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What was the worst part about Maryland's loss at Miami?

By Eric Prisbell

Ah, basketball season is here. This is such a fun time of the year...Now, we’ve all had a couple days to process the loss at Miami. Here are some of my thoughts:

I’m surprised at the negative reaction toward Maryland from many of the fans. Maryland played a desperate Miami team down to the wire. They were a play away from winning. No shame in that. I felt Maryland was playing with house money in this one and that the Hurricanes needed the win more. Why are some --- not all -- of the fans so reactionary?

The atmosphere was abominable, the worst homecoming atmosphere I ever recall seeing on a major college level. I didn’t trail even one car into the parking lot and parked in the first spot next to the stadium.

That face mask call with about 10 minutes left in the game? I didn’t see the face mask penalty and could not see an adequate replay. I did hear someone in the press box say that Sean Spence had pulled a tight end’s face mask. But it remained a mystery to me, and I’ve got a handful of emails about what fans called a “phantom penalty.”

On to Maryland’s mistakes. I’m curious which bothered you the most.

My choice is putting Jamarr Robinson in the game inside the five yard line in the first half. Robinson fumbled, lost eight yards and Maryland settled for 3 instead of getting 7. Costly.

But there were other issues:

Danny O’Brien’s underthrow into the end zone that was intercepted.

Three straight running plays when trying to bleed the clock.

Joe Vellano’s roughing the passer penalty.

The 16-yard run by Stephen Morris on third and 11.

The defensive coverage on Morris’s 35-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson.

So there are six plays/sequences. Which bothered you the most?

By Eric Prisbell  | November 9, 2010; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Comments

The fact that there were 6 problems (and I suspect actually more) illustrates why UMD, in its 10th year with Fridge, will never be great...we will be a mediocre team with occasional blips on the upside (2008) and downside (2009). For the most part, we are better than the true bottom feeders in the ACC but not good enough to challenge the top 5 teams in the league. That is why we need to rely on other teams to lose in order to remain with a shot at the title game..( not a very satisfactory existence in my opinion)....I for one, tire of the comparisons to last year as a measure of success because last season was such an abomination it never should have happened. The coaches seem to be content that because other teams lost last weekend, that everything is ok and we didnt lose any ground? WTH?...OK back to your original question: I am bothered most by the Robinson insertion at the 2 yd line...cant figure it out but then again, I am not the offensive genius that Ralph is...or perhaps Franklin??????

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 9, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Prisbell,
Poking the hornet's nest? OK, I'll bite. If you look at the Terps Insider polls after wins, over 60% love Ralph, if we lose 60% want Ralph gone. Seems to me like we have a lot of mini-Dan Snyder's here. If we would have listened to them, Fridge would have been fired and re-hired at least five times this year. The only call I truly had a problem with was putting Robinson in at the 2-yard line. But, you can look back on any football game and criticize a few play calls. Bottom line is we were one play away from beating a solid Miami team on the road. We got UVA this weekend, then FSU and NC State at home. Not a bad position to be in at this point in the season.

Posted by: aviscardo | November 9, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

TerpfanMA- we understood your opinion. There is no reason for you to continue to post the same comments over and over again.

You have every right to your opinion and your desire for MD to be a top 10 program every year and play the toughest non-conference schedule in the country (by the way did you see who #1 auburn played this past weekend).

But why don't you leave this MD team to those of us that enjoy cheering for this team and are excited about the possibilities for this season as slim as you may think they are.

Just come back to cheer for MD when Fridge and his staff is gone. Its college football it won't be longer than 5 years. You clearly do not enjoy watching this team.

Or if you are going to continue to post, why don't you provide some thoughts on other head coach possibilities for this program. Or show us models of other college football programs that MD should be following (like georgia, tx, ND, Mich... oh wait nevermind)

Just a thought.

Posted by: AdoptedTerp | November 9, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

While the end zone interception was probably the most damaging to the Terps' chances to win the game, the Jamaar Robinson packages are a disturbing trend that is derailing the offense. There was just one decent play from that package on Saturday (Torrey Smith screen for 12 yards). Thinking back, I belive that's the only truly positive play that package has created since DOB became the full time started. I don't necessarily have a problem with the package itself, and it seems that they are working a few more plays into that look, but the timing of when Franklin throws Robinson into the game just seems random and peculliar. Putting him in on that goalline play was just unnecessary and killed any momentum Maryland had gained up to that point. Franklin really needs to stop picking downs for that package and let Robinson start a series or set of downs. One play and done may catch the defense off guard, but the players don't have any rhythm, and you pull your starter out of rhythm in the process.

