Thursday, January 24, 2013
2012 report cards: Maryland
By Andrea Adelson
Let's move on to Maryland.
OFFENSE: Woe is Maryland, right? The truth is, the Terps really had no chance to get any consistency going on offense because of all the quarterback injuries. It was bad enough losing projected starter C.J. Brown in the preseason. But then to see Perry Hills get hurt, and then Devin Burns, and then Caleb Rowe, well, some strange voodoo was going on in College Park. Three of those players, by the way, tore their ACLs, leaving coach Randy Edsall in a position to defend his strength and conditioning staff when questions were raised about why there was a rash of that specific injury to his quarterbacks. The Terps ended the season with converted linebacker Shawn Petty playing quarterback for the final four games, all losses. Given all the turmoil, you understand why Maryland ranked last in total offense, No. 107 in scoring offense, No. 112 in rushing offense, and No. 100 in passing offense. The lone bright spot was the emergence of Stefon Diggs, one of the more dynamic freshmen in the country. But even he is not enough to keep Maryland from getting a failing grade, even if it comes with extenuating circumstances. OFFENSE: F.
DEFENSE: The Terps were much improved on defense in 2012, turning a group that was the worst in the ACC in 2011 into one of the best in 2012. Maryland finished the season ranked No. 3 in the ACC in total defense, allowing 121 yards fewer than a year ago. Joe Vellano anchored the inside, and won All-ACC honors as expected. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield also had an excellent season, but it ended up being cut short because of -- you guessed it, a torn ACL. He still made it on the coaches' All-ACC second team after averaging 8.7 tackles per game. Still, Maryland was much stronger in the first half of the season than it was in the second. The final four games were the toughest in the league, against teams with winning records. Given the offense's malaise, more and more pressure was placed on the defense until it broke. The strides, though, cannot be overlooked. GRADE: B-minus.
OVERALL: Maryland got off to a 4-2 start, one of the more pleasant surprises in the ACC to that point. But it was all a mirage. None of those wins came against FBS opponents with winning records, and the injury situation at quarterback completely did this team in. So did the brutal end-of-the season schedule against Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina with no break in between. Maryland doubled its win total from a year ago, but it did end the season on a six-game losing streak and suffer its third losing season in four years (including two straight). Not a winning grade in this book. GRADE: D.