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Maryland's defense focuses on positives

Don Brown, Maryland’s defensive coordinator, can look at his unit two different ways: It’s a unit that at times can’t seem to get off the field. It has been on the field for more than 80 plays in all the games against division I-A opponents. But it is also a unit that made three consecutive key stops against Florida International on Saturday to help Maryland secure the victory.

“Without question, that’s the most important thing,” he said of the stops. “Here’s the things you look at: Third down we’ve struggled, fourth down we’re the best in the league. Red zone, you got your back to the wall, we’re the best in the league. That’s when your character, your play-calling, the whole thing gets tested when you are backs to the wall. We’re flourishing in those areas. We‘ve got to do a better job on third down. There is no denying that.”

It has not been easy for the defense because of the variety of offenses it has faced, and starting the season against Navy’s triple-option was no treat.

“Let me give you a scenario: Two weeks into camp, we stopped running our defense and got ready to play Navy,” Brown said. “You stop your progression, you stop everything you’re doing and get ready to play that game. Then you play that game. Then on a short week, you flip the switch and get ready to play in your defense. You’re not talking about red zone and this and that. You’re just trying to line up, get back in your regular defense and play. Then you have the spread offense the following week.

“We’re still at a very formative stage. Wherever we are this week, I know we will be better three weeks from now, as long as our health stays in tact, I know we’ll be a lot better.”

By Eric Prisbell  | September 29, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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This is the second year in this scheme. Players on this defense should not be in a "formative" stage. There are a number of starters that also either started or played significant roles on this defense last year, so Brown should not be forming the defensive scheme every year. Also, change schemes to the opposing offense is just stupid at this level. Gameplanning and preparing for an opponent is fine, but to completely reform the defense for specific opponents is just another sorry excuse by this staff. The defense they run Saturday against Duke should be the same defense they ran against Navy, Morgan, WVU, and FIU, unless the scheme is broken, which it probably is.

I have not been impressed with Brown, who was supposed to bring a solid and agressive defensive philosophy to counter Cosh's passive, prevent-style defense. This defense is not any more aggressive (certainly not in coverage with DBs lining up 10-15 yards off their receivers), and still has many attributes of the Cosh bend-but-don't-break mentality that was so frustrating 3-5 years ago.

This isn't the fastest defense, but the have a lot of talented players at key positions. Brown needs to get his defense in sync, or the Terps might only see 1-2 more wins this year.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 29, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

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