The Maryland football team’s dramatic overtime win over Virginia Tech coincided with its biggest offensive line shakeup of the season, set in motion by more upheaval at left tackle. After Mike Madaras abruptly left the program for personal reasons two weeks ago, the Terrapins elevated true freshman Moise Larose to the starting spot on the blindside. But when Larose suffered a mid-foot sprain against Clemson, everything changed.
For the first nine games of the season, four members of the unit had remained stationary. Despite injuries swirling around them, right tackle Ryan Doyle, right guard Michael Dunn, center Sal Conaboy and left guard De’Onte Arnett all kept starting at their respective positions. But Larose’s injury meant moving Doyle to left tackle, Dunn to right tackle and sophomore Andrew Zeller, who got hurt during preseason camp and lost his starting job to Dunn while recovering, to starting right guard.
The result? Buying quarterback C.J. Brown enough time to produce his most effective game since September and, given the circumstances on the road against a stingy Hokies defense, arguably of the entire season.
Maryland’s latest two-deep depth chart reflects these changes, and during his Sunday teleconference Coach Randy Edsall said he expects this new group to start its final home ACC game against Boston College this Saturday.
“You got to give that offensive line credit,” he said. “When we had the injuries from the previous week, one of the things you go back in the preseason and we had those guys playing different positions. I thought there was things that we did well, there were things we still need to improve upon, but they did enough to help our team win. It looks like that’ll probably be the same lineup again this week.”
Defensive lineman Andre Monroe, whose career-high three sacks helped keep Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas at bay, moves to starting defensive end from nose tackle. Keith Bowers, the previous starting defensive end whom Monroe replaced, becomes the backup nose tackle behind Darius Kilgo.
Monroe’s 0.61 sacks per game (11.5 in 19 career games) ties him for fifth nationally among active players, and he boasts an absurd 3.5-to-1 tackle-to-sack ratio this season. For comparison, the ACC’s sacks leader, Pittsburgh senior Aaron Donald, has a 4-to-1 ratio.
“I just said this in a team meeting, I’m very proud of Andre in terms of what’s taken place with him,” Edsall said Sunday. “He’s finally healthy, he’s worked extremely hard and I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence that he didn’t have due to those injuries that he had. But he’s got good quickness, he’s got good leverage, and I think the one thing is he’s working at being a technician. I’m very proud of how he’s come along in every aspect of his life, academically, athletically and as a person. It’s just neat to see how well he’s playing. We knew that when he got healthy, we thought this is the kind of productivity that he would be able to give us.”
Slot wide receiver Levern Jacobs, who missed the Virginia Tech game with a concussion, remains on the depth chart. His backup, DeAndre Lane, strained his hamstring during practice last week and is not listed on the depth chart; senior Regis Whittington, a converted defensive back, slots in behind Jacobs, though the Terps have been working out quarterback Ricardo Young there, too. Whittington’s move could also be for senior day.
Freshman tight end Andrew Isaacs is listed as the co-backup tight end alongside P.J. Gallo. This is mostly cosmetic; the Connecticut native has appeared in eight of 10 games this season, including five straight. Gallo has played in all 10 games, mostly on special teams, while Isaacs has developed into a short-yardage blocker.
Note: Final ACC game receives 12:30 start time
With postseason eligibility formally secured, the Terps will hit the road on Nov. 30 for their final ACC game ever, looking to improve their bowl chances with a 12:30 p.m. start time against North Carolina State.
The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network (WDCA-20 or WTTG-5 in the D.C. area). The Wolfpack, which beat the Terps in College Park last season on a last-second missed field goal by Brad Craddock, are 3-7 this season and 0-7 in the ACC. They most recently lost, 38-21, to Boston College and allowed an ACC-record 339 rushing yards to Eagles running back Andrew Williams.