Biggest takeaways from Maryland's spring game
The spring season is over in College Park.
Saturday, Maryland held its spring game to put a bow on the season. It was our first glimpse at the 2022 Terrapins after earning a bowl berth last fall, the first of the Mike Locksley era with the program.
Maryland operated with the first-team offense battling the first-team defense while the second-team offense faced the second-team defense. It painted a pretty good picture of where the Terps stand entering the 2022 season.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from Saturday:
There are no shortage of pass-catchers
I’m not ready to say Maryland has the best wide receiver room in the B1G but it might have one of the deepest. The Terrapins were without Dontay Demus Jr., Rakim Jarrett, Jeshaun Jones and Marcus Fleming for Saturday’s spring game, yet Taulia Tagovailoa had no trouble finding his targets.
Florida transfer Jacob Copeland made an immediate impact and was named the Most Valuable Player of the spring game. He should a great ability to break off from defenders, haul in tough catches and create space with his route-running.
Wide receiver Tai Felton and tight end Corey Dyches also flashed for the first-team offense throughout Saturday’s game. That provides Tagovailoa with a ton of quality options in the passing attack.
Last year, Tagovailoa spread the ball around to 20 different pass-catchers. Maybe the total won’t be that high this year, but Maryland may have 8-to-10 reliable targets in 2022. That’s a really good situation for the Terrapins.
Keep an eye on linebacker Jaishawn Barham
Since the 2021 season concluded, Maryland has seen several quality linebackers enter the transfer portal. Branden Jennings, Terrence Lewis and Demeioun Robinson all left the program, leaving a huge gap for the Terrapins at the position,
That created an opportunity for Barham, a 4-star prospect in the 2022 class, to step in and make an immediate impact. He’s already impressing the staff, making his way onto the first-team defense for Saturday’s spring game.
Barham didn’t have one of those moments that will jump off the screen but he was always running downhill towards the ball carrier and seemed to always be around the football. There’s certainly a learning curve involved for the true freshman, but he’s too skilled to be kept off the field.
There’s a chance Barham is one of the best defensive freshmen in the B1G in 2022.
Where’s the pass rush?
One of the biggest concerns for Maryland coming out of spring ball is the lack of a pass rush. It was noticeably absent in the spring game and it’s something that needs to be fixed, especially in a league like the B1G.
Tyler Baylor, Greg China-Rose and Vandarius Cowan all recorded a sack in the spring game, but with how frequently the Terps threw the football, you’d like to see more pressure on the quarterback.
It may not be quite as bad as what we saw over the weekend. This is the most experienced offensive line Locksley has had since taking over in College Park. That unit looked pretty good in pass protection, which could be a factor in why there wasn’t much of a rush throughout the course of the game.
This is going to be one of the bigger question marks entering 2022 for the Terrapins.
The run game needs a lot of work
Everyone knows Maryland can throw the football. Will it be able to run with any consistency, though? That’s still a work-in-progress for the offense.
Roman Hemby broke off a 44-yard touchdown run on a sweep early in the game for the first score on Saturday afternoon. That play provided some hope that the offense might’ve found a cure for some of its rushing woes. But that was really the only bright spot of the afternoon on the ground.
Sweep plays had some success but Maryland still struggled running between the tackles. The offensive line didn’t get much of a push up front, either. It’s going to be a problem if the Terps don’t possess some level of a consistent run game.
The positive news is Maryland appears to have multiple capable players in the backfield between Hemby, Challen Faamatau, Colby McDonald and Antwain Littleton II to stay fresh. The offensive line needs to get better push and create space for those guys to run, though.