I also don't understand why that package is set so tight (backs less than 2 yards behind the LOS), because it eliminates the possibility of a sweep, roll out, or option.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 9, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

same to you adoptedterp...we get that you like the fridge....no sense repeating it or deriding others for their opinions..if you dont like reading opinions, then dont...simple as that

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 9, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Russ, I want to buy you a beer. You just read my mind. The Torrey Smith screen for 12 yards was literally the only positive play they have run out of that package all year. It's pretty baffling but I think the reason for the insertion of Robinson at the goal line may have been as simple as Franklin wanting to give Robinson a gimmie TD. O'Brien did all the work to get you down there and then give the TD to Robinson to make him feel like he's still a part of this team. As ridiculous as that may seem, I honestly think it's the only explanation for putting in a guy cold off the bench in that situation.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 9, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

What's sad about that screen is that it shouldn't have gained over 3 yards, because Miami had it well defended, Torrey Smith made those yards on shear talent. In fact most of the flanker screens Franklin runs are only successful because the receiver makes a good play, not because it's a well-designed play. The wide-outs are pretty bad blockers, and more often than not, if the defense is playing bump and run, as Miami was doing all day, those plays should be ripped right out of the playbook.

It looked like that play was gonig to be a play-action toss to one of the RBs or TE until Robinson botched the snap. That wasn't the only bad red zone call either. Franklin needs to add some rolls and pocket shifting plays to his red zone package, because the line is not able to open big holes in the middle.

Also, where was DJ Adams in the red zone. He's the most reliable RB when it comes to needing a yard ot two. I thought for sure that he was thumping the ball into the end zone before Franklin sent on Robinson, and then I just shook my head.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 9, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Barno -

You would think JF would learn...didn't he do the same thing early in the season by sending DOB in for a first and goal that ended in disaster when J-Rob was starting?

It does not work. Give the man a series or save him in case the starter gets hurt.

Coaching error.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | November 9, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

well...look on the bright side...Miami doubled our offensive production and its pretty hard to win football games when that happens

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 9, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Barno -

You would think JF would learn...didn't he do the same thing early in the season by sending DOB in for a first and goal that ended in disaster when J-Rob was starting?

It does not work. Give the man a series or save him in case the starter gets hurt.

Coaching error.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | November 9, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

HGR, Franklin has been doing this since 2008. Does the name JOSH PORTIS ring a bell anyone??? He would insert Portis in for one play here and one play there, and even though it would appear to be effective--as Portis would usually gain 5 or 6 yards on a QB sneak--it would almost always kill our drive when Turner came back in. It's just very disruptive to the offense.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 9, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

well...look on the bright side...Miami doubled our offensive production and its pretty hard to win football games when that happens

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 9, 2010 3:12 PM
-------------------------------

Clemson managed to win when we nearly doubled them up.

Posted by: fushezzi | November 9, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Watch out Fusheezi...Brooks doesn't like facts.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 9, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Easy Big Fella...I said "pretty hard" ..not impossible...I noticed that Russ made a couple of interesting points..

1) "The Wide Outs are pretty bad blockers"

2) "The line is not able to open up big holes in the middle"

Hallmarks of a good team????? With a Fridge team its always something else but its always something...blocking, tackling, execution, turnovers, penalties, preparation, hustle, play calling, clock management, player rotation, personnel decisions, recruiting....pretty much just take your pick.....

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 9, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Hallmarks of a good team????? With a Fridge team its always something else but its always something...blocking, tackling, execution, turnovers, penalties, preparation, hustle, play calling, clock management, player rotation, personnel decisions, recruiting....pretty much just take your pick....."

