Maryland’s 2018 Spring Game provided a deep look into what DJ Durkin and his staff have been working on all spring.
The biggest difference for Maryland in 2018 will be the offense. Durkin hired Matt Canada to replace Walt Bell at Offensive Coordinator, and his offense is quite different from Bell’s. Canda’s offense revolves more around motions and deception, rather than Bell who looked to catch other teams sleeping with a fast-paced no-huddle system.
This offense will mainly benefit Maryland’s deep backfield. A star of the Spring Game was Sophomore Jake Funk, who could end up as low as fourth in the order of running backs. He seemed to be quite fond of the new jet sweep package:
When asked about his role in the new offense Funk said, “They try to get me all over the field; jet sweeps, out in the slot, playing running back, so I think my role in this offense is increasing and I love it so far.”
Continuing on with the offense, Maryland played this game with their projected third and fourth string quarterbacks Max Bortenschlager and Tyler DeSue. Both Kasim Hill and Tyrell Pigrome are battling back from ACL tears suffered last fall, but should be back playing soon. Head Coach DJ Durkin spoke of their health saying, “They’re a little ahead of schedule with where they are at now. Our plan all along has been ‘by the end of May’ to have them full strength.”
Flipping to the defensive side of the ball, Maryland’s two key transfers Byron Cowart and Marcus Lewis showed their skills and leadership. Durkin spoke highly of their spring sessions; “They’re good players. They’re terrific. They’ve been consistent all spring.” and continued by acknowledging that they will be big contributors when the fall comes around.
Cowart will join Melvin Keihn and Jesse Aniebonam as leaders of the front seven, while Lewis joins “The Jungle” of defensive backs with Darnell Savage Jr and Tino Ellis. Maryland’s defense has a chance to make waves in conference play this fall despite losing a number of key players.
In fact, one of the biggest plays of the day was Marcus Lewis’s pick six of Tyler DeSue:
Maryland’s 2018 Spring Game was a great introduction to fans, and a great way to set up a key series of summer workouts and practices ahead. A big key that Durkin pointed out was “no injuries.” Everyone that played this spring will be ready to go, and those who didn’t will be back on the field soon.