It’s Maryland Terrapins football preview week here at talking10 and we’re nearing the end of the week. However, we still have plenty to cover.
One of the most important things to changing a program is getting “your” players in the fold. Maryland will have its second class under D.J. Durkin (and the first full class of his own) in the fold this summer and in to the fall.
But, for the 2017 season the biggest answers are likely to come from established players on this team. Today we look at the five most important players for the 2017 Terps season.
Caleb Henderson, QB
Much of what happens with the Terps offense this season is going to be predicated on what happens at quarterback. Conventional wisdom says incoming freshman Kasim Hill is going to be the favorite for the job, as no one seemed to grab the job the horns during spring camp.
However, I have a feeling the coaching staff is secretly hoping that Hill doesn’t have to play this upcoming season. That makes Henderson an impact player, because if it won’t be Hill winning the starting job, look for Henderson to be the favorite. The former four-start quarterback has the arm talent to be an impactful player for the next two years, but it seems to be mentally getting the job done that has held him back.
If he can improve over summer and prove to the coaching staff he can handle the job this fall, look for him to win the job. If not, look for Hill to be the winner and the offense take its lumps in the passing game as the new quarterback learns on the job.
Jermaine Carter, Jr., LB
There was no player on the Terps defense last season with as much hype surrounding his chances to be great than Carter. After all, new head coach D.J. Durkin is a masterful linebackers coach and great defensive coordinator before coming aboard at the helm of the Terps.
Carter lived up to parts of they hype, topping the 100-tackle mark (106 to be exact), but more is to be expected from a player with his talent level. He only had three more tackles than in 2015 and went from 14 tackles for loss to nine last year.
If the Terps are going to make strides on the defensive side of the ball, Carter has to be better than just a tackling machine. We’ll see a player who could be really helpful to him, fellow linebacker Shane Cockerille help take some of the pressure off. But, this is Carter’s last chance to really impress and he has to in order for this youthful defense to have a chance.
Adam Greene, K
One way for Maryland to start winning bigger is to start playing well on special teams. That has to start with place kicker Adam Greene becoming a much better player for this team in 2017. Simply put, 2016 was a disaster.
Greene was just 9 of 14 on field goals last season and that was the second worst mark in the conference for those who qualified. His team could barely count on him to be accurate and it led to him attempting just 1.1 field goals per game. Additionally, he was just 5 of 9 from 30 yards out and beyond last season…that’s not good news.
Some it comes from having to kick in bad scenarios and an offense that didn’t give him much of a chance. But, he also didn’t take the chances that were presented to him. There were even four games last season in which he didn’t even attempt a single field goal. He’s got to be better so his team has more confidence in him and points are being put on the board instead of being left on the table.
Jesse Aniebonam, DE
Perhaps no player left 2016 on a higher note than Aniebonam did. He finished the season with 19 of his 46 tackles, 5.5 of his 14 tackles for loss and 3.5 of his nine sacks on the season in the final six games of the year.
There’s a lot of potential for Aniebonam to be a really dangerous edge rusher on this team in 2017, but he also needs to be more stout against the run. However, there is also the first half of the season and an up-and-down year overall to deal with.
Few defensive players on the Terps have as much promise heading in to the season as Aniebonam does. Living up to the potential and production of the last six games of the season from last year certainly would be a big help to the Maryland cause in 2017.
Darnell Savage, FS
Some could consider this A.W. 2017 — After Likely. The long time star of Maryland’s secondary is gone and that leaves some big holes to fill in a secondary that needs to be productive for the defense to work. Even with Likely in the mix this secondary struggled last season, coming in ninth in passing defense and giving up 19 passing touchdowns to just five interceptions.
Likely to step in to the big leadership gap (see what I did there) will be junior free safety Darnell Savage. He put up some good numbers last season, ranking third on the team in tackles (59), but a lot of that was done as opposing running backs were loose in the secondary.
Savage ended the year with just 3.5 tackles for loss, one interception and one sack. A free safety should have much better numbers in a 3-4 system that is designed to make the members of the secondary in to ball-hawking , heat-seeking missiles. The tools are there for Savage to make a jump after his first year starting for the Terps, but he’ll be counted to make strides on and off the field for this group to be successful.
Maryland at Ohio State: Is Maryland Ready To Close The Gap?
When: Sat. Oct. 7; 4:00 pm ET
Where: Columbus, OH; Ohio Stadium (104,944)
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 3-0
Last Meeting: Ohio State won 62-3 last year
Line: Ohio State (-31)
Join our Andy Coppens as we take an in-depth look at the questions to be answered, key stats to watch and of course the key players as the Maryland Terrapins travel West for a matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Some wonder just where the Terps place is in the Big Ten pecking order…we’ve got the answer…well sorta.
Kasim Hill’s injury spells end to promising 2017 for Terps
Maryland’s worst fears were realized on Tuesday as a second quarterback is out for the year with an ACL tear.
One thing was made abundantly clear following Kasim Hill’s injury on Saturday afternoon against UCF. This team needs a dynamic quarterback to be a winner.
