Sunday, August 31, 2008

Postgame Report Card: Maryland 14, Delaware 7

The word of the game is... underwhelming. Maryland won, yes. But certainly not convincingly, and not with the offensive output expected (see 34-14 pregame prediction by yours truly). The way I'll tackle this along with other Maryland games is to give a detailed report card which can catalogue what went right and what went wrong in the game, along with a most(and least) valuable player. So without further ado...

Offense - Overall Grade: C
Quarterbacks: D
"Will this be a new Jordan Steffy?" No. Here's the problem, and it became more evident today than ever before; when things start to go poorly for Jordan Steffy, he has not shown the ability to bounce back. He started this game strongly but when he began to make mistakes he crumbled. That doesn't work in the big time. p.s. Turner didn't look like the answer either.
Running Backs: A+
Outstanding. Da'Rell Scott and Davin Meggett (loved the kid out of high school and he has not disappointed) were brilliant today, carrying the offense. They read their blocks exceptionally well, showed excellent burst and vision in the open field. When they were asked to make a play they stepped up. These young Terps are ready for prime time.
Wide Receivers: B
Made most plays when they needed to and compensated for some poor throws. Darrius Heyward-Bey again showed why he is arguably the finest receiver in the ACC. The unit still left some plays on the field.
Tight Ends: C
Disappointed in the clutch, particularly on the play action pass to Gronkowski. Decent blocking for Scott and Meggett.
Offensive Line: C
Good run blocking, overall better than expected. Delaware was able to generate far too much of a pass rush however, and the line has to get better if this team is going to go far in the ACC.

Defense - Overall Grade: A-
Defensive Line: B+
Controlled the line of scrimmage and put on a consistent pass rush. Did get worn down against the run on a couple of long Delaware drives in allowing them to convert on third and short.
Linebackers: B+
Showed excellent pursuit and shut down the outside running game for the most part. Experienced occasional lapses in pass coverage.
Defensive Backs: A
Fantastic. All around a brilliant job by the secondary, easily the most pleasant surprise of the game. This unit played smart and were aggressive to the ball, coming up with two interceptions and numerous pass deflections. Dominated in man coverage. One lapse however, which allowed Delaware's one touchdown, keeps this unit from getting an A+.

Special Teams - Overall Grade: C-
Kicker: F
0-3 on field goals for Egekeze, none of which required a supreme effort. That's how you lose games from special teams. Entirely unnacceptable. The only reason this is not an F- is because he converted two extra points.
Punter: B+
Made several above average punts, overall a superior performance. One punt should have been pooched, and instead was hit deep into the endzone for a poor net yardage.
Returners: B
Say what you will about not being a gamebreaker, Oquendo knows how to handle a punt and is a tough son-of-a-gun. Nothing spectacular here, but solid across the board.
Coverage: B
Nothing to write home about, but once this unit faces superior return men we'll be able to get a good guage on what the coverage team is made of.

Coaching - Overall Grade: C+
Offensive: D+
Hard to judge when the quarterbacks can't execute most of the plays, but fourteen points against Delaware is an awfully bad sign. Please, please someone read a book on how to properly run the option. Option left from the left hash with trips left?? Gee, I wonder where the defense is keyed in? This just in! The threat of the pitch to the running back is negated when there's no lateral space to work with!!! There, I'm done. But seriously! Don't run the option in a direction where you can't work in space, that just doesn't make sense! And certainly don't remove all doubt as to which side it's being run before the ball is snapped! Now I'm done, I promise.
Defensive: A
Chris Cosh, the day is yours. Only one score against this defense and it was on the player, not the play call. Applause.

And for my MVP/LVP...
MVP (Most Valuable Player) - Da'Rell Scott - 26 rushes for 196 yards. Enough said
LVP (Least Valuable Player) - Obi Egekeze - 0-3 on field goals (48, 44, 41), leaving nine points on the board in a game decided by only one touchdown. Enough said.
(Photo Credit: Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun)

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