Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Maryland Terrapins season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Maryland Terrapins
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Maryland Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
It’s going to take a perfect storm.
Maryland and Rutgers weren’t done any favors by being placed in the Big Ten East when they joined the conference in 2014, meaning they’d have to beat their heads against the Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State and Michigan wall on an annual basis.
Ask former Big 12er Texas A&M what life has been like in the SEC West compared to what Missouri got to deal with playing in the SEC East.
But that’s the break, and that’s the deal, but at least head coach DJ Durkin is doing his part.
He came up with a top 20 recruiting class two years ago, and another good one this season, but he’ll never have the talents and depth that the Buckeyes, Spartans and Nittany Lions amass, and trying to fit-to-a-type in a system like Michigan State or a Wisconsin takes years of building.
And it takes a whole lot of luck, too.
Last year’s team was strong, and it looked like it was on its way to something interesting after shocking Maryland in the opener, but starting quarterback Tyrell Pigrome went down with a knee injury. Two games later, star recruit QB Kasim Hill suffered a torn ACL. Eight players end up throwing a pass last season as the offense went from exciting and promising, to simply trying to get through the day.
And then there was the problem of the league. Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin were all fringe College Football Playoff teams, Michigan State rebounded, UCF went on to win the national championship in its mind, and Northwestern ended up winning ten games.
Durkin is doing what he can, but he needs everyone to stay healthy, he needs his systems to have a chance to work, and he needs the rest Big Ten to take a big nap.
But at the very least, he’s dealt with two years of quarterback issues – he should have a Plan C, D and Q ready to go by now – and again, he’s got more talent than the Terps have had for a long time.
Hill’s knee looks like its going to be ready to roll, and Pigrome is expected to be fine this season, too. Start from there, and behind a line that gives everyone back, add in a potentially strong and deep group of running backs, and the offense should start to work. It stinks not to have DJ Moore around anymore for the receiving corps, but the parts are there.
The D is getting a whole lot of help from transfers like LB Tre Watson from Illinois and DE Byron Cowart from Auburn, but there’s more in place to get excited about.
Even though the line loses all the starters, the upside is there to be even better, Antoine Brooks is one of the Big Ten’s best safeties, and thanks to the recruiting classes, the defense has the growing talent-level to rise up and be a whole lot better.
And then it all comes down to the college football gods.
Durkin is overdue for a chance to show what his team can do without having to rebuild, without having to scramble, and in a season where everyone else has to do a little of both.