Name a way to inject some life into its rushing attack, and Maryland probably tried it in the last month.
The Terrapins cycled through three starting tailbacks in September.
They juggled their offensive line during their bye week late last month.
They sifted through several offensive formations, some by choice and some out of necessity.
And still, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Terps continue to struggle.
“It’s not one thing or it’s not one person all the time,” coach Randy Edsall said. “It’s everyone taking a turn, it seems like at times.”
For all of Maryland’s feistiness as it enters Saturday’s trip to Virginia (2-4, 0-2 ACC), it is easy to imagine its most obvious area of trouble emerging as a greater shortcoming as the Terps (3-2, 1-0) delve deeper into their conference schedule.
Maryland ranks 116th nationally in rushing offense, and the four teams below the Terps are a combined 4-19. Only once in five games has Maryland reached the 100-yard barrier on the ground as a team.
The Terps have ripped off only eight runs of at least 12 yards, with their four inexperienced tailbacks accounting for just four.
The longest run of the season was 21 yards; every other ACC team has at least one of 40 yards.
In that light, it is impressive Maryland has already surpassed its victory total from a year ago. Without improvement, though, that success could easily stall in the second half of the season.
“It’s frustrating, but when you’re starting young players up front and the middle of your offense — from our center to our quarterback to our tailback — we have some guys who don’t have a lot of game experience,” offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said.
“The thing you’d like to be able to do is find a way to run the football to find a way to take some pressure off the young quarterback. We just haven’t been able to do it consistently.”
After both of last year’s starting offensive tackles (Max Garcia and R.J. Dill) transferred in the offseason, the line was not an obvious strength. It took four games for Edsall to opt for a youth, plugging freshmen Mike Madaras (left tackle) and Andrew Zeller (right guard) in place of upperclassmen.
Maryland did not have the choice to wait in the backfield, where quarterback Perry Hills was elevated to a starting spot after C.J. Brown’s preseason knee injury.View Entire Story
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Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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