Sunday, September 6, 2009

Postgame Report Card: California 52, Maryland 13

The word of the game is.....embarrassing. I understand that California is ranked #12 and was looking for "redemption" from what happened last year. But Maryland looked like a high school team and followed suit with the rest of the conference during the weekend, looking absolutely awful. The team did not look prepared and was torn apart by a more experienced squad. After a national television embarrassment like that, the Terps will have a lot of questions to answer as they get ready for James Madison next week.

When writing this, I understand that Cal was a 21-point favorite and that the Terps had to travel on the other side of the country to play. But you can't make excuses for everything, even for student athletes. Maryland had to be ready for this, and they looked completely lost during the whole game, from the coaches to the players. Maryland is too talented to get destroyed by 39 points.

Offense - Overall Grade: D
Quarterbacks: D
Chris Turner had one of his famous dreadful nights. He was not throwing the ball well and could not maintain his pocket presence at all. He went 17/30 for 168 yards with no scores or interceptions, but a fumble in the second quarter gave Cal great field position for their third touchdown. His line did not help him, but he was sacked seven times and did not show good awareness in the pocket. If this is how Chris Turner is going to run "his team," Maryland fans ought to be worried. The very brief appearance of backup Jamarr Robinson is an incomplete, as he did not throw the ball.
Running Backs: B-
Da'Rel Scott was the only player on offense that looked sharp tonight. He ran for 90 yards on 13 rushes and got the only Terps touchdown on a big 39-yard run in the 3rd quarter, even if the Terps were down 45-6 when he scored it. Davin Meggett was not bad, getting 36 yards on nine rushes.
Wide Receivers: C-
The corps was not terrible, but not helpful to the cause either. Adrian Cannon led the way with five catches while Ronnie Tyler had two. Torrey Smith only had one catch. Plus, the lack of receivers getting open caused Turner problems all night.
Tight Ends: C
A couple catches by Tommy Galt and Lansford Watson in the game, but blocking was poor by the unit.
Offensive Line: F
If this is how Maryland's offensive line will perform, get ready for a long season. Cal's defensive line, though returning a lot of starters, were destroying the Terps line all night, constantly blitzing and sacking Turner seven times. The only experienced senior starting on the line, center Phil Costa, committed an illegal snap. The line may be young, but this was a terrible performance tonight.

Defense - Overall Grade: D-
Defensive Line: D-
This unit could not slow down anyone. Kevin Riley had all day to throw and the two runners Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen had no difficulty. When the unit tried to pressure Riley they could not tackle him and Best had huge holes to run through. Only Riley's two sacks prevent this grade from being lower.
Linebackers: F+
They must have known about how dangerous Jahvid Best was, and yet they let him run all over them. A 73-yard run to begin for him as he and Vereen combined for 185 yards on the ground. Plus, the middle of the field was an easy target for Kevin Riley's passing. The unit was having difficulty just tackling.
Secondary: D-
I understand Jamari McCollough got hurt, but this is supposed to be the experienced part of the defense. There were blown coverages all over the place and the Golden Bears receivers were almost unchallenged at every turn.

Special Teams - Overall Grade: B+
Kicker: A
The only good thing to come out of this game was that the Terps may have found their kicker. Nick Ferrara, who seemingly was chosen just before the game, converted his two field goals and extra point, including a 42-yarder in the 2nd quarter.
Punter: B
Travis Baltz had an average day, punting the ball six times for an average of 35.5 yards.
Returners: C+
Torrey Smith was fine for the most part, but a fumble lost on the kickoff gave Cal the ball in great field position. Kenny Tate had an average day returning punts, getting about nine yards per return.
Coverage: B+
Vereen had one good return, but otherwise everything was solid on the special teams end.

Coaching - Overall Grade: F
Offensive: F
James Franklin's playcalling was just terrible tonight. Cal could blitz at will and the Terps did nothing to adjust to it. He also had Chris Turner running draws, even though this is the only experienced quarterback Maryland has. And everything was predictable. Then, when the game was truly out of reach, this is a time you can test some things out. But instead, constant runs to the right and again risking your quarterback on runs. You have an inexperienced line against a dominant defensive line, put Turner in a few more shotgun plays to give him some time, or allow him to throw downfield. Just terrible offensive coaching tonight.
Defensive: F
Don Brown's gameplan was no better. You can't tell me that you did not know about Jahvid Best and his abilities. Nothing on defense was going right, the line and linbackers could do nothing against Best and Vereen while the secondary kept blowing coverages on Cal's receivers. The blitzes almost never worked and Riley was free to pass where he liked. Obviously an offense as experienced as California's is hard to play against, but the defense looked almost nonexistant tonight. I sure hope your first year gets better here.

MVP: Nick Ferrera
Yes, the kicker is the MVP. He did his job perfectly tonight plus his two made field goals kept Maryland in contention until the middle of the second quarter.
LVP: Phil Costa
The leader of the offensive line earns this award. The center got an illegal snap and did not do anything to protect the quarterback tonight.

(Photo credit: AP (Turner, Best tackled), Getty (Best running)


Windsor said...

Actually that would be TWO illegal snaps... but your point remains.

*sigh* good job reporting on a tough game to dwell on

Bill-DC said...

The home opener vs JMU scares me.

Matt said...

JMU is coming to College park to continue the recent CAA vs. ACC success, It'll be close but JMU by a touchdown! GO DUKES!!!