That's college football. There's not team in the country that doesn't have weaknesses, even the mighty TCU Horned Frogs, Oregon Ducks, Boise State Broncos, and Auburn Tigers. Every team has weaknesses, and it's up to the coaching staff to not allow the opponent to expose those weaknesses. When plays are specifically called to run the defense into one of our offensive weaknesses, that's when coaches should be ashamed. This team has a lot of strengths:

LBs and safeties are some of the best in the conference.
WRs have speed and are relatively sure-handed when compared to other ACC receiving corps.
Megget is a bruising downhill runner.
DOB is one of the calmest pocket passers in the ACC.
The O-line is getting better in straight-up pass protection.
Tony Logan is one of the best PRs in the country.
Baltz is the best multi-purpose kicker in the nation.

We do tend to focus on the faults of the team, because a game like Saturday exposes some of the team's weaknesses, and the victory was there to be had if those mistakes were not made.

If you don't see a football team headed in the right direction out of the Chris Turner era, then I don't know what games you have been watching.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 9, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Simply put, a good offensive coordinator runs an offense that maximizes the talents of his players.. Franklin doesn't do that.. It's 'HIS' offense, the players have to run it...Those quick outs to the WR rarely work.. He has a mobile QB, Portis, Robinson, he calls for pee wee football.. Hike the ball and try to run around the end.. Never works..Barno, you wanted to buy Russ a beer, I say buy a case, and bring back Charlie T. His offense worked, and brought out the most of the players talents...
These last three games, The head coach needs to sit down with his OC, and run plays that his team can run.. Not plays out of a dream world playbook Go Terps !!!

Posted by: frostanna | November 9, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Russ...lets look at facts rather than hyperbole

LBs and safeties are some of the best in the conference.

- Our LBs are good vs run but not great vs pass
WRs have speed and are relatively sure-handed when compared to other ACC receiving corps.

- Ok our WRs are fast..do we get them the ball downfield? Heyward Bay was one of the fastest in college when he played but his receptions were low and it was one of the concerns of NFL scouts

Megget is a bruising downhill runner.

Our rushing game isnt great..and for all his bruising, he doesnt rank in the top 5 rushers in the conference..not sure even in the top 10

DOB is one of the calmest pocket passers in the ACC.

- How do they measure calm?

The O-line is getting better in straight-up pass protection.

- When do they actually get good? Is that next year or the year after?

Tony Logan is one of the best PRs in the country.

- ok, hes good

Baltz is the best multi-purpose kicker in the nation.

- There are currently 8 kickers in the ACC that are ahead of him in FG % and PATs so not really sure where this statement came from...maybe Fridge said it at a press conference

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 9, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Baltz used to be a great punter. He's been a terrible punter since he took on the full time Place Kicker job...

Posted by: dlgood | November 10, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

How many interceptions do our LBs have this season? I seemed to recall that Woujiack had two on Saturday alone, and Moten's got a couple as well. Our LBs are just fine in pass coverage, actually they're pretty darn good. Occassionally, the LBs will lose a guy in coverage, mostly because of the complicated scheme, but the number coverage breakdowns each game has gone down from the beginning of the season.

The WRs are getting a lot of balls downfield, a lot more than we've seen in the past few years. DOB takes at least 3-5 shots deep every game, and there's at least 2 or 3 completions over 30 yards every game.

Meggett splits time with Scott, so he's not going to be near the top of the conference rushing list, especially when so many teams in the conference have feature backs. Even when Scott is terrible and Meggett is hot, they are equally rotated.

4 INTs---That's pretty darn calm for a freshman that is operating in a pretty balanced offense. Miami's freshman QB equalled that INT total in a game and a half.

Improvement is improvement. Would you rather the line protect like they were against WVU? I think they did a pretty decent job against a really good Miami front four in pass protection (only 2 sacks). Once they figure out the run blocking, this line is going to be elite. Fridge is no stranger to having top notch offensive lines, and Maryland has produced a number of NFL OL under Fridge. Sure, it's Fridge's fault that there has been a recruiting gap, which is why the line has been so terrible all last year and for the first part of this season, but there is definitely improvement, and the success of a line is all about chemistry, which these guys are gaining every week.

Baltz is 35-35 on PATs, and 9-11 on FGs. That's 7th in the ACC in FG average, and tied for first in PATs. Two misses all year, I'd say that's pretty darn good for a duel purpose kicker. His punting has gone down a bit since he's taken on the duel role (42.8 avg.), but it's still better than his injury-plagued 2009 season.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 10, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

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