There are few programs in the Big Ten that like to be as bold as the Maryland Terrapins do. No other program outside of Nike’s play-thing called Oregon has the ability to be as bold as the Terps do. Such is the case when rival athletic apparel giant Under Armour has its founder amongst your alumni base.
Last season saw the all-red look for the Terps uniforms come in the mix. Meanwhile we’ve seen historical uniforms and the state flag proudly displayed on helmets for a few years now. But, when it comes to the team on the field, there haven’t been a lot of bold moments.
However, we’re all about focusing on the field in 2017 here. So, what do we see happening for the Terps? Well, we’ve got some bold predictions in store.
Maryland Will Lead the Big Ten in Rushing
Most people who follow the Big Ten are likely to name Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin atop the Big Ten rushing leader board from last season. Coming in fourth place? That would have been the Maryland Terrapins out of left field.
Can this group take it up another notch after just one year in Walt Bell’s offense? Personally, I think they have the most dangerous group of running backs in the conference this season and I’m boldly predicting that means the No. 1 rushing offense in the Big Ten.
This prediction is two-fold — partly because of the talent at the position and partly because the offense is going to need to lean on the run game again. The fact that Maryland enters the 2017 season with another unsettled situation at quarterback lends itself to leaning on the run game even more.
Having Ty Johnson, who led the nation in yards per carry (100 or more carries) last season, back is certainly a help to this idea. That average was 9.1 yards per carry and then there are two sophomores who provide some quality depth in Lorenzo Harrison II and Jake Funk. It all adds up to a team that is ready to make a big jump in the running game.
Kasim Hill Won’t Win Starting Job, But Will Play in 2017
When you listen to offensive coordinator Walt Bell, it is clear he hasn’t been overly impressed with the quarterbacks on the roster right now. Most are taking that to mean incoming freshman Kasim Hill has the inside track on being the starting quarterback right out of the gate.
While it could happen, I don’t think that is the ideal situation for everyone involved. In an ideal world, Hill would be able to sit for a year and learn the offense and get up to the speed of the college game. But, that scenario is going to depend on the play of Tyrrell Pigrome and Caleb Henderson.
Here’s how I see the quarterback situation playing out. Henderson will be named the starter for the opener against Texas and he’ll play in the first few weeks. However, the confidence won’t be there and the coaching staff is going to be forced to play Hill and let him take his lumps.
After all, what is better? A stagnant passing game for a second straight season or a boom or bust quarterback with a high ceiling? Ultimately, Henderson makes way for Hill before the coaching staff would like.
Will it add up to a more explosive offense today or will it mean a quarterback who takes his lumps and sets himself up for success in the next three years? I’m going with the latter, and that should be perfectly find with Bell and Co.
Maryland Will be in Top Half of Total Defense
Last season saw the Terps rank 12th in the Big Ten in total defense (11th in rushing defense, 9th in passing defense). Naturally it would be hard to be worse than what was seen last season, but with a much more difficult schedule ahead it could realistically happen.
Durkin came to Maryland after a successful few years as a defensive coordinator at Michigan and even filling in as Florida’s interim head coach in 2014. We’d expect a quick turnaround for this group and that’s exactly what I see happening in 2017.
Two factors come in to play for me. One is the fact that there is some true talent back in names like defensive end Jessie Aniebonam and linebacker Jermaine Carter up front. The other is the fact that recruiting has bolstered the talent level quickly.
Durkin added two four-star defensive tackles to his group in the 2017 class, which should give this team the depth needed to be much more stout up front. There is also the fact that two big time cornerbacks joined the team as early enrollee’s in January — four-star and No. 22 ranked cornerback Deon Jones, along with three-star Fofie Bazzie from famed Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale. Durkin also added a stud JUCO transfer in Alex Woods, who was a January enrollee as well.
It is hard to say that with the recruiting efforts of the past few seasons that the talent pool hasn’t gotten significantly better on defense. That alone should help, even if most of this group is going to be young.
Expect Durkin’s coaching along with the increased talent level to matter and get this group in to the top half of Big Ten defenses this upcoming season.
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?