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Locksley eager to unleash Maryland's big-play offense

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Locksley eager to unleash Maryland's big-play offense

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- With a new quarterback and a playbook that pays homage to Alabama's dynamic attack, Maryland's offense under first-year coach Michael Locksley has the potential to be diverse, exciting and productive.

"This offense has a lot of weapons," said quarterback Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior transfer from Virginia Tech. "We have a chance to surprise a lot of people because we're going to have a great offense."

Jackson will be the starter based on his performance in summer practice and his 2017 season with the Hokies. He threw for 20 touchdowns and ran for six scores at Virginia Tech.

Combine Jackson with 1,000-yard rusher Anthony McFarland Jr., throw in a few speedy receivers and top it all with award-winning tight end Tyler Mabry, and you've got an unit that can strike in a variety of ways.

Locksley and the new-look Terps make their debut Saturday at home against Howard. After spending the past three years helping run Alabama's offense, including last season as the coordinator when the Crimson Tide rang up 45.6 points and 522 yards per game, Locksley can't wait to see how this team fares.

"It's a Maryland offense now," Locksley declared Tuesday. "Obviously, me coming from Alabama as a play caller, the systems will be similar. But you always have to start with evaluating your personnel. If you ask me philosophically, the key is to get as many touches to the best players on offense."

That list begins with Jackson, who last year was on his way to duplicating the success he enjoyed in 2017 before a leg injury cut short his season after three games.

McFarland last year became the first Maryland freshman with four 100-yard rushing games, including a whopping 298 against Ohio State, and he finished with 1,034 yards rushing -- most by a freshman in school history.

Receiver Donte Demus Jr. caught three passes for over 50 yards in 2018, and the 6-4, 250-pound Mabry is a sure-handed transfer from Buffalo, where he was named first-team All-Mid American Conference.

Any one of them is capable of going the distance each time they touch the football.

"Coach Lock's offense is designed to get the playmakers the ball in space, and I feel that's what he's going to do," McFarland said. "We have a lot of talent on the offense, a lot of depth. We're ready to showcase that."

A year ago, Maryland's offense was ranked 94th in the Football Bowl Subdivision. This year, McFarland insists, will be different.

"You just won't know what's coming," he said. "Last year we had plays that were hard to stop but we were pretty predictable -- at least that's what other teams were telling us. Now we're mixing it up a little bit to keep defenses on their toes, keep them honest."

If it worked for Alabama, it ought to work for Maryland. At least that's what the Terrapins are hoping for.

"It might be coming from Alabama," Jackson said, "but we're going to have our own twist on it and make it very good."

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Defense finally shows up for Maryland in rout of Oakland

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Defense finally shows up for Maryland in rout of Oakland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Darryl Morsell led a balanced attack with 14 points, and No. 7 Maryland used a strong defensive effort to power past Oakland 80-50 Saturday.

Anthony Cowan Jr. contributed 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Terrapins, Aaron Wiggins scored 10 and Jalen Smith added eight points and seven rebounds.

After opening with lopsided victories at home against Holy Cross and Rhode Island, Maryland is off a 3-0 start for the sixth year in a row. The Terps are 33-6 at home over the past two-plus seasons.

Xavier Hill-Mais led Oakland (3-2) with 18 points. The Golden Grizzlies shot 36.5%, were outrebounded 40-30 and went 6 for 15 at the foul line.

The Terrapins used layups by Smith and Morsell to turn a 35-22 halftime lead into a 17-point cushion. Minutes later, Morsell contributed a pair of 3-pointers to a 12-3 run that made it 56-31 with 12:28 left.

Morsell, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, went 6 for 8 from the field and had seven rebounds in only 21 minutes.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon used 15 players, nine of them for at least 10 minutes, and 13 different players scored.

The Golden Grizzlies broke to an early 16-12 lead and trailed only 24-22 before Maryland finished the first half with an 11-0 run -- including a dunk by Smith and a 3-pointer by Wiggins at the buzzer.

Oakland shot 37% from the floor before halftime, missing eight of nine from beyond the arc.

BIG PICTURE

Oakland made it interesting at the outset but withered under the weight of Maryland's depth. The Golden Grizzlies have 10 new players from last season, so need games like this to get ready for Horizon League play.

Maryland has far too much depth, height and talent for the opposition in these early mismatches. If there's any flaw worth noting, it's that the Terrapins have started slowly in each game before pulling away.

UP NEXT

Oakland: Hosts Hartford on Monday night.

Maryland: Continues its season-opening, five-game homestand against Fairfield on Tuesday night. In the only previous meeting, the Terps beat the Stags 71-42 in 2009.

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Jalen Smith bookends play with a block and alley-oop dunk

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Jalen Smith bookends play with a block and alley-oop dunk

Maryland forward Jalen Smith has been the Terps’ leading scorer in the early goings of this season, topping the box scores in each of the team’s first two victories

Against Oakland on Saturday, the sophomore only scored eight points but stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks—including this one that he helped turn into an alley-oop on the other end of the floor.

Smith entered the season with a selection to the preseason All-Big Ten Team after he averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 blocks per game as a freshman. He was  added to the Naismith Award watch list in early November as one of 50 college basketball stars eligible for the honor of being deemed the best player in the NCAA at the end of this season.

After beating Maryland 80-50 and moving to 3-0 on the year Saturday, the Terps are off until Tuesday when they host Fairfield at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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