Monday, November 08, 2010

Bitter Pill

The game against Miami was a game that a good team should have won. After the loss the lame duck coaching staff talked about how Miami had great athletes and the Terps had done well to stick with them and have a chance to win the game outright. You would have thought this Hurricane squad was a vintage bunch of NFL draft picks instead of the mediocre bunch of underachievers that they are. Missing their starting quarterback and running back Miami was coming off a loss to Virginia and was ripe for the picking by Maryland. The Hurricanes are not devoid of talent, as their demolition of UNC would indicate, but the best you could say about this group is that they are destined for a random bowl game in a less than exotic city.

The offense was pretty dreadful. Miami, like Clemson, has some good athletes on the defensive side of the ball and Maryland struggled all day with their press coverage. Danny O'Brien struggled only completing 9 of 28 passes for 134 yards and a killer interception in the end zone. O'Brien will have his ups and downs but there is a feeling that opponents have enough tape on O'Brien now to figure out his weaknesses. Miami was really sitting on those quick throws that James Franklin has been calling recently and O'Brien struggled, along with his receivers, to complete passes in the 10-20 yard range. Franklin's throwing in first down turned out to be a disaster with Maryland only completing 3/13 passes. That left the Terps in 2nd a long most of the day and helped contribute to a terrible 3rd down conversion rate. Maryland didn't have great success running the ball on Miami, a weakness of the 'Canes defense, but on 1st down they averaged 7.6 yards per run. Seems like the focus on throwing on 1st down was a colossal failure. The offense got a gift on a sack and fumble that was returned for a touchdown late in the game that was nullified due to a facemask penalty that wasn't shown on any replay. O'Brien didn't see a blitzer coming from his blindside on his pre-snap read. Big mistake by the freshman. The three straight run plays by Maryland in the closing minutes of the game was indicative of the timid coaching of Ralph Friedgen the last six years. Poor use of timeouts also hurt Maryland. It was a bad effort by the head coach and offensive coordinator.

The defense wasn't great but played well enough to win. Alex Wujciak had a career day with two picks and a return for a touchdown. On the game winning pass by Morris Maryland had Dexter McDougal and Kenny Tate on the coverage but the pass was in a perfect spot. A dumb roughing the passer penalty by Joe Vellano helped get Miami in position to score the winning touchdown.

Unlike the Clemson or West Virginia game the Terps had a legitimate shot to win this game and should have been able to hold a slim lead in the closing minutes. Some costly errors by individual players and a bungled last possession by the coaching staff cost Maryland the game. Now the Terps go to UVA in something close to a must win situation if they still hope to win the Atlantic division. To me all the reasons why Friedgen should not be given a contract extension and James Franklin has no business being the head coach were on display during this loss.


Anonymous said...

I think it was Matt Robinson and Tate on Miami's game winning TD pass, not Dexter M.

Esquire said...

You can see here it was McDougal (25) and Tate (6).