At least it’s finally over. The seizure-inducing Maryland football season that produced a few ups, but five years worth of downs has come to an end. With the45-38 finale breakdown against North Carolina being the topping on that six straight loss-layered cake, the Terrapins can now move on from that injury-ridden season that was 2012. In a season that had so much promise as late as week seven of the college football season, the Terrapins finished in a manner that was equally as discouraging as last year, when they lost eight straight games.
That being said, injuries derailed much of this journey, and all the blame can’t be placed on the coaching staff this year around. Last season, Randy Edsall was his own undoing by effectively forcing kids out of the program with his changes. This year, the injury bug hit and it hit hard. No coach could overcome these kinds of injuries, even with the best talent around. Four quarterbacks downed, two defensive lineman, one running back, the list goes on and on and on. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore; it’s that unfortunate. Let’s just get onto the awards…
The “You were supposed to be good; you were” Award:
Senior LB Demetrius Hartsfield, 9 GP – 78 tackles (7 tackles for loss), 3.5 sacks, 1 INT
Heart: Noun – A hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation. I define heart as Demetrius Hartsfield. Watching him play this season was truly a treat for the fans, because it’s rare that you see a player try as hard as he did every single game. Hartsfield didn’t take a play off this year, which is part of the reason that, despite missing the last three games due to injury, he still led the team in tackles. He’s a guy you hate to see leave the program by way of an injury cart, but you’re proud to have been witness to such a guy.
Hartsfield follows a long list of accomplished linebackers that have come out of Maryland, and without him the Terrapins wouldn’t have anywhere near the miniscule amount of success they had. My favorite game? N.C. State, where he amassed 13 total tackles and swarmed that team despite the offense sputtering in the first half. Demetrius, we hardly knew ye.
The “You were supposed to be good; you weren’t” Award:
Junior DB Dexter McDougle, 12 GP – 71 tackles (3 tackles for loss)
By the time you have finished reading this article, Dexter McDougle will have been burnt for another touchdown by some wide receiver, anywhere in the nation. McDougle may have had 71 tackles, but as a corner, he was of the worst class. Anyone who watched the Terrapins this year knew that he was prey to just about every quarterback faced this season. Geno Smith ate him up, Tajh Boyd ate him up, he ate himself up.
Poor positioning, missed assignments, and slow reflexes led to many a touchdown on McDougle’s end of the field. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t anything the Terrapins could do to hide the fact that anytime a team threw toward him, they were likely to end up with a catch. Yes, he was forced to guard many a great wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean he gets positive points in my book.
The “Please let this season never end” Award:
Freshman WR Stefon Diggs, 11 GP – 1,896 total yards (848 receiving, 713 kick return, 221 punt return). 8 TDS (6 receiving, 1 kick return)
If Stefon Diggs doesn’t win the ACC Rookie of the Year award, then it’s obvious there is some lingering resentment to Maryland leaving the conference. Diggs was one of the best rookies to come out of the ACC in a long time, just in terms of his total impact on the game. He was the Maryland offense, scoring more points than everyone except for the kicker with 48 total points. His eight touchdowns were twice as good as the next best guy, Kevin Dorsey. If you combined Dorsey and Pickett together, only then do you equal his point totals.
His impact on the kicking game can’t be understated, as without him, the Terrapins would never have the good field position they had on numerous drives. He was the guy who ignited the offense nearly every game he played in, and he did it with terrible passers giving him the ball. With a good quarterback (hopefully next season), Diggs is going to be a player to watch as a candidate for the best receiver in the nation. He is that good, and we’re thankful to have the kid around for another couple of years.
The “Please Let This Season End Already” Award:
Sophomore RB Justus Pickett, 12 GP – 69 attempts, 183 yards. 3 touchdowns
I’m not sure if Justus Pickett wore weighted boots or not, but it certainly seemed like it at times this season. After Brandon Ross went down before the season began, Pickett started at running back and was considerably worse than last season (where he was downright bad). Pickett’s 2.1 yards per carry were the worst of any back on the team, even Albert Reid. Pickett may have had three touchdowns, but he did very little to prove to anyone that he isn’t going to have a short-lived running career at Maryland.
He didn’t break a single run off for more than 16 yards, and for his short time as a feature back he stunk up the joint. If it weren’t for his 69 yard “burst” (I say burst because it was on 21 carries, for 3.3 yards per carry) against Temple in the second game, Pickett would have 114 yards on the season. Brandon Ross did that in one game. Pickett’s only game rushing for 4 yards or more per carry? William and Mary, the first game of the season, where he rushed for 45 yards on 11 carries.
The “Chief Kickingstallionsims” Award for Best Name:
Sophomore DL L.A. Goree, 8 GP – 46 tackles (3 tackles for loss), 1 forced fumble
Not only is L.A. Goree a bright spot heading into next season, he also had one of the most exciting names of the year. He narrowly beat out Tyrek Cheeseboro for best name of the year, simply because it’s so intimidating. His play was gory in a good way, as he had 46 tackles in only eight games, filling in nicely when needed on the defensive line. When he takes over as a starter next season (presumably), opposing defenses will have a hard time stopping him.
(Yes, that is Frank Gore pictured above. I don’t care.)
The “John Fox” Award for Most Boring Name:
Freshman RB Wes Brown, 8 GP – 90 attempts, 399 yards, 2 touchdowns
Seriously, Wes Brown is the most plain name on the team. That isn’t to say his play was, because he really did establish himself as the first or second-best back on the team this year. A yard under 400, Brown really did come on halfway through the season once Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley stopped feeding/wasting the meat of the carry-load to running backs/vegans Albert Reid and Justus Pickett.
Yes, he unfortunately got hurt like everyone else on this roster, but make no mistake about it: Brown will be back next season and will give the Terrapins the running game they should have had this season. That is to say, it’s going to be powerful and incredibly hard to stop.
The “Nobody really noticed, but I was solid this year” Award:
Sophomore LB Cole Farrand, 12 GP – 78 tackles (6 tackles for loss), 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Cole Farrand was really an unsung here on the defense for the Terrapins. He was every bit the tackler that Hartsfield was, but he often went overshadowed on a better-than-expected defense. Farrand finished with 78 tackles, but he also hooked the Terps D up with 3 forced fumbles and opened up space for pass rushers game in and game out. I like the kid, and he has a bright future as a Terrapin. Next season, he’s going to have a chance to shine big time as he returns as perhaps the Terrapins best tackler.
He isn’t fast, but he is very, very strong and plays a very smart football game.
The “Everybody really noticed how horribly I played” Award:
Freshman Brad Craddock, 12 GP – 10-16 FG, 62.5% FG’s, 52 yard long
Well, there’s not much to say here except that the Terrapins could very well have been in a bowl game this season had Brad Craddock come up big in two games: North Carolina State and Boston College. In both games, the Terrapins had a good chance to take the lead and win, but Craddock sent the hopes of the Terrapins sailing in the wind. He is only a freshman, so obviously things can get better, but his performance for the Terrapins really left a sour taste in a lot of fans mouths.