A Football Wrap

11/29/2008 11:42:44 PM Well, the regular season is over.

The Terps went 7-5.  A lot better than we all had to sit through from 1990-2001, however with the talent this team seemed to have, it's just a disappointment.  They were a couple plays from being 5-7 and a couple weak outings from being 9-3.

So, how do we look at this team?  Who is to blame?  What can they do to get better?

Here are my thoughts on the season.

First of all my initial thoughts on the entire program are that we have lost something.  I have many games on tape from Ralph's first 3 years here and there is so much of a difference between the team they were and the team they are now.  First, it has nothing to do with talent.  Yeah, they may have had a little more talent in the past, but would you compare Gulian Gary to DHB?

The difference is their style of play.  Their whole attitude.  In those early years, the Terps were aggressive.  They took it to their opponents.  Sometimes aggressive on offense.  They would knock you down and Bruce Perry (all 5'2'' of him) would run right by you.  They trusted the players on the field and let them do their thing.  On defense, they were all running to the ball and putting some big hits on guys.  Remember the comeback against NC State after Novak missed the PAT?  The defense came on the field and got the ball back for the offense immediately and they got it done.  They blitzed, but also were smart.  It just seemed like they had the confidence they could win every game.  This team does not have that.

Even in our wins, there was something missing.  The Terps have become a conservative team that just hopes to score enough points to win.  We need to get back to the team that would come out and want to score 50 every game.  You can see this attitude in the last couple years in the 'creampuff' games early in the season. Earlier in the decade the Terps would win games 45-17, now they just get by teams like it didn't work out, like against FSU that first year, or Notre Dame the 2nd year.  But for the most part, the Terps were coming after you.  They wereDelaware.

There is talent on this team, but they are not being used properly.

Offense - This year we were supposed to have a veteran offensive line that would pound people.  We showed that in about 3 games.  The rest of the season, the line was atrocious and actually stunted the growth of Chris Turner.  Did you notice the 'happy feet' during the BC game?  He never had those before.  Turner was always confident in the pocket.  He never looked scared.  Not all of his passes were great, but he looked calm all the time.  By the end of this season, he looked like he thought he was going to get slammed every time he went back to pass.  He still stayed in there to take a lot of those hits, but it made a difference.

I'm willing to give the offense another year.  We all know the main reason Franklin is back with the Terps is his ability to recruit.  I will always wonder why college teams use the west coast offense when it's an offense that most people say takes multiple years to learn/perfect.  That just doesn't work in college when there is a turnover every 2/3 years.  I don't understand it, but we are bringing back an experienced QB who I hope is challenged and 2 solid running backs.  I like Torey as a WR and hopefully Dorsey will be able to do something as well as Tate possibly moving back to offense.

The offensive line will again be a question mark, but they can't be as bad as they have been 3 of the last 4 games.

Defense - We need a change.  Look, I'm not saying Chris Cosh has no clue.  He has been around and the read-and-react is his style.  But it does not work for this team.  The defense was unable to get a pass rush with 4 guys and once he was able to realize that, Cosh had to adjust and blitz more.  He didn't and the defense ended up being on the field WAAAAY too long in games and that is a big reason why they tired and the end and couldn't come up with stops.

We need to get back to an aggressive defense or at least a more aggressive one.  We did not force enough turnovers.  Somebody also has to teach our corners to look back at the ball and make a play.  Too often, long passes were completed when all our guy had to do was turn around.

I just think this team needs a different philosophy.  That will help the inconsistencies.  When Ralph questions the team and wonders why they are good one week and bad the next, it's the attitude.  They don't have a killer instinct, and they need to believe in themselves every week and I'm not sure these guys did that.

I still support Friedgen and believe in the recruits we have gotten the past couple of years.  I think the team has a bright future, but in order for these guys to rise above mediocrity, they need to get that attitude back.  Other teams really need to start Fearing the Turtle again.
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