Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Work in Progress

After reviewing the game film there were a few positives for Maryland to take from the William & Mary game last week. The offensive line did a fantastic job opening huge holes for the running game. Fullback Tim Cesa seems to be developing into a fine fullback after being shifted from linebacker last season. Quarterback Sam Hollenbach silenced the chatter about his starting job for at least another week. The passing game showed some deep threat and big play capability.

The team still has many, many things to improve before the trip to Morgantown next week. The pass blocking was still shaky against an active but undersized Tribe front. Perhaps the return of Jared Gaither from his suspension will shore up a line that struggled with protection last season.

The defensive line failed to mount any pass rush or get much penetration against William & Mary's spread offense. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh will have to blitz linebackers to pressure the quarterback unless Trey Covington or Jeremy Navarre can suddenly demonstrate some pass rush ability.

Though Keon Lattimore got the start at running back there isn't much of a controversy in my opinion. Lance Ball is a more complete player at the position. He has excellent vision, is a better pass catcher, superior at blitz pick ups and more sturdy than Lattimore. While they both piled up the rushing yards against the Tribe it wasn't really a fair assessment since they often were not touched until four yards past the line of scrimmage. Lattimore is quick but lacks break away speed. In spite of his strength he often will go down at first contact and dances along the line of scrimmage too much. Against fast and aggressive defenses he would be ineffective.

Jordan Steffy should have put to rest any chatter about the starting spot at quarterback. He was clearly nervous and overexcited about his first real action since the 2004 season. Hopefully Maryland will put away Middle Tennessee early and give him a chance to redeem himself.

The team as a whole was sloppy and unfocused in the 4th quarter. The defense slacked off and allowed backup QB Mike Potts to go 9 for 10 with 99 yards passing in the last 10 minutes. Corner Kevin Barnes was beaten deep for a touchdown with under five minutes left in the game. The offense wasn't much better and only score a field goal the entire 2nd half.

Let's hope for dramatic improvement by Saturday.

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