Friday, October 22, 2010

Boston College game may decide season

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Work has been hectic, blah, blah, blah. I know you probably are not interested in all the excuses. With a toddler and 3 month old I have less time than in the past. I still watch all the games but the time to research and write blog posts isn't as easy to come by these days. I'll try to post more regularly, even if it is not my normal level of analysis.

I have not commented on the Duke or Clemson games. Duke wasn't that big of a test for Maryland, even though the team tried to make it competitive. Danny O'Brien is playing well even if some of the hype has gotten ahead of where he really is at this point in his career. I think it is true that he has the chance to be the best QB of the Friedgen era, assuming that lasts beyond this year, but he has a long way to go. Leaving the friendly confines of Byrd Stadium exposed some of his flaws. Against a defense that really made him work for his completions and took away the big play he struggled and ended up throwing three interceptions. Clemson has impressive athletes in the secondary but with Florida State and Miami remaining on the schedule this wasn't the last aggressive and fast secondary he'll face. He isn't getting much help from the running game and with the offensive line struggles it appears this will be a lost year for RB Da'Rel Scott. That is a shame because he has far more talent than he's been able to show with a weak offensive line and incompetent coordinator.

With the terrible news that RT Pete DeSouza broke both his legs in a scooter meets car accident and is done for the year that makes the offensive line even more threadbare. Freshman Max Garcia might move into a starting spot if  he beats out LT Nick Klemm.

This Boston College game might become the turning point of the season. Another road loss and we might be seeing the sun set on the Fridge regime. With woeful Wake Forest and Virginia on the schedule six wins is still possible but a loss to BC (0-3 in the ACC) might signal another late season slide by this team.

Right now this team isn't very good. The record looks respectable at 4-2 but those four wins are rather flimsy. Two of them could have gone the other way and Maryland's two losses have been blowouts. I know people will say that the games were close fairly late but both West Virginia and Clemson thoroughly outplayed Maryland in those games. Maryland is 9th in the ACC in scoring offense, 11th in total offense, 8th in Red Zone efficiency on offense. That is where the real problems lie. The defense is mediocre: 5th in scoring defense and 7th in overall defence but has done enough to hold up its end. Without the big plays this offense struggles to move the ball and cannot sustain drives. The struggling running game is a large part of that but receivers are dropping too many passes. It was encouraging that O'Brien found his tight ends against Clemson. Maryland needs more of that to move the chains. O'Brien has been very good at not turning the ball over but these defense isn't good enough to bail out a poor offense.

Torrey Smith is still hobbled with a ankle sprain. If he is limited or cannot play against BC Maryland will have to get creative to move the ball. It is another opportunity for James Franklin to show that he has any skills to be an offensive coordinator at this level.


Anonymous said...

I take issue with the quote "I know people will say that the games were close fairly late but both West Virginia and Clemson thoroughly outplayed Maryland in those games."

The Clemson game I saw didn't involve Clemson thoroughly outplaying them the entire game. UMD had 350 offensive yards to Clemson's 213. UMD did have three turnovers, but all were in the last 10 minutes of the game when we were pressing on offense. Rather what determined the game was special teams and key plays. Special teams set u 14 of the Clemson's points, returning a KO for a TD and returning a punt inside the 20. Key plays were big too, on third and goal UMD gets sacked misses a fg. Clemson has a 3 and 10 from midfield and get a bad interference call (bad because the ball was clearly uncatchable, not because there wasn't contact) that extends a drive that ends up being a TD. Then there was a pick six late. But Clemson no more throughly outplayed us than we throughly outplayed Duke when we relied on a special teams TD and turnovers to overcome the fact Duke moved the ball better than we did.

Esquire said...

It might be true that Maryland had given Clemson a decent game in the first two quarters, even though they went into the half with a 17-7 lead but when the score is 24-7 with a few minutes gone by in the 3rd quarter and the final score is 31-7 I think it is rediculous to argue the game was closely contested. Both defenses played well but Clemson's special teams played far better than Maryland's. Clemson's offense may not have gained more yards than Maryland but with a 24-7 lead early in the 2nd half Dabo Sweeney decided to take the air out of the ball (Clemson's TOP in the 2nd half was 17:03 compared to Maryland's 12:57). With a dominant defense and great special teams play all Clemson had to do was not turn the ball over and they were going to win the game. Maryland's offense couldn't moved the ball but couldn't muster any scores. Throw in three turnovers and 10 penalties and I think it is fairly clear that Clemson played much better overall than the Terps.

Did you see the box score of the BC game? BC outgained Maryland 285 to 222. Maryland dominated that game up until the 4th quarter. I doubt if it had finished 24-7 that anyone would think the game was close.