2012 ACC Football Season Recap: Maryland Terrapins

Injuries Aside, Stefon Diggs and the Maryland Defense At Least Had Impressive Seasons

Injuries Aside, At Least Stefon Diggs and the Maryland Defense Had Impressive Seasons

Team: Maryland Terrapins

W-L: 4-8 (2-6)

Postseason: None

Top Offensive Performer: Stefon Diggs, WR

Top Defensive Performer: Joe Vellano, DL

Before the 2012 season even started, the Terrapins appeared to be cursed last year. Incumbent starting quarterback C.J. Brown was lost for the season with a torn ACL in practice, and with his loss, so vanished a promising season for Maryland. But surprisingly, that was not the case — at least initially, anyway. Replacement Perry Hills was learning on the fly, but had still led the Terps to a 4-3 record… until he was injured as well. The Angry Maryland QB-Hating God joke/nightmare grew when Hills’s replacements, Caleb Rowe and Caleb Rowe were also injured, leaving the team to lean on linebacker Shawn Petty for the remainder of the year. So before laughing at the Terrapins’ 123rd-ranked offense or 109th scoring offense in the country, consider the situation. On offense, they were virtually set up to fail from day one, with the only saving grace being standout freshman receiver Stefon Diggs. The receiver and kick returner had 1,896 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns, all while routinely being the fastest player on the field. Playing with a linebacker at quarterback, they still nearly beat North Carolina in the final week of the season — the same UNC team that would’ve taken home the ACC’s Coastal division. So sure, you could call it all bad, but there’s also plenty of foundation for the future.

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ACC Football 2012 Power Rankings: Week 11

Following Their Big Win Over Virginia Tech, the Miami Hurricanes Control Their Own Destiny in the Coastal Division

Half of the ACC has seemingly fallen off a cliff, which makes it increasingly difficult to defend teams’ strength of schedule when it comes to BCS conversations. And yet, two squads in particular (you can probably guess which) continue to roll through opponents, gaining very little respect in the process. The key for the conference to grab two BCS berths once again will unfortunately lie in the strength of the middle and bottom of the conference. However, with many teams mired in slumps, or lingering around .500, who knows if more than three or four teams finish better than 6-6. Nonetheless, we try and sort through the mess below:

1. Florida State Seminoles (8-1) (5-1) (LW: 1): The ‘Noles have looked great lately, though consistency is another story entirely. Despite utterly dominating most opponents, there have been some severe lulls in creative play-calling and an overall lack of focus that lead us right to the cause of the NC State loss (now unforgivable, considering the Pack’s fall). Heading into the home stretch, FSU surely knows the stakes, though. Win the next two, and they’re playing for an ACC Championship and a likely berth in the Orange Bowl.

2. Clemson Tigers (8-1) (5-1) (LW: 2): With the offense moving at breakneck speed and the defense looking mildly improved, the Tigers are suddenly talking about their own BCS dreams. The only route for them, however, is to win out. While their remaining ACC slate (Maryland, NC State) don’t appear to be much of a threat, they also do nothing to help the team’s lagging strength of schedule numbers. Their best shot: a big win over arch-rival South Carolina, plus some other losses by their competition for the final at-large spot for good measure.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-3) (3-2) (LW: 5): The Heels had the week off, which somehow made everyone forget about the season Giovani Bernard is having. And between Bernard’s missed games and UNC’s ineligibility for the postseason, this program’s already dealing with enough poor luck. And unfortunately, it comes as a disadvantage for the conference too. North Carolina is the best team in the Coastal, with one of the best players in the conference (Bernard) at running back. Instead of focusing on that during the title game, talk will be all about how poorly the Coastal performed, harping on its “subpar” champion.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (5-4) (4-2) (LW: 7): The ‘Canes were handed a test on Thursday, and came out with a resounding victory and the inside track to winning the Coastal division. Seemingly under the radar to most, Miami has made some improvements on the defensive side of the ball, and it showed while they held Virginia Tech to 12 points while forcing three turnovers. The biggest advantage, though, was the strength of the running game, which was engineered by Duke Johnson. Again, both Johnson and Mike James need more touches if this offense hopes to keep up with the conference’s top teams. But with just over 200 combined carries for the two running backs all season, I’m not sure the coaching staff is aware of that yet.

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ACC Football Preseason Power Rankings 2012

Kyle Fuller and the Virginia Tech Defense Are a Large Part of the Team’s High Ranking Coming Into 2012

Just days before kickoff, we’ve compiled our final offseason power rankings before the new ACC football season begins. Starting after week one (this weekend), these will go back to their typical, weekly format. Read the full rankings below, and enjoy the season!

1. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 1): Florida State’s hype has gone through the roof as we’ve gotten closer to the season. On top of the typical talk of an ACC title, notable pundits have also pegged them as a true national title contender (and perhaps, winner, too). In the end, it’ll all come down to EJ Manuel‘s readiness to take them to the next level. It’s obvious the defense is fully capable already, despite the loss of Greg Reid (not as vital as some would have you think).

2. Clemson Tigers (LW: 2): Things won’t be easy without game-changing receiver Sammy Watkins during the first two games of the season. But there’s still plenty of firepower in this offense, even in his absence. We know they can score. But unfortunately, we’re still unsure whether or not this defense can stop anyone. Week one versus Auburn will be a tough test early on.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 3): As always, the Virginia Tech defense (led by Kyle Fuller) is on board. Now, we’ll have to see just how well this revamped Hokies offensive line holds up. If Logan Thomas can get some time to throw — instead of being relegated to scrambling too often — they’ll be just fine.

