Randy Edsall pleased with offensive efficiency in James Madison win


(Associated Press)

Randy Edsall had measured praise for his team after reviewing the video from Saturday’s blowout win over James Madison. It was a productive step for Maryland as it approaches its first road trip at South Florida next week. The key checkpoints from Saturday’s opener: Maryland was highly efficient on offense, even as the passing game was inconsistent. The Terps rushed for 5.7 yards per carry, converted 9 of 18 third downs, didn’t allow a sack and scored on all six of its trips to the red zone.

“I though there were a lot of really good things that happened out there yesterday,” Edsall said.

Defensively, Maryland was never threatened by a James Madison offense that has playmakers. Maryland forced seven punts and an interception on James Madison’s eight first-half possessions; only one of those crossed the Maryland 50-yard line. It was a blend of productivity on offense and special teams that helped the defensive unit stay in good situations, Edsall said, but Maryland established solid pressure and was able to force three turnovers as well.

“It was very evident that you can play really good defense when your opposing opponents average start drive is in the minus-24,” Edsall said.

Here’s more from Edsall’s conference call with reporters Sunday:

 There’s no timetable for linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil’s return. The senior has a right foot injury and didn’t play Saturday.  Cudjoe-Virgil is expected to do more physically this week than he did last, Edsall said.

 Senior inside linebacker Cole Farrand was expected to play only in emergency situations Saturday due to a leg injury, but ended up playing in the second and third quarter. “I thought Cole played well yesterday. Got in there and ended up getting 17 plays in and then no ill effect,” Edsall said.

● Edsall on sophomore running back Wes Brown, who had 81 yards rushing  in his first game after sitting out the 2013 season: “I thought he took advantage of his opportunities.”

●  Edsall also wasn’t overly concerned with punter Nathan Renfro’s 34.3-yard average on Saturday. With the exception of the first punt, which traveled 39 yards to the Dukes’ 34-yard line, Edsall said Renfro adapted to the short fields he faced. Of his six punts, Renfro had five that were downed inside the James Madison 20-yard line.

The game balls from Saturday: Sean Davis (special teams), L.A. Goree (defense). The offensive game ball went to those who helped the running game excel; including the starting offensive line, wide receivers and fullback Kenny Goins.

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.

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Roman Stubbs · August 31, 2014