Entering Florida State’s game last Saturday at Boston College, nearly two years had passed since the Seminoles’ defense last ceded 30 points to an unranked opponent. But the Eagles racked up 34 points and 397 yards in their 14-point loss to Florida State, with quarterback Chase Rettig tossing four touchdown passes and running back Andre Williams averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The Seminoles were fooled on at least three misdirection throwbacks and Williams chewed up yardage on simple counter runs.
So does Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley expect the same holes to open up on Saturday, when the No. 25 Terrapins visit the eighth-ranked Seminoles in Tallahassee, Fla.? Probably not.
“They’re a great coaching staff, so I’d imagine like what we do, they’re going to see that if there were some things they didn’t do well, they’ll emphasize those things this week,” Locksley said Wednesday. “Those guys do a great job. Coach [Jimbo] Fisher, and his staff on the offensive side of the ball, as well as [coordinator Jeremy Pruitt] on the defensive side of the ball, those guys, they play hard, they play very sound, they play fundamental, so I would assume they could clean up a lot of the things that they perceived as weaknesses.
“Anytime we watch film, we would hope we that we’re able to find some things we need to try to take advantage of. They’re well rounded and BC is a little different than we are schematically. I thought Florida State obviously came out with a win, and they did enough to win the ballgame. For us, it always starts with us first and foremost, taking care of the things we can control with not turning the ball over, executing at a high level, making sure we convert the third downs, then obviously scoring touchdowns in the red zone is real important. To beat a good team like Florida State, you got to have a few breaks go your way, and our guys need to make sure we give ourselves a chance by getting the game into the fourth quarter.”
The rainy, slippery conditions at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium contributed to Maryland’s two lost fumbles in its last game, a 37-0 win over West Virginia on Sept. 21, and the Terrapins’ players know that any giveaway at Doak Campbell Stadium means another opportunity for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston to work his magic.
The Terps have been mostly careful with the ball this season, but also a little lucky. Quarterback C.J. Brown has thrown just one interception against seven touchdowns. Maryland also has fumbled 11 times, but has been fortunate enough to lose just six, several times having lost footballs that bounced right back into their hands.
“I think we started out pretty well as far as, I like to say, staying clean with the turnovers the last couple of games, especially in the West Virginia game, whether it due to rain or lack of security of the ball, we went back and made sure that we’re reemphasizing, we’ve got to take care of the football to be any good on offense,” Locksley said. “We definitely hit some of the fundamentals and technical things that you do during the bye week. Coach [Randy Edsall] obviously adjusted practice schedule to where we had more individual time, so we were able to go back to some of the foundation and fundamental things that it takes to be successful.”
>> Locksley offered little when asked about the return of wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro, who will back up Malcolm Culmer and could shore up the position’s depth if Nigel King is still out. He did bring up Daniel Adams, who has also missed four games with injury, suggesting the tight end convert could return against Florida State.
“He was doing pretty well,” Locksley said of Cheeseboro. “I think we’ve got a lot of different receivers we’ve had to rotate in there, whether it’s Cheese, Daniel, Nigel. For me, I’m going to practice with whoever’s available to practice. Obviously anytime you get a guy back it’s welcome for us, but I don’t really pay attention other than, ‘Hey, let’s get these guys ready to play for a game.’ ”