Mike Locksley got to do one of his favorite things Saturday — dive deep into his bench to give young players an opportunity to get on the field.

“That’s huge, because for us to develop our team, with the way the game of football is, we’re going to need them all,” Locksley said. “And to be able to play a lot of players in Game 1 really will help our team as we build our depth.”

Maryland often rotates players in game, but it did so to an extreme extent against Towson — per Pro Football Focus, a whopping 77 players got snaps on offense or defense.

Locksley could play them because his Terps walloped the Tigers, jumping to a 21-0 lead and ultimately winning 38-6. When a team has that kind of margin of victory, it’s clear little went wrong.

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But Maryland’s performance has to be scaled to its opponent. The FCS team it trounced will likely be the worst team on its schedule.

An imperceptible crack against that tier of opponent will be split open into a gaping chasm against the kinds of teams — namely the Big Ten’s elite in Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State — the Terps are trying to measure themselves against.

That said, let’s get our magnifying glasses out and nitpick.

An offensive (line) performance

Locksley’s first season coaching college football came 31 years ago. He’s been with nine different college teams, including three stints with Maryland. It takes a lot to surprise him.

The Terps found a way to do that — by substituting offensive linemen midseries.

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“It was a little weird for me,” the coach said. “... [It] is not normal.”

He attributed the rotation to Maryland’s belief it has nine linemen who can contribute. Starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was pressured on 31.4% of his drop-backs, per PFF, the fourth-highest mark among Big Ten quarterbacks with at least 20 total drop-backs. The three quarterbacks ahead of him all faced FBS teams.

“If Coach puts them in the game, I have the utmost confidence that they’ll do their job,” Tagovailoa said. “... We’re all depending on them. I know they’ll always do their job.”

The Terps used 13 linemen, some of whom played due to the blowout, but even the group protecting Tagovailoa shifted.

The unit started as follows (likely starting right tackle Gottlieb Ayedze didn’t play due to injury): LT, Delmar Glaze; LG, Corey Bullock; C, Mike Purcell; RG, Amelio Morán; RT, Conor Fagan.

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Later, Aric Harris subbed in for Purcell. Bullock also saw time at center. Johari Branch was the starter a year ago, and the senior was tasked with setting Maryland’s protection — his veteran presence could be missed as the new line adjusts.

Tagovailoa is a smaller quarterback, one who plays aggressively but frequently looks shaken up after taking hits. He looked shaken up multiple times against Towson. Ideally, that doesn’t happen in just three quarters of play against an FCS squad.

Self-inflicted errors

Former Terps coach Ralph Friedgen believes Locksley’s team is close to beating one of the conference’s premier programs. The Terps just have to let their opponents beat themselves rather than committing the errors — the penalties, dropped passes, turnovers and more.

Maryland committed 101 penalties for 924 yards last year — those marks led the Big Ten and were seventh (tied with three other teams) and fourth, respectively, among all FBS teams. Tagovailoa had 21 on-target passes dropped in 2022, the second most among conference quarterbacks, per PFF.

Those issues cropped up again against Towson — the Terps committed seven penalties and had seven drops, including one by Tai Felton on a would-be 74-yard touchdown. The absence of that score didn’t matter. That won’t always be true.

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Wide receiver room

This is less a nitpick and more a question: How will the Terps offense dole out playing time to its wide array of receivers?

Kaden Prather and Tyrese Chambers were the main incoming transfers. Prather played 35 snaps, the third most among receivers, and caught a touchdown. Chambers was fifth in snaps at 28 and caught two passes for 9 yards.

Felton led the room in snaps, while veteran Jeshaun Jones led receivers in catches with five and yards with 57. He also added a touchdown.

The surprise came from sophomore Octavian Smith Jr., who could have a bigger role than expected. He played the second-most snaps among receivers, catching four passes for 42 yards.

On an early third down, Tagovailoa scrambled left and found Smith running with him. The sophomore gained 12 yards and a first down. Smith also had a 34-yard kickoff return and got a designed handoff on one play that was wiped out due to penalty.

“Octavian’s a playmaker,” Tagovailoa said. “... He stayed alive on the rollout and got a first down, a big first down that we needed. … He’s a big-time player.”

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