The Terrapin Offense goes as Taulia Tagovailoa goes; It’s that simple. When the redshirt sophomore QB has time and is making solid decisions, he’s one of the Big Ten’s best offensive weapons. If the quarterback that threw for a 400 spot and no interceptions shows up, the Penn State defense could be in for a miserable afternoon in College Park. There are some things that need to happen to add some variety to the Terrapin attack this week if the team wants to increase their chances for victory:
Establishing the Run:
The Terrapins need to be better at running the ball…period. More importantly, they need to stay committed to running the ball early and often. Early success in the run game will give the Nittany Lion LBs and safties something to think about, which could result in less of the containment and zone passing schemes that have given the Terrapin Offense fits during the team’s recent three-game losing streak. The Terps HAVE been effective running the ball in red-zone situations though, so we’ll continue to see Challen Faamatau and Tayon Fleet-Davis continue to get their touches on that end of the field. The Terps could also use an infusion of explosiveness from the position between the tackles, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the rotation expand to include Peny Boone, Colby McDonald, Isaiah Jacobs, and even frosh Roman Hemby on Saturday. One thing is certain; Establishing the running game will make life a LOT easier for the Terrapin passing attack.
Protecting the QB:
Penn State has proven that they can get to the QB this year, so protecting Taulia Tagovailoa will be at a premium for Maryland Football this game. Part of that will definitely fall on the pass protection scheme that has benefited the Terps and kept Tagovailoa upright and uninjured for the good majority of the season. The other part of that equation may very well fall on the ability of the staff to utilize the short passing game as an extension of the run. If a run game can be established, a good deal of the RPO stuff that’s in Coach Lockley’s bag of tricks can be utilized. Rakim Jarrett, Marcus Fleming, Brian Cobbs, and an emerging Carlos Carrierie will all be prime targets for RAC (run after catch) opportunities against the Nittany Lion defense. Getting Tagovailoa out of the pocket to make plays will also be important in keeping those PSU edge rushers on their heels.