Three Questions for Maryland Football’s 2022 Season

While we’ve already taken a look into the three big reasons to be optimistic about Terps football this year, let’s take a dive into three reasons that could worry some fans about the upcoming season.

Lack of returning production on defense

With the Terps losing Nick Cross to the draft, and Sam O, and Jordan Mosley as UDFAs to the NFL, as well as some players transferring out such as Chop Robinson, and Branden Jennings, the Terps are missing a lot of returning production from last season. In ESPNs SP+ returning production rankings, the Terps are 86th in the country with just 61% returning for the 2022 season. In a conference like the Big Ten, not having a lot of players that have had solid playing time can definitely hurt when playing against the high powered offenses of Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State. The secondary has a trio of future NFL stars in Tarheeb Still, Jakorian Bennett and Deonte Banks while the line returns Ami Finau, Mosiah Nasili-Kite and Greg Rose.

While the Terps do have one of the better offenses in the country on paper, they will need to prove that this season in order for some of the pressure to be taken off the defense.

Lack of depth at ILB/OLB

With the departures of Deshawn Holt, Branden Jennings, Terrence Lewis, Frankie Burgess, and Chop Robinson through the transfer portal, the team was left with very little depth at the two linebacker positions. The team was able to add Vandarius Cowan and Quashon Fuller in the portal, as well as incoming freshman Jaishawn Barham, Caleb Wheatland, and Kellan Wyatt. While Barham and Wheatland have been impressive in spring ball and in summer workouts, they still lack the experience you would typically like your linebackers to have. Cowan and Fuller are still learning a whole new system which can lead to growing pains and sight mishaps on the field. Durell Nchami enters the season on 2023 NFL Draft boards and the former Paint Branch star could be the biggest X-factor for the defense where he’ll be tasked with generating pressure as the starting JACK. Over time expect the play of the fresh faces to improve but the depth of the linebacker room is thin to start the season. Maryland could have a wildcard playing outside come conference play, though.

New defensive coordinator

While many people can see hiring Brian Williams as the new defensive coordinator as a reason to be optimistic, it will be the fourth-year assistant’s first year leading the defense. Maryland considered Williams to lead the defense even last season before Brian Stewart took over the vacancy left void by Jon Hoke. At first, there was a verbal agreement with Kevin Steele that he would become the next defensive coordinator at Maryland but Miami had other plans and upped the Terps offer, prompting Steele to shock many inside the program and head south. Locksley then decided to announce Brian Williams as the next defensive coordinator, giving Maryland a chance. With Williams becoming the new DC, the reason to worry is simply you can’t know exactly what to expect. All the players will be learning a new scheme which can cause for growing pains early in the season. Locksley credited Williams for winning and commanding the respect of his players to end the 2021 season which set the stage for a promotion this offseason. Williams will remain the defensive line coach where.he returns Ami Finau, Mosiah Nasili-Kite and Greg Rose but will have questions to answer when it comes to generating pressure within the front seven. With a lack of returning production and lack of depth in some spots on the defense, having a new coordinator to learn under and play for will be a question that Maryland will need to answer come conference play–and against SMU.

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