College Park — On the surface, it seems that there's little to be concerned about with a 2-0 Maryland football team.
Coming off their highest scoring performance in more than 60 years and their first consecutive 50-point games in school history, the Terps are rolling offensively. Having held Texas and Towson to less than 100 yards rushing, the defense appears much improved.
As, Maryland gets an early bye week following Saturday's 63-17 win over the Tigers and starts to get ready for its next game Sept. 23 at home against Central Florida, second-year coach DJ Durkin's goal of improving each week will have to get accomplished on the practice field.
Here are three things the Terps need to work on before their next game:
1. Get freshman quarterback Kasim Hill as many reps as possible
After taking over from injured sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome in the fourth quarter in Austin, Hill has been remarkable in showing off his arm, his legs and, possibly most impressive, his head.
Given all he did against Texas in relief as well against Towson in his first college start, it's hard to say which area of Hill's game is the most impressive.
Completing the three passes he threw against the Longhorns and the first eight against the Tigers, Hill is now 16 of 19 passing (84.2 percent) for 207 yards and two touchdowns.
Hill has also run 10 times for 55 yards and a touchdown. He has been sacked just once and has stepped away from potential sacks at least a couple of times.
If anything, the explosive nature of the Maryland offense — in particular sophomore running back Ty Johnson's habit of tearing off a long touchdown on first down — has limited Hill's snaps.
With Hill in the game, the Terps have scored on seven of 11 possessions (not counting twice taking a knee on the final possession at Texas and at half against Texas). No drive has lasted longer than seven plays, with three long TDs by Johnson.
The Terps ran just 54 plays against Towson, and 19 came after sophomore Max Bortenschlager replaced Hill late in the third quarter at Maryland Stadium.
2. Contain the opposing quarterback better
The Terps did a good job of getting to Texas quarterback Shane Buechele early on, and to Towson quarterback Ryan Stover in the second half Saturday.
Both, though, showed the ability to get out of the pocket, throwing on the run or completing a pass as they scrambled. Maryland will have an even tougher challenge when the Terps face Central Florida on Sept. 23.
A year ago in Orlando, freshman McKenzie Milton was making his first college start and kept the defense off-balanced with his unpredictable style.
Milton threw when the Terps thought he was going to run — completing 21 of 36 passes for 260 yards and two TDs — and avoided several sacks.
In Maryland's defense, coordinator Andy Buh could only watch tape of Milton from high school since he had yet to take the field for the Golden Knights.
The Terps were fortunate when they recovered a fumble by Milton — on what looked to some like a pass attempt — to preserve a 30-24 win in double overtime.
Maryland will now have a season of tape to watch of Milton, who threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns in UCF's opening-game win over Florida International.
But the Terps, adjusting to playing without senior linebacker Jesse Aniebonam (fractured ankle), have to contain Milton if they want to be 3-0 going into the Big Ten opener at Minnesota.
3. Get the field goal kicking situation straightened out
One of the most interesting developments Saturday against Towson was placekicker Henry Darmstadter, a graduate transfer from Georgetown who joined the team over the summer.
It didn't come as a big surprise to see Darmstadter take over the tield goal kicking duties from senior Adam Greene (Broadneck). Durkin hinted of that possibility earlier in the week.
Greene had one field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown, then missed