The worst of fears about the extent of Hill’s injury were realized on Tuesday, as head coach D.J. Durkin announced Hill had suffered a season-ending ACL tear. He suffered the injury after throwing just one pass for 8 yards in the first quarter of the game.
UCF was going to be Hill’s stiffest test on defense, but he never had a chance to get going as this injury happened so suddenly and so early in the game.
Durkin let us know that Hill’s character was already shining through in this tough situation while addressing the media on Tuesday.
“He’ll bounce back,” said Durkin “He’s got a bright future in football both here and beyond. I think that’s pretty clear. That guy’s a phenomenal talent and that doesn’t even compare to the type of person he is. He’s got a great attitude about it, he’s looking this thing right in the face saying let’s go get it. He’ll have surgery, rehab and be back with us when time allows.”
On Saturday, junior Max Bortenschlager stepped up in Hill’s place. Let’s just say there is a reason he was third on the depth chart heading in to the season.
Bortenschlager isn’t that dynamic quarterback Maryland needs to be successful to say the least, throwing for just 132 yards and a touchdown to two interceptions against the Knights on Saturday.
Sure, he didn’t have the luxury of a full-week of game prep, but he’s been the backup quarterback since Week 1 and should’ve been ready to go in to the game. He’s also had plenty of experience coming off the bench and being part of a quarterback rotation prior to this weekend.
The problem is, Maryland’s formula for winning this season has largely been based off of a dynamic quarterback who can keep defenses honest, run the ball and thus allow the rest of the running backs room to roam too.
Now what for the Terps offense and the 2017 season?
It is time for Walt Bell to totally re-think his offensive scheme going forward. Whether it is Bortenschlager or even Caleb Henderson taking the snaps going forward, both are better suited as pocket passers than spread read-option first quarterbacks.
It’s like the Terps have to flip their offensive 180 degrees and must do so with no time to prepare ahead of the Big Ten season.
Maryland’s saving grace here? Well, it may be in the fact that having to go through quarterbacks like it is going out of style is actually old hat for them. This weekend will mark the fourth time in six seasons that the Terps have had to start three different quarterbacks in the same season.
Is it any wonder they haven’t been successful in the past, and seem to be dead in the water for 2017 too?
We’ll see if the run game is enough to carry this team to bowl eligibility, because the Terps defense seems unable to stop anyone so far this season.
But, it is hard to see Hill’s injury as anything but completely devastating to Maryland’s chances of contending at all in 2017.
UCF Knights at Maryland Terrapins: Preview, predictions and prognostications
Maryland and UCF played a wild one in 2016. Can we expect more of the offensive fireworks in the re-match?
What’s better than feasting your eyes on our weekly previews here at talking10? How about feasting your eyes and ears too? That’s exactly what we’ll bring each week going forward as we flip our previews over to talking10TV every week.
Same great formula, just a new format.
Up first is our look at the UCF Knights traveling to College Park, Md. to take on the Maryland Terrapins.
When: Sat.; Sept. 23; 3pm ET
Where: College Park, Md.; Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium (51,802)
All-Time Series: Maryland leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Terps 30, UCF 24 (2ot) (2016)
Line: Maryland (-4)
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Our Philip Rossman-Reich breaks down the game for you.
talking10 Power Poll: Surprises galore in Week 1 poll
We’re back…after a long offseason, the staff is finally back to watching football, crunching numbers and giving you our opinions on all things Big Ten football.
It also means our weekly staff Power Poll is back as well.
This season we’ve got five staff members voting every week. That includes the following names:
Andy Coppens – @AndyOnFootball
Phil Harrison – @PhilHarrisonCFB
Philip Rossmann-Reich – @RiseNU
Dave Fitzgerald – @BuckeyeFitzy
Zach Worthington – @Worthyton
Normally the opening week of the season provides little in the way of knowledge, but that certainly wasn’t the case in 2017. Dare we say the first week of action for the Big Ten was highly entertaining?
You can say that, and we did over at the #B1GRewind Show.
But, how did all of that excitement shake out when it came time to vote? Let’s take a look at the official poll for Week 1:
Let’s just say things were a bit wackier than usual, huh?
- Only three teams lost this week, yet it was a winner, Illinois, coming up dead last and it wasn’t even close. The Illini’s unimpressive three-point win was also our winner for “Disappointment of the Week” on the #B1GRewind show…so perhaps their last place finish in the power poll this week was really warranted. It also appears that hanging tough with ranked teams meant a lot to our voters.
- While the rest of the college football world is in love with Ohio State…our staff is much more in love with the Nittany Lions…well not “much more” but they won out with three first place votes and OSU falling outside the top two in one voters mind.
- It appears there is going to be an interesting battle for the middle of the pack over the next few weeks. Michigan State was No. 7 in this poll, but had just a three-point lead on No. 10 Nebraska. Let’s just say the next few weeks should shake out the middle a bit more.
- Speaking of close fights…the battle between Michigan and Wisconsin for the third spot should be an interesting one indeed. Can Wisconsin’s offense keep up the high-scoring and keep UW ahead or will Michigan’s exciting youth movement grow up fast enough to challenge for the top of the East division and thus our poll as well?