsall said
“I think Caleb is a little better now coming off that knee injury. We’ve just got to be able to be more balanced than what we have been and we’ve got to be able to put pressure in some more ways than we were.”
While the faces occupying the positions may be different, there is only so much a team can change about its offense in the middle of the season, and Dana Holgorsen thinks the Terrapin offense will have a similar look to it.
“They may change a little bit, but I doubt they’ll be able to change a whole lot,” Holgorsen said.