After Temple embarrassed Maryland on Saturday, 38-7, first-year Terrapins coach Randy Edsall cautioned everyone that “this is a process we are in. It was not going to get changed overnight no matter how much I want it to.”
It begs the question: Did this job present a rebuilding project?
Edsall has clamped down on academics and instituted stricter team rules, some of which were broken by two suspended receivers. But on the field, Maryland is fresh off a 9-4 season that culminated with a blowout win in the Military Bowl. Several key players, including last season’s ACC rookie of the year and a first-team all-ACC player on defense, returned.
Considering Saturday’s ugly performance and the upcoming schedule — which starting in two weeks includes games against No. 25 Georgia Tech, No. 21 Clemson and No. 11 Florida State, including two on the road — the Terrapins (1-2) may be hard-pressed to repeat that record.
It is clear that the offense has not been in rhythm without suspended Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree — two of Maryland’s top three receivers — the last two weeks. It’s almost feast or famine with the offense. When the offense succeeds, it thrives, scoring quickly and often. But when it struggles, three-and-outs are extremely costly because the defense is immediately back on the field.
“When we have a three-and-out, we have a drive of less than a minute,” quarterback Danny O’Brien said.
Defensively, Maryland doesn’t appear to be strong in any one area. Pressure on the quarterback is suspect. Linebacker Kenny Tate has been slow to excel. They have given up both big plays and long sustained drives. They also lack depth.
Special teams, at least Saturday, was a disaster. The Terrapins had a punt blocked for the first time since 1999. A roughing the kicker penalty kept a Temple drive alive. And they gave up a 78-yard kickoff return.
Whether this is a rebuilding project now may be in the eye of the beholder.