4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (LW: 5): Manageable schedule, veteran group; the whole thing seems to lead to a big year for the Ramblin’ Wreck. The key, as mentioned far too many times before, is Tevin Washington‘s ability to throw the ball. If he’s made strides, and the passing game at least appears to be a threat to the defense, the triple-option becomes that much more dangerous.

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ACC 2012 Season Preview: Maryland Terrapins

Quarterback C.J. Brown Needs to Take Less Hits if Maryland’s Offense Wants to Progress in 2012

Team: Maryland Terrapins

2011 W-L: 2-10 (1-7)

Head Coach: Randy Edsall (2-10; one season)

Returning Starters: 15 (5 Offense, 10 Defense)

After arriving at his dream job coaching the University of Maryland football team last year, Randy Edsall proceeded to rub both media and players the wrong way while turning a 9-4 squad into a 2-10 disaster. The team’s defense allowed over 34 points per game. The team’s offense scored just 23 per game. Only two of the team’s 10 losses occurred by a single-digit margin, they barely defeated a suspension-depleted Miami team on opening night, and only beat FBS team Towson, 28-3. Additionally, they managed to choke away double-digit leads against Clemson and NC State, with the latter putting up 42 in the second half to come back and win. Needless to say, Edsall’s first year on the job was a challenging one. But it appears he’s taken steps to fix it.

First up was the offense, which demanded radical changes after a tumultuous 2011 campaign. So the ineffective Gary Crowton was fired, and in his place, the team returned former recruiting coordinator Mike Locksley, who spent the last three seasons at New Mexico. Now, he’ll have to figure out a way to mold C.J. Brown — who showed some signs of success in 2011 — into a program-defining quarterback. On top of conditioning the junior passer to take less hits, he’ll also have to work to replace several major pieces on offense, lost by the major attrition since Edsall took the helm. Beyond the obvious departure of former starting QB Danny O’Brien, Locksley will have to sort out former star tackle Max Garcia‘s replacement as well. With major question marks on the offensive line, it won’t be easy for Brown to quickly establish himself in the pocket. He’ll be relying on top targets Kevin Dorsey and Stefon Diggs to get open often, as well as the questionable running game to help pick up the slack; all uneasy propositions beyond the senior, Dorsey. Again, Locksley was brought back into the fold for a reason, and he’ll have his work cut out for him.

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ACC 2012 Spring Practice Expectations: Maryland Terrapins

Demetrius Hartsfield and the Maryland Defense May Hold the Key to Success For the Terps in 2012

As spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing what needs to happen for the teams and players of the ACC, culminating with notes on all 14 spring games.

Today’s featured team: Maryland Terrapins

As has been well-documented here, as well as everywhere else on the web, Maryland’s football team was terrible in 2011. Worse yet, they’ve already been terrible this offseason, and they still haven’t played an actual game. What was once a burgeoning quarterback controversy (and potentially exciting camp battle) quickly turned into a messy ordeal between head coach Randy Edsall and former starter Danny O’Brien — indirectly resulting in O’Brien’s departure to parts yet-to-be-determined. What we know now, however, is that rising junior C.J. Brown is now officially the man who carries all of Maryland’s hopes on his shoulders. The versatile thrower and passer had some impressive outings in 2011 (see: Clemson), but consistency was a struggle. For the pass game to improve from last year’s mediocre 75th overall (in the FBS), Brown has to put in the time with his receivers this spring. While he’ll surely have help, much of the onus will fall on rising senior receiver Kevin Dorsey, along with stud recruit Stefon Diggs. Like his quarterback, Dorsey struggled a bit with consistency throughout the year — missing two games, and then virtually disappearing from the stat sheet during the middle of the season. With a healthy running game (questionable, given the inexperienced backs vying for the starting job this year) and some marked improvement from Brown though, it’s conceivable the Terps score more than the meager 23.1 points per game they pulled together in 2011. Continue reading

2011 ACC Season Recap: Maryland Terrapins

Maryland's Uniforms Weren't Even the Ugliest Thing About the Program In 2011

Team: Maryland Terrapins

W-L: 2-10 (1-7)

Postseason: N/A

Top Offensive Performer: Davin Meggett, RB

Top Defensive Performer: Demetrius Hartsfield, LB

After hiring former Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall, Maryland was supposed to take the next step and contend for their first ACC title (and BCS game) since 2001. Instead, the program dropped to the familiar depths of 10-loss seasons and enough ineptitude to turn away even the most diehard Terrapins supporters. Of the Terps’ two victories, just one was against FBS competition (Miami), and even that one can be partially discounted due to how many players were suspended for the Hurricanes that night in September. Losers of their final eight games, even when things appeared to be going right for Maryland (second half vs. West Virginia, first half vs. Clemson and most of the NC State game), the bottom would just inevitably fall out in catastrophic fashion.

With a quarterback controversy on their hands for most of the season, Maryland’s offense finished a putrid 87th in the FBS, putting up just 23.1 points per game. The Terps would be held under 20 points six separate times during 2011, and if not for two separate 40-point outbursts (in defeat, no less), their average would be even worse. As one may guess, with all the deficits Maryland would face, the running game was used sparingly late in contests, however the team still managed to finish third in the ACC in rushing with nearly 170 yards on the ground per game. With no margin for error in most second halves though, the passing game — averaging just 210 yards per game — was trusted with the reigns, falling on its face more often than not. Continue reading