Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who are the Terrapins?

I haven’t noticed the enthusiasm among Maryland fans after their upset win over #16 UNC that I did after wins against California, Clemson, or Wake Forest. Perhaps it’s that Maryland fans don’t want to get too excited before an even bigger game this week against Florida State. Or maybe it’s that we Terps fans know what happens after a big win. Virginia happens. A scare against NC State happens. Virginia Tech happens. Granted Va Tech is a much better team than NC State or UVa, but it is another sign of the inconsistency that plagues this team. Terps fans, as a result, understand that every big win comes with its own letdown the week after. However, this team is undefeated at home and will look to make it 7-0 at Chevy Chase Bank Field (I just like saying that because it pisses me off the way the University sold out). Unfortunately that is the only thing consistent about this team this season.

After the UNC game, Chris Turner was hailed as the savior of the team, the dynamic quarterback who rescued the Terps’ season though a combination of laser-shot throws, quick decisions, and the will to take the team on his back and win. They didn’t see the game I saw. Chris Turner is, and has always been, a microcosm of this entire football team. He will throw the ball in the dirt at the feet of a wide open receiver, he will go almost an entire quarter without a completion, he will look like a complete mess… and then suddenly turn everything on for a stretch and tally up a couple scores. People cheer his fourth quarter heroics, and while I admire his ability to pick himself off the mat and rise to an occasion, there is an expression I think of when I hear about “4th Quarter Quarterbacks” (it usually is in reference to John Elway). “If you play well for 3 quarters, you don’t need a 4th quarter comeback.” I am not saying Chris Turner isn’t the best the Terrapins have at quarterback (though I still am intrigued by Josh Portis), but he is no savior. The only thing his 4th quarter drives saves the team from is his substandard and erratic play the rest of the game.

Why did Davin Meggett disappear after the first quarter? When he was running the football, the Terps were moving it. He finished the game with 12 carries for 86 yards, while his partner in crime DaRel Scott finished with 29 carries and 129 yards. Not poor by any stretch of the imagination, but the coaching staff has to play the guy with the hot hand- or legs, in this case. I understand that the ratio has usually been this way this season, but when the offense had stalled after the 1st half of the second quarter, that was the time to give Meggett another chance. In fact, after the second touchdown drive early in the 2nd quarter, Davin Meggett was only given 3 carries the rest of the game. Really? The guy puts up a TD and drives through the UNC defensive line and you give him 3 carries after the first 20 minutes of the ballgame? Look, Maryland was effective on the ground, but perhaps its time to give Meggett a few more carries if the offense stymies in the second half.

That defense… the defense that was manhandled on the ground by Va Tech was able to punish Shaun Draughn, holding him to a full yard under his usual per carry average. I will leave the preview to Falco and Windsor, but we have no idea which defense will show up against Florida State. Was it that UNC ran a rather vanilla look against Maryland? Was it that the home crowd spurred the Terps to the win? I honestly have no idea, but this defense, which has been the most inconsistent part of this team, will have to come through in a big way to compensate for the first 3 quarters of Chris Turner. I don’t know what to think about this football team. Are they incredible? No. Are they awful? No. Are they headed to Jacksonville? Let me get back to you on that…

No comments: