Thursday, November 11, 2010

game preview: Maryland

Date/Time: November 13, 3:30 PM


History against the Terps: 31-41-2

Last matchup: UVA 20, Maryland 9; 10/17/09 - and there's video proof

Last week: Duke 55, UVA 48; Miami 26, Maryland 20

Line: Maryland by 1.5

Opposing blogs: Testudo Times

Maryland season preview

Uniform combo: I don't know anymore.

Injury report:

OT Landon Bradley
WR Tim Smith
TE Joe Torchia



LB Darnell Carter
RB Raynard Horne
CB Chase Minnifield
RB Keith Payne

Injury editorializing: No Ras-I?? I'll believe it when I see it. If it pans out and Ras-I plays, it's huge, Maryland's rather one-dimensional on offense and the presence of a pair of veteran starting cornerbacks could allow the run defense to get some desperately needed reinforcements from the rear. Horne was left off the depth chart early in the week in favor of Torrey Mack, but I'd guess this means he's still the third tailback. Landon Bradley's done for the year, meaning your O-line of Aboushi-Pasztor-Mihota-Cabbell-Moses stabilizes a bit. I never did have the injured body parts on here before (always removed them because it rarely matters) but the coaches got ideas after seeing Miami's injury reports (which called Jacory Harris's Dolce-induced concussion an "upper extremity" injury), and now everything says "upper extremity" or "lower extremity." Silly as hell.


This is normally where I write some extemporanea on the meaning of the game, where it fits into the big picture of things, what have you. No point this week. Beat Maryland. That is all.


- Focus on Torrey Smith. It's hard to think of an ACC player who's done less with more hype than Torrey Smith. This is because he has no help. Adrian Cannon is strictly a possession receiver and he's been unproductive. Nobody else has more than ten catches. The quarterbacks are bleah. If Smith can be taken out of the equation - and most teams have generally been able to do this - Maryland's options on offense are significantly fewer.

- Keep the ball away from Alex Wujciak. Wujciak patrols the MLB position for Maryland, and he's got a way of making a mess of things. He's good in pass defense, good against the run, and can both stuff the middle and chase sideline-to-sideline. (Also, it'll be really annoying if Wujciak makes a lot of tackles or intercepts a pass or something because he'll get a lot of camera time and he has a tendency to wear his eye black all over his face like war paint, which is one of the douchiest trends ever.) The rest of Maryland's defense isn't half as talented. Keeping passes out of the middle of the field and finding ways to get Perry Jones around the corner before Wujciak gets there will help the offense tremendously; in any case, the game plan should find a way to minimize his impact.

- First-down stops. Maryland is second-worst only to Boston College in the ACC in long plays of 10+ yards. If they can get to 3rd and 3, they can probably find a way to get the conversion thanks to UVA's porous run defense. UVA needs to put Maryland in a position where they're forced to do something they don't do well: get a big gain.


- Found a way to stop the wildcat yet? I don't want to run around looking for this kind of stat, but if it exists somewhere, UVA's probably at the bottom of the pile: QB rushing yards allowed. Whether it's Alex Gillett, Josh Nesbitt, or Brandon Connette, running quarterbacks have given UVA fits, whether or not there's an option pitch tagging along. Jamarr Robinson has effectively lost his job as Maryland's starting QB to Danny O'Brien, but Maryland's got a wildcat package for him and it's a stone-cold lock they'll deploy it frequently, until UVA proves they can stop it.

- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TACKLE HIM. Tackling is the new turnovers. I try to avoid saying "don't turn the ball over" in these game keys because duh. But tackling is a worse problem, I think, than Verica's interceptions. Might as well keep saying this till they prove that I don't have to, because there's nothing more frustrating than a third-down stop that turns into a first down that becomes a touchdown.


I should feel a lot less confident about the defense after the the Duke debacle, but....maybe it won't be so bad if Minnifield and Dowling are back in the lineup? Maybe. I don't buy that the run defense would have been better with them in there - the players up front ought to be good enough to stop the putrid running game that Duke brings to the table whether or not they had to adjust the game plan for the absence of the corners. But Maryland's passing game is actually worse than Duke's.

Besides, Maryland is one of the worst 6-3 teams in the country. Sagarin even says so, with only Northwestern and Syracuse checking in worse among BCS teams with that record or better. So their bowl eligibility scares me not.

So I see no reason to expect anything less than a competitive game. There's no should-win or shouldn't-win here - despite the two-game lead Maryland has, I think the teams are pretty evenly matched. Unlike the Duke game, I don't see it as "whoever has the ball last wins," - more like "whoever makes the last play."


Miami @ Georgia Tech, 12:00
Boston College @ Duke, 12:00
Wake Forest @ NC State, 2:00
Virginia Tech @ North Carolina, 3:30
Clemson @ Florida State, 8:00


Jim Bleakley said...

Hey Brendan. I've seen your posts on Mgoblog a lot lately. You stood out to me because of your avatar. I live in Cville (last 4.5 years). Moved from Chicago, but grew up in Michigan. Went to Michigan. Just found it interesting to run into another guy with both Michigan and UVA ties. I've been trying to become a fan of UVA since moving here (we'll be here a long time)...but having a hard time. My major interest is all of the sports UVA is really good at are just sorta meh for me. Any tips on becoming a UVA fan?

Brendan said...

Learn to love lacrosse?

On being a UVA football's not too surprising the last 4 1/2 years haven't been too easy on someone trying to pick up an appreciation. Pin your hopes on Mike London being every bit the recruiter we hope he is and being able to swing the tide of recruiting in Virginia back to UVA. It's different than U-M/MSU in Michigan - recruiting in Michigan isn't essential. Virginia's got more talent. If London can mine that enough to regularly beat VT, Maryland, and UNC on the football field, excitement in Charlottesville will follow. '02 through '05 was a terrific time to be at Scott Stadium because it was always crammed to the gills.

Jim Bleakley said...

Yeah... I think you are right. I'm hoping London is given enough time to turn things around here. The attendance this year has been pathetic. I know the guys who run concessions and they tell me the actual gate counts (not tix sold, which the athletic dpt publishes) are in the low 20k's. I'd love to have some buzz back in Cville.
On a separate note, I was at the basketball game last night. I can see myself getting excited about this team. Despite having 7 freshman, they looked pretty decent. Can't wait to see what Bennett can do with them in a couple of years!