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Opening the mailbag

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\ That doesn’t mean I won’t post angry e-mails, too; well, not profanity-laced angry e-mails. But a rational message is always welcome and sure to wind up in the blogosphere quickly.\

\ Anyway, this is one fan’s thoughts:\

I’m sure you’re hearing lots about this, especially from fans, but are you getting the impression that the Chris Cosh era is close to ending sometime this year? Seems like even going back to the Villanova game they’ve been content with sitting 6-7 defenders back in a zone, generate little to no pass rush, and then allow QB’s to pick them apart, especially over the middle. I don’t know if that is the gameplan for the defense, but you and I both know that’s the result more often than not.\

\ Likewise, with (at least to my rather untrained eye from section 28) the playcalling rather suspect, does it seem like Ralph will be more motivated to hire an OC after this season? Obviously the injuries have really messed things up, but it seems like things have been very, very conservative. I know I’m not the first to wonder the point of having such a big playbook if it’s too much and too complicated to use effectively. \

\ Besides that, it’s another set of eyes on the field. Prior to the 3rd and 1 play before the fake punt, Bruce Campbell could barely stand, let alone limp to the huddle. I told my dad if they ran to the left they would not get the first down. Sure enough they ran behind Campbell, who gave no push off the line since he could hardly stand, didn’t get the first down, and had to run the fake.\

\ I’m sure it’ll be an interesting week of practice. Amazing how things can change in the span of just a few weeks.

\ First, I’m not sure of any specific changes that will occur a month or so down the road. Without question, the vast majority of fans who choose to make their opinions known anonymously online would like to see a new defensive coordinator, and many would like Ralph to relinquish his offensive coordinator duties as well. The following statement is no way official but is certainly intuitive: The more the Terps lose in November, the more likely there will be some kind of changes. It’s just a matter of what they will be.\

\ Fans seem distressed by how easily the likes of Taylor Bennett and Jameel Sewell have eviscerated the defense, and the chunk plays allowed on defense – especially on third downs – have hurt Maryland badly. But the glaring issue is tackling, just as it was for the first half of last season. Ralph said Sunday the Terps missed a dozen tackles in the second half on Saturday against Clemson, and there were several more before then. Some of that is a difference in speed, some of that is a matter of in-game attrition, some of it is season-long attrition. And some of it is coaching, as Ralph conceded the other day.\

\ John’s point about the “extra set of eyes” is exceptionally valid. Most offensive coordinators sit up in the booth and can see the field much better than someone on the field. Another obvious benefit of hiring an experienced offensive coordinator: Some one could relieve Ralph of the hassle of running offensive meetings and preparing practice scripts.\

\ But that change, if it does occur, won’t happen today. That indeed leaves the Terps in an “interesting week” – probably more interesting than the days leading up to a game between a 4-4 team and a 2-6 team really have any right to be.\

\ – Patrick Stevens

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