COLLEGE PARK -- Punt returner Will Likely would set Maryland up with good field position. Brandon Ross and Wes Brown were carrying the football and running with little resistance. But something would happen once the Terrapins got inside the 20-yard line against Richmond on Saturday.
Of Maryland's first five drives, four reached the red zone. But from those five drives came three field goals, one touchdown, and an interception on a deep ball intended for wide receiver Levern Jacobs that was picked off near the goal line. The Terrapins held a narrow 16-14 lead by that point in the second quarter.
"I think some of it is we missed some throws down there," head coach Randy Edsall said postgame. "I don't think our execution was as good as what we needed it to be and then what has to happen is when we do have things available to us, we got to make the correct reads.
"It's a combination of everybody. It's not just one guy."
With the field position that Likely gave Maryland, red zone execution could have made it a two-touchdown game in Maryland's favor by that point in second quarter instead of a two-point game.
As offensive coordinator Mike Locksley pointed out, it's all about percentages. Likely will set them up at a place on the field that, statistically speaking, gives them a higher chance of scoring points. But they still need to execute.
"We had opportunities and we just got to get some things cleaned up, which we will," he said. "From game one to game two, we hope to see the improvement that you usually get going from game one to the second game."
Edsall maintained that the fault does not fall on one player, but the spotlight naturally focuses on the quarterback, in this case Perry Hills.
During the team's first drive down in the red zone, Hills had a ball dropped by wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo on the far sideline, then he underthrew fullback Kenny Goins in the end zone and overthrew wide receiver Malcolm Culmer shortly thereafter.
That was the first of the stalled drives on Saturday.
"We moved the ball up and down the field on them. It's just going to come down to executing in the red zone, running the ball, throwing the ball," Hills said. "We just have to be efficient."
Maryland kicks off against spread-heavy Bowling Green at noon on Saturday in College Park.