Maryland likely to take sound, disciplined approach to slowing down Tigers

Randy Edsall: 'You're never going to shut them down, you just hope you can slow them down...You have to defend everybody'

Clemson Tigers running back Andre Ellington is tackled by Maryland Terrapins defensive back Dexter McDougle in the third quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson Tigers running back Andre Ellington is tackled by Maryland Terrapins defensive back Dexter McDougle in the third quarter.

Randy Edsall has two weeks worth of fresh tape to show him what can happen when defenses roll the dice and man-cover against Clemson's offense.

Both because of scheme and circumstance, it's not likely that Maryland will follow in the footsteps of Wake Forest and Duke.

"You're never going to shut them down - you just hope you can do enough to slow them down," said Edsall Wednesday during the ACC coaches' teleconference. "When you take a look at them, Tajh Boyd is playing very, very well, and then DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins and Andre Ellington, Brandon Ford, all those guys are exceptional at their positions. And then their offensive line is playing well.

"I think the biggest thing you've got to do is just be very sound, very disciplined in terms of what you do, and you know that you have to defend everybody. You've got to defend the quarterback, you've got to defend the running back, you've got to defend the receivers, you've got to defend the tight end.

"It's an offense that puts a lot of pressure on you, and nobody has really shut them down. So what you've got to hopefully do is do enough to hopefully maybe get some turnovers and cause some disruptions where you can get them off the field a few times."

Dabo Swinney describes Maryland as a "zone concept" defense with capable players at all three levels.

"They disguise their coverages and blitzes well," Swinney said. "It all starts up front. They're a 3-4 personnel team, but they'll give you a lot of four man front, three man front, bring pressure. They've got really good size in the secondary. It's just a very physical, well coached defense.

"They have a new coordinator (Brian Stewart, formerly defensive coordinator at Houston), and I've been very impressed with what they do."

The Terps will this without their top tackler, linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who'll miss the rest of the season because of an ACL injury.

"Lorne Goree will step in for Demetrius, and Lorne is a guy that has played for us and has played well when he's been in there, and now he gets the starter's role and gets an expanded role," said Edsall. "We think that he'll do a good job.

"I feel bad for Demetrius that he's not going to be in there. He meant a lot to our team in terms of what he did on the field, the leadership that he brought, and now he's just got to have to help us lead from the sidelines."

"Obviously losing No.9 (Hartsfield) is a big loss for them," said Swinney. "He was a great player - an NFL guy. But the guy that's going to take his spot, heck, he had 12 tackles against us last year."

Swinney said that for the Tigers, solving Maryland's defense will come down to execution: "It comes down to just doing the little things, proper technique, communicating properly, making the right decisions at quarterback, throwing and catching, taking care of the football."

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