Mike Locksley, Maryland’s offense and the ‘next-man mentality’


Quarterbacks Devin Burns, above, and Caleb Rowe have embraced Maryland’s “next-man mentality.” (John McDonnel/The Washington Post)

The way Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley describes it, quarterbacks Devin Burns and Caleb Rowe were able to execute off the bench Saturday against North Carolina State thanks to Maryland’s “next-man mentality.”

It’s a state of mind preached throughout practices and meetings by Coach Randy Edsall. Injuries happen, so your shot could be right around the corner. No need to fret or worry. Practice like you’re up next.

“As coaches we need to get the next guy or guys ready, depending on the situation, ready to play,” Locksley said. “Our team has adopted that personality, and I know for us as coaches, whoever the guy is, we need to put together a plan that we can execute against Boston College offensively.”

Locksley declined to tip his hand concerning Maryland’s starting quarterback plans for Saturday’s game in Chestnut Hill, Mass., or even specific schemes the Terps plan to use. Rowe is the better pocket passer, but Burns ran the read-option offense well against N.C. State, helping pave the way for Wes Brown to become Maryland’s first 100-yard rusher this season.

Edsall was similarly mum on the issue Wednesday, but walked past media members conducting interviews with players. When a reporter asked Edsall who would start against the Eagles, he deadpanned: “A.J. Francis. We’ll run the single-wing. When we get into goal-line situations, he’ll just leap over the pile.”

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to try to get a win,” Locksley said. “We’re not playing two [quarterbacks] or playing one for the sake of it. We’re going to play the guy or guys who give us a best chance to win. We’ve got to spend this week putting together game plans, getting these guys out on the field to see what they can execute.”

Locksley called Rowe “a mixture between both Devin and Perry [Hills],” perhaps a vote of confidence in the true freshman’s abilities to run the option like Burns, but still maintain a Hills-esque pocket presence.

Both Rowe and Burns moved the ball effectively in limited time against the Wolfpack, and Boston College will have little film on either – one half and some change on Burns, and all of 30 seconds for Rowe.

With Burns in, lanes opened consistently up for Brown. Locksley was pleased that the Terps finally found productivity on the ground, but told his charges that, because their capabilities have surfaced, now it’s time to become consistent.

“There have been times where we run the ball, and obviously haven’t been very good at it,” Locksley said. “As we talk about every week it’s a culmination of everything. Up front, play-calling, running backs reading it incorrectly, all of us play a role in the lack of production.

“Now we have to consistently do it, make sure we’re getting hats on hats, make sure our quarterbacks are making the right reads, our running backs are making the right treads, get the right things called for us. We all saw we were able to get some things accomplished, now we have to show that we can do it consistently.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · October 24, 2012