2013 Clemson @ Maryland Preview

Rob Carr

This will be the final conference meeting between these two teams. The two schools have a long history as conference foes over the years including several tense games in the '80's to decide the conference crown. Each school enters this contest coming off a loss and needs a win this week to right the ship going into November.

Overall Game Information

Game Time 3:30 PM EDT
Stadium Byrd Stadium (51,802)
Host City College Park, MD
Television ESPN
Play by Play Announcer Mike Patrick
Color Commentator Ed Cunningham
Sideline Jeanine Edwards
Clemson Radio Clemson Tiger Sports Network (WCCP FM)
CU Play-By-Play Pete Yanity
CU Color Commentary Will Merritt
CU Sideline Reporting Patrick Sapp

General Team Information

Clemson Maryland
2013 Record: 6-1, 4-1 ACC 5-2 , 1-2 in ACC
Rankings: 9 AP, 10 USA Today NR AP, NR USA Today
Location: Clemson, SC College Park, MD
Colors: Clemson Orange and Regalia Red, White, Black and Gold
Enrollment: 20,768 35,329
Athletic Director: Dan Radakovich Kevin Anderson
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney, Alabama ‘93 Randy Edsall, Syracuse '80
Record at Current School: 46-22 (.676) 11-20 (3rd year)
Career Record: 46-22 (.676) 85-90 (15th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Chad Morris Mike Locksley
Base Offense: Spread Multiple / Spread
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Venables Brian Stewart
Base Defense: 4-3 3-4
Athletic Website: www.clemsontigers.com www.umterps.com

Before I get too far into this discussion, I'll admit that I came into this preview knowing that UMd was fighting the injury bug (particularly at the QB and Receiver positions) but had no clue it was this bad.  These guys are the walking wounded.  Check out their injuries here if you don't believe me.

Head Coach

Randy Edsall is no stranger to Northeast colleges and universities. Edsall spent his playing days at Syracuse ('76-'79) playing quarterback then stayed with the Orangemen coaching various positions through the 1990 season. Edsall was then the DB's coach and Boston College and for the Jacksonville Jaguars then spent a season as Georgia Tech's defensive coordinator ('98) prior to taking his first head coaching gig at UConn in December 1998 following the resignation of Skip Holtz (though Skip won there, he wanted the OC job at SC). Edsall led the Huskies from the 1-AA ranks to 1-A then into the Big East and, following the 2010 season, to the Fiesta Bowl. There he ran a conservative I-formation offense that was very fundamentally sound, though low on outright talent.

Offense

Mike Locksley runs the Terp offense. Locksley has been all over the place, graduating from Townsend. His coaching career includes stints as a running backs coach at Maryland from '97-'02, Florida in 2003 & 2004, a couple years as offensive coordinator at Illinois, then was the head coach at New Mexico from 2009-2011 before becoming the offensive coordinator at Maryland prior to last season. You'll probably recall that he had a couple reprimands while at New Mexico State while his teams only won two games in his 2.5 seasons as head man there. Locksley is a native of Washington, DC and is known as a powerful recruiter in that area. He loaded up Ron Zook's teams with guys there and will likely make a dent in this area for Maryland.  Great examples of his prowess on the trail includes landing stud receiver Deon Long and DC native Derwin Gray (though Gray is in prep school this season).

Maryland is very much a spread football offense. They like the direct snap and will feature 3 WRs and a TE or 4 WRs out of the gun if they have their way (and we fully believe Clemson will see its share of Gun-type formations Saturday). Maryland has feature the zone read and some option at earlier points this season.  These threats were much more credible when C.J. Brown was healthy (Brown is listed as out this week with a "trunk" injury).  With C.J. out and Caleb Rowe in at QB, I'd expect see much less emphasis on the quarterback-designed carries and a few more passing attempts.  When they do run the ball, the feature back is Brandon Ross.  Ross is sporting a 5.0 yard average with 458 yards and 4 total TDs on the season.  Ross also got a bit dinged up last week against Wake and I've heard murmurs that he won't be 100% Saturday against the Tigers.

Maryland had two very capable receivers in the aforementioned Long and Stefon Diggs.  Again, the injury bug has bitten the Terps as both these guys suffered season ending injuries last week against Wake.  Each of those guys had over 30 catches on the year.  WR Levern Jacobs has 13 carries on the year, TE Dave Stinebaugh has 11 grabs, and running back Ross has 14 grabs on the year.  I've read in a couple locations that Stinebaugh will not be able to go in the game Saturday either.  This leaves a tremendous void of proven players to catch the football.  Needless to say, there are a lot of questions regarding who will catch the football with Long, Diggs, Stinebaugh, and Ross all reportedly out for Saturday.

I haven't been overly impressed by their offensive line.  They had definite issues against FSU (understandable) but also had their trouble against Wake.  Clemson should be able to get pressure on the UMd backfield.  Overall, This group will play some inexperienced skills players and a less than stellar offensive line.  This should be a good one for the Tigers to rotate a lot of players (I'm looking in the defensive backfield--particularly at Tankersley) to try and get more experience in the secondary.

Defense

Brian Stewart is in charge of the other side of the football for the Terps. His playing career was dedicated to the defensive backfield at Northern Arizona and Santa Monica College. Stewart spent most of the 2000's coaching in the pros (Texans, Chargers, Cowboys, and Eagles) before taking the defensive coordinator job at Houston. He coached at Houston during the 2010 and 2011 seasons and is in his second season in College Park.

The Maryland side of the football looks as beaten up as the offensive side.  Maryland is without a couple of starting linebackers, corners, and a starting safety.  This group, like the offense, is running on a lot less horsepower than it should be because it's missing these folks.

Schematically, Maryland will have three players with hands on the ground. They'll need to bring in the extra defensive back quite often against the Tigers to create a 3-3-5 look.  Expect your typical items from the Terp defense--they will bring an 4-5 guys every down including all the typical items you'd expect.  Overall, though, they should be completely outmatched by the Clemson offense.

Overall

This should be a bounce-back win (and a big one at that) for this Clemson squad. The Tigers should be more than hungry after laying an egg last weekend and Maryland is simply decimated with injuries.  I hate giving one squad or another an out like the injury bug "excuse."  However, losing your starting QB, RB, two star receivers, linebacking corps, and a large portion of the defensive backfield is reason enough for me to declare this a major game factor.  I believe that Clemson would be a better team than UMd with their starters but think they should have a Syracuse-like outing this weekend in College Park.  I will note, though, that seeing the Clemson defense versus C.J. Brown would have been a decent measuring stick to see just how improved this crew is over the unit that got dissected up there by Brown two years ago.

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