Let me just state the obvious. Forget about contending. Forget about a bowl game. Forget about respectability. After a 34-13 drubbing at home to Rutgers, maybe the Terps need some new, slightly more modest goals. How about mediocrity?
But before that, the game. At this point, it’s clear this is not a good team. I know, I know…this limb’s gonna snap!!! But seriously, their problems seem more intractable each week. Saying this team would be good “if they just stopped committing turnovers” is like saying the alcoholic would get better if he just stopped drinking; it’s obvious there are deeper demons after five more giveaways yesterday. Da’Rel Scott, for whatever reason, suddenly can’t hold on to the football. Chris Turner made some horrific decisions. And of course, there’s the pitiful O-line, which caused the almost comically awful play in the Terp end zone when Turner tried to throw it away to avoid a safety but instead just dribbled it onto the turf. Touchdown Rutgers.
The defense just plain sucks right now. Alex Wujciak, the unit’s leader, got 17 tackles and played well, but made no tackles for loss and forced no turnovers. That sums up the unit: they just don’t make plays. Just the opposite, in fact; they’re extraordinarily susceptible to big plays, as evidenced by Joe Martinek’s late TD runs of 29 and 61 yards to ice the game.
Torrey “Darrius Heyward-Bey” Smith continued his great but baffling play, finishing with 237 total yards but fading out of the offense in the second half. They’ve gotta get him the ball. I repeat: they have got to get him the ball. Don’t overthink it. Ride him into the ground.
I’ll stop there with the criticisms. Now, back to the goals. Since, for all intents and purposes, we’re playing for pride now, let’s do just that. Here’s a bold new goal: let’s try to not be the ACC’s worst team. The conference is weak. Duke and UVA should be Ws, right? Right? Bueller?
Final thought: it looks bleak, but I’m not taking up the torch and pitchfork yet. We’ve still got some eminently beatable teams on the schedule, and in the weak-as-my-grandmama ACC, much is possible. If the Terps, knowing they’re not gonna contend, can just keep their heads up and claw their way back to the pack, it won’t be a lost season. If nothing else, they’ve gotta beat Duke. It’s so important to have goals! Even if you have to change them all the time.