Mike Locksley touches on quarterback hierarchy and other Terps notes

  • Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown rushes in the first quarter against West Virginia.
Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown rushes in the first quarter… (Patrick Smith / Getty Images )
September 17, 2014|By Matt Zenitz | Baltimore Sun Media Group

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland’s coaches have personnel meetings every Wednesday night during which they discuss the depth chart and any potential changes.

Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley reiterated Wednesday that C.J. Brown is the Terps’ starting quarterback and that Caleb Rowe is his backup.

Locksley was asked Wednesday whether he would consider using Rowe, who has a stronger arm, as a change-of-pace quarterback to Brown, a talented runner who has struggled at times throwing the ball this season.

“Caleb Rowe is the number two quarterback right now,” Locksley said.

Ross bounces back some

Maryland running back Brandon Ross did not start against West Virginia last week after fumbling three times in the Terps’ first two games, but Ross did make some plays when he got in the game.

Maryland running backs combined to rush for two yards on nine carries as the Mountaineers loaded the box and created some problems for the Terps’ offensive line.

However, Ross did pick up 50 yards on five catches.

“I thought because of what they did front-wise it was tough for our running backs on Saturday … but I thought Brandon did some things, and all the backs did, in the passing game,” Locksley said. “When they load the box up like West Virginia did, the screen game became huge for us, and I thought all those guys caught the ball well, and the pass protection stuff for the most part was pretty sound.”

Offensive line ‘doing a good job’

The numbers were not pretty against West Virginia. Terps running backs averaged less than one yard per carry, and Brown was sacked twice.

But Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday that the Terps’ offensive line is “doing a good job.”

“I don’t think we had a very good game against West Virginia,” left tackle Michael Dunn said. “That’s just our feel towards it. We watched film together. We graded ourselves out together, and we were not too pleased with our West Virginia performance. But we talked about it. We’re back out here practicing hard trying to get better, and I know there’s better things to come for us.”

The line will be tested again this week, though.

Maryland plays Syracuse on Saturday. The Orange have limited their first two opponents to an average of just 2.9 yards per carry and have nine sacks.

Syracuse held the Terps to an average of 2.3 yards per carry during Syracuse’s 20-3 win in College Park last year. The Orange also sacked Brown three times. Standout defensive tackle Jay Bromley is gone, but the Orange still have seven starters from that defense.

“They’re very sound, a pressure defense,” Locksley said.

Locksley looking for improvement on third down

Maryland converted four of the first five third downs it was faced with against West Virginia.

The Terps then failed to convert each of the final 10, including two third-and-shorts during the fourth quarter.

Maryland has converted a solid 45 percent (21 of 47) third downs for the year. But the inability to convert third downs during the 40-37 loss to the Mountaineers was costly.

“The message is to stay out of third-and-7-plus,” Locksley said. “When you have nine third-and-7-pluses, when you look at the percentages of converting third-and-7-plus, usually you don’t have a high percentage. Third-and-1s are the ones that really concern me when you have the opportunity in third-and-1.

“We’re supposed to get 90 percent of those and we missed two of them, which is unacceptable."

End zone

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