COLLEGE PARK -- With the promotion of Keith Dudzinski to defensive coordinator comes a new defensive scheme for Maryland, the 4-3. And there’s one number that is a driving force behind that change:
That was where Maryland ranked in the country last season in terms of rushing yards per attempt for their opponents (4.6). All of that size and all of that brawn in the Big Ten forced a change and it will be tested in live game action for the first time against Richmond on Saturday in College Park.
“Last year, we had guys who were like 280 pounds trying to swallow up blockers,” defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson said with a laugh. “It’s kind of hard to do -- taking on double teams.
“I definitely feel like we can -- with the 4-3 -- we can stop the run better because we have the front four guys penetrating and just being disruptive.”
The first player to test it will be no slouch. Meet Richmond’s Seth Fisher, a 6-2, 232-pound redshirt senior who rushed for 777 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.
He was an All-CAA first team selection for his efforts and has been named preseason All-CAA out of the gate in 2015.
“He’s a bigger guy. He’s a downhill guy, runs hard. You got to tackle him, very productive,” head coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”
He is used in tandem with fellow running back Jacobi Green, who rushed for 634 yards and four touchdowns last season. He also caught 23 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns.
Like Maryland, Richmond will be breaking in a new quarterback, Kyle Lauletta. That puts even more of an emphasis on the running game.
Maryland will counter with different looks up front, perhaps even working eight players into the mix, including Yannick Ngakoue, Quinton Jefferson, Jesse Aniebonam, Roman Braglio, and others.
“You like to make sure you do have eight guys ready,” Edsall said. “That doesn’t mean that all eight are going to play equally, but some guys will be able to spell a guy for a couple plays if we need to.
“But I think it has always been my philosophy to have enough defensive linemen that if you need to.
“[Richmond has] some weapons offensively that you need to contend with,” he went on to say, before reiterating his point. “But Seth Fisher is a very good running back.”