Terps notebook: Preparing for Temple's rushing ways

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Terps notebook: Preparing for Temple's rushing ways
September 23, 2011, 6:05 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comTraditionally seeing Temple on your football schedule meant not just a win, an easy one at that. Maryland is undefeated in six all-time meetings and the Terps hope lucky seven comes Saturday at Byrd Stadium, but they know better than to assume victory these days. That is because now if teams overlook the MAC program, the Owls rush right by them, on both sides of the ball.In stark contrast to the Terps (1-1) up-tempo offensive attack that generates chunks of yards by air and land in short order, the Owls (2-1) employ a grind-it-out style behind junior running back Bernard Pierce. Defensively Temple harasses opposing quarterbacks with a relentless outside pass rush that is among the best nationally and helped nearly pull off an upset over Penn State last week. Therefore, should Marylands offensive line not allow a sack for a third straight game, pats on the back all around.Very physical team, Terps quarterback Danny OBrien said of the Owls. They almost beat Penn State and Penn State is a very good team historically. Theyre a team were not taking lightly by any means.Taking down quarterbacks 13 times in three games as the Owls have will get folks to take notice. Three Owls have at least two sacks this season, including Adrian Robinson, the 2009 MAC defensive player of the year. The senior defensive end had four tackles and blocked a kick in the 14-10 loss to the Nittany Lions while outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead had a sack and forced a fumble. That level of production matched up against the Terps efficient offensive line is why the battle in the trenches is one to watch. In addition to being one of only five teams nationally yet to allow a sack, Maryland offense is averaging a whopping 488 yards per game. In the first two games when you look at it statistically in terms of sacks and the number of yards that we put out, there has been productivity there, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said of his offensive line, led by left guard Andrew Gonnella and right tackle R.J. Dill.They are going to be tested this week because Temple is 8th in the country in sacks. Theyve got some quick guys coming off the edge.Temple uses a two-quarterback system Hanover (Md.) native Chester Stewart gets the start this week but relies heavily on its ground game for production. Running behind a massive senior-laden offensive that averages 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds, the Owls power attack averages 206 rushing yards per game.Pierce has twice topped 100 yards in his junior season, 11 times in his career, and has 347 rushing yardswith seven touchdowns on the ground through three games.Hes a powerful guy, he can make you miss, Edsall said of Pierce. Theyre going to run the power, theyre going to come after us.O'Brien's quick film studyAfter throwing three interceptions in the 37-31 loss to West Virginia, Danny OBrien did not wait long before reliving the experience, three times over.Just hours after the Terps second-half rally came up short, his last minute interception ending hopes of a miraculous comeback, the sophomore quarterback was breaking down film. OBrien later had added a fourth viewing for good measure to help the lessons sink in.I kind of knew before hand what the mistakes were going into the film sessions, just reaffirming it, said OBrien, who completed 34 of 52 passes for 289 yards and one touchdown pass. "Experience is the best teacher," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "The experience of the West Virginia game will only make Danny better."By Tuesday, the week was already moving too slowly for the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year. An eager and impatient OBrien was already waiting to get back under center against Temple.This game cant come fast enough.What you need to know...The Combatants: Maryland (1-1) vs. Temple (2-1)When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Byrd StadiumHistory: Maryland leads the series 6-0 and Saturday marks the first meeting since 2005 when the Terps rolled 38-7 in PhiladelphiaCoaches: Randy Edsall, 1st year at Maryland; Steve Addazio, 1st year at TemplePlayers to watch: Maryland: Danny O'Brien, QB, So.; Davin Meggett, RB, Sr.; Kenny Tate, LB, Sr.; Joe Vellano, DT, So.Players to watch, Temple: Bernard Pierce, RB, Jr.; Chester Stewart, QB, Sr.; Kevin Kroboth, DB, Sr.; Stephen Johnson, LB, Sr..Notes.... Edsall is certainly familiar with the Owls. His Fiesta Bowl-bound Connecticut Huskies lost 30-16 to Temple last seasonTemple ranks eighth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 8.0 points per game. Maryland has averaged 31.5 points through two gamesAfter serving a one-game suspension, Terps running back D.J. Adams rushed 12 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns against West Virginia...Tight end Evan Rodriquez leads the Owls with 119 yards on 11 receptions