Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Football Notes

After giving up 21 points to California last weekend the question arose if Maryland has a conditioning problem. For all the chatter about the heat and humidity having an effect on the Bears they were the ones who looked fresher and more aggressive in the 4th quarter and not Maryland. Ralph Friedgen also wondered if the conditioning was an issue for his team in the post game interviews. There isn't much you can do about that with the season already started but it may be something worth watching. Last year Maryland gave up a bunch of games when they faded in the 4th quarter and this club may have trouble with that as well.

Only N.C. State (65) has given up more second half points than Maryland's 42. True a bunch of teams like Florida State have not played anyone but the next closest team in second half points surrendered is Virginia Tech with 34.

Even if Da'Rel Scott misses the Eastern Michigan game he is still the early favorite to claim the ACC rushing title. He has 139 more yards than the second place rusher and is averaging almost 50 yards per game more than anyone in the ACC. The only concern is that he will wear down like Bruce Perry did in 2001 with assorted injuries but if he stays healthy the best running back duoin the ACC may not be Clemson's ballyhooed Spiller and Davis but Scott and Davin Meggett.

After enduring death by a thousand cuts against Middle Tennessee and their spread passing game the Maryland defense got dumped in a wood chipper by Cal's passing attack last Saturday. That dropped them to last in the ACC in pass defense. The Terps are only 9th in pass efficiency defense with Virginia, Virginia Tech and N.C. State below them.

Two other weak points worth pondering are the kick coverage which is the worst in the ACC and the Red Zone offense, also last in the ACC. Maryland is only 5/9 in the Red Zone but that is mostly due to Obi Egekeze's kicking struggles as he has missed two field goals inside the 20.

Two huge divisional matchups this weekend with Virginia Tech travelling to North Carolina and Wake Forest visiting Florida State. The Hokies shaky pass defense will get a stern test matching up with the Tar Heel aerial attack. It may be the only game all season with two ranked ACC teams playing each other when Wake and FSU play in Tallahassee. It is tough to say if FSU is really any good since they have not played anyone worth noting so far. These two games may go a long way in determining who plays in Tampa Bay for the ACC title.


cheap seat guy said...

I'm thinking that conditioning was not the issue in the 4th quarter on Sunday. Just the prevent defense. You can not rush three and expect your coverage to hold up that long. Riley had way too much time. We smoked them in the first half when we brought the heat! Keep bringing the heat!

Esquire said...

I wouldn't have thought conditioning was a major issue either but Friedgen himself mentioned it in the post game. Cosh was clearly backing off the coverage in the 4th quarter, much to my displeasure. An offense like Cal will be patient enough to pick you apart. They just ran out of time.