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Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell has often shared the blame for his unit's struggles over the past month of the season. At his regular Wednesday news conference, the 32-year-old coordinator in his first season in that role took it a step further.

While talking about the youthful mistakes of his players, Bell also mentioned that he might be in the same position as those he coaches. While the offense played solidly enough for stretches against No. 3 Michigan in last week's 59-3 road defeat, gaining 367 yards and converting 19 first downs, it couldn't finish several long drives.

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One that particularly stood out occurred early in the second quarter, when the Terps drove from their own 25-yard line to the Michigan 1, and then went backwards -- first on a second-and-goal at the 1 with an ill-advised run by senior Kenneth Goins Jr. (Gilman) that lost 3 yards.

"The [second-and-goal] play call, I'm not too happy with myself. I probably got a little too smart for my own good," Bell said. "We went to a big goal-line group [of six offensive linemen]. They misaligned and therefore our big, great plan right there didn't look so good because we didn't line up the way thought we were going to. If we had stuck with some tempo type stuff and jam that thing in there, I bet we're a lot happier, including myself."

After a motion penalty, Maryland wound up not scoring at all, as junior Adam Greene (Broadneck) had a 29-yard field goal attempt bounce off the right upright. The Wolverines then drove and scored to go up 21-0, and also scored the other two times they had the ball in the first half en route to a 35-0 halftime lead.

"Anytime you deal with younger kids -- it's not just young people, it's coaches, too -- you go in there and punch that thing in there and it's 14-7. You feel a lot better with yourself, you stay with what's going on," Bell said. "You miss a field goal, you don't finish, they score and all of a sudden it's 21-0, and then you're pressing.

"You're starting to make every play a 21-point play and there's no such thing. It's not just players; a lot of that is how you call the game, how aggressive you try to get your kids started, get them back into [it]. I think that would have been big for everybody."

Bell said first-year coach DJ Durkin's message about not trying to do too much and just concentrate on the task at hand is not just directed at his young players.

"That's for all of us," said Bell, who has called some masterful games this season, most recently in a 42-36 loss at Indiana where fifth-year quarterback Perry Hills missed several receivers who had separated from their defenders down the field. "That's where you'd like to grow and improve from week to week."

don.markus@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sportsprof56

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