There was an obvious answer to this question, but it was still worth asking anyway.
If Maryland could get away with not using Eric Franklin as a fourth safety when Jamari McCollough missed most of four games earlier this season, why didn’t it find a way to avoid playing the true freshman when Antwine Perez got hurt Saturday?
The sensible answer was that Duke tossed out a ton of four-wide receiver sets, and that Maryland’s scheme required three safeties to be on the field. Those guys need an occasional rest, which would require a fourth safety.
And that’s pretty much correct.
“We were in nickel and dime and [defensive coordinator Don Brown] was using three safeties,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “We couldn’t get out of our game plan because they were all four wide receivers.”
Franklin played about a half-dozen snaps and got a sack on Saturday, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he plays on an increasingly freshman-laden kickoff team. On Saturday, that unit included four true freshmen – Ryan Donahue, Darin Drakeford, Nick Ferrara and Avery Murray.
“He played pretty good. …,” Friedgen said. “We knew he was going to be a good player. It’s just it is what it is. We’re hoping we don’t have to do that with [Dexter] McDougle or one of the quarterbacks, but that might come about, too.”