The Big Ten Network does an annual “Camp Tour” every summer and stops at each of the Big Ten schools.
On Thursday afternoon, BTN visited College Park to take a look at the Maryland football team.
Fall camp just began on Monday with new coach D.J. Durkin at the helm. There appeared to be a renewed energy at practice and BTN saw that first hand.
We’re going to take a closer look at what the BTN crew took in and go through their day with the Terrapins.
Walt Bell and the offense
Durkin made it a point to target proven coaches when filling out his staff for Maryland football.
However, one of the most impressive coaches may be the youngest. New offensive coordinator Walt Bell comes to College Park after two very successful seasons as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State.
Bell ran an offense that set five records during his first season at the Sun Belt school. The Middle Tennessee State graduate was in charge of an offense that posted 6,194 yards of total offense, averaged 476.5 yards per game, ran 1,024 plays, scored 477 points and totaled 65 touchdowns.
During his time with the Red Wolves, the team ranked No. 14 nationally in scoring (40.0 points-per-game).
During those two seasons, Arkansas State reached 300 yards 24 times, 400 yards 18 times, and 500 yards 11 times.
It’s pretty clear that Bell is going to push the tempo at Maryland. In doing so, the running back should be the most important position for the offense.
With the type of personnel that Maryland has put in place, it’s evident that the Terps want to be the Oregon of the East Coast. The facilities should be state-of-the-art once the new indoor practice facility opens on the grounds of Cole Field House.
Maryland certainly has a long way to go in order to become what Oregon has built. However, Bell is one of the brightest and innovative young minds in the game and should work wonders for the offense.
J.C. Jackson draws rave reviews
Aside from the hiring of Durkin, the addition of J.C. Jackson may be the biggest of the offseason.
In Jackson, Maryland gets their replacement for Sean Davis who has drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After beginning his career at Florida, Jackson was productive at the junior college level and Durkin certainly noticed.
Durkin recruited Jackson to Florida, so it’s easy to see why Jackson ended up in College Park.
Jackson has great size at 6’1/190 lbs. and is very fluid in pass coverage. As you can see in the clip below, he is very quick and never out of a play.
The combination of Will Likely and Jackson could give Maryland one of the most talented cornerback duos in the Big Ten.
“Some people think he’s (Jackson) already the best player on the team,” BTN’s Tom Dienhart said.
Once thought to be a weakness, the secondary is looking a lot more solid with the addition of a player of Jackson’s caliber.
Questions still surround the quarterbacks
2015 was certainly a year to forget for Maryland quarterbacks.
Rowe sat out Thursday’s practice, but figures into the competition. However, it would appear that this is Hills’ job to lose.
Hills can run the football, which is perfect for Bell’s offensive scheme. His arm isn’t the greatest and it certainly won’t get any better.
Regardless, if Hills can cut down on the turnovers, he could be a big factor for the Terps.
Luckily for whoever takes snaps for Maryland, there’s plenty of talented wide receivers to throw to.
Sophomore D.J. Moore looks primed to outdo his stellar freshman season. Moore has transformed his physique and could be the top option through the air for Maryland.
Senior Levern Jacobs definitely didn’t benefit from the inadequate quarterback play last season. In fact, Jacobs had a down year in which he only caught 35 passes for 425 yards and just three touchdowns.
If Maryland is going to return to bowl eligibility, those numbers will have to improve.
Maryland certainly has the firepower to get back to a bowl game. It’s all going to come down to the quarterback position this fall.