Defense Is Winning the Blitz Battle
Coach Ralph Friedgen said Wednesday’s practice was a “real good, tough practice.” He liked the overall intensity of the team. Specifically, he said it is clear that the defense is ahead of the offense right now. Maryland started blitzing linebackers on Wednesday, which revealed a few things:
The Terrapins have good team speed on defense, Friedgen said. He added that the overall team speed may be better than it was last season. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield impressed the coaches with his speed. Defensive lineman Derek Drummond looked particularly good rushing the passer. Friedgen also noted that cornerbacks Anthony Wiseman and Nolan Carroll are playing very well. Free safety Terrell Skinner has played better than he did in the spring. And safety Kenny Tate had two interceptions Wednesday.
Friedgen said the first-team offense was “okay” at handling the blitzing. As for the second team? “It wasn’t pretty, but I am not really concerned about that. Some of the kids have not seen the speed at which things are happening right now. I want to find out in Saturday’s scrimmage if there are any of those young guys who can help us down the road – four or five games into the season.”
Maryland is committing a few too many “stupid penalties,” Friedgen said, and some it may be attributed to the team’s youth. Friedgen has harped on the fact that the team has to play smart. “A guy makes an interception and throws the ball out of the end zone,” Friedgen said. “We can’t afford to do things like that and beat ourselves. … As soon as we put the pads on, we have guys rolling all over the place, and that’s how you get people hurt. Let’s get everybody to the dance.”
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