Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mountaineer Metric

Maryland ran poor Morgan State off the field last week and there isn’t much worth taking from the game. The offense was rampant with 7 touchdowns and 24 first downs with the team cruising from the 2nd quarter on. Danny O’Brien threw three touchdowns in relief of Jamarr Robinson and even third string QB C.J. Brown got in the game. Brown broke his collarbone and is out for a few months and O’Brien sprained his ankle. The quarterback controversy heated up a little with O’Brien’s performance but it is dangerous to take too much from his performance against Morgan State. The defense for Morgan State wasn’t able to challenge Maryland in any aspect of the game. O’Brien was under little pressure and his receivers were running free in the secondary. West Virginia has another level of athlete and will be the real test for a passing game that has not shown much under Robinson or O’Brien.

It was announced that Maryland and West Virginia have extended their plans to play in football till the 2017 season. It is certainly the highest profile out of conference rival of Maryland over the last 20 years and so there is some value in extending the series. I am generally supportive of this move but at the same time I’d prefer Maryland to have a permanent series with Navy, which will likely result in more television coverage, or a rotating series with another similarly situated BCS program. The California series was very good for the Terps even with the embarrassing loss last season. While West Virginia should be a normal opponent for Maryland I think taking a break from time to time is a good thing. It is possible Maryland will play Texas in the coming years and there is already a date with Notre Dame next season at FedEx field. Then again Maryland could be in the Big Ten by the time this current agreement runs out.

West Virginia will also be a good test for the defense. I think there is visible improvement from last season and the group is starting to get comfortable with the aggressive blitzing style of Don Brown. They have forced 5 turnovers and given up two touchdowns on seven opponent’s possession in the red zone. That is decent progress. The WVU running game will test this group like Navy’s triple option. We’ll see if the big play bugaboo this defense had last season will return on Saturday.