Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Barnes out

Corner Kevin Barnes will likely miss the rest of the season after injuring his shoulder against Wake Forest on Saturday. It is certainly a blow to the defense as Barnes was the defensive MVP this year in my mind. Nolan Carroll and perhaps Jamari McCoullough will fill in for Barnes and both are capable cover corners but are not the dominating player the Barnes was becoming. In the early part of the season teams began to avoid Barnes in coverage and the rest of the secondary was tested, including Carroll. I think Carroll and McCoullough can fill in well for Barnes and none of Maryland's remaining opponents have a formidable passing game. It is a shame that Barnes will end his college career on the sidelines.

Some thoughts about the Wake Forest win.
  • Chris Turner had his finest game of the season and had nearly 200 yards passing by halftime. He hung in the pocket to deliver several throws and got levelled as a result. He did throw up the ball for Heyward-Bey a few times and the junior receiver displayed some great aggressiveness in going for the ball.
  • The maligned offensive line did well. Bruce Campbell is clearly an upgrade at tackle and I thought guard Jamie Thomas and center Edwin Williams played as well as they have all season. The pass blocking was helped by Turner and the run blocking was much better, though not as good as at the beginning of the year, than it had been recently.
  • Dion Armstrong and Travis Ivey provided some nice depth on the defensive line. Jeremy Navarre is playing much better in the last two games and made several nice plays at the line.
  • LB Moise Fokou has a knack for making big plays. His sack of Riley Skinner all but sealed the game for the Terps.
  • WR Danny Oquendo continued to show why he is so valuable to this team with a couple of great catches. Heyward-Bey may be more flashy but Oquendo is a valuable safety valve for Turner.
  • Da'Rel Scott clearly had some problems holding onto the football. It will bear watching in the next few games to see if that becomes an ongoing problem. Davin Meggett did a nice job coming off the bench and seems to be healthy again.
  • You wouldn't know it from the box score but I thought Wake Forest moved the ball fairly well in the first half but had too many critical breakdowns. Penalties, dropped passes (Skinner probably had at least a half dozen passes bounce off receiver's hands), and receivers failing to get their feet in bounds. Once the score got out of hand the Maryland defense was able to shut down the Deacons when they had to pass from behind but I think the defense didn't look as great as the numbers would indicate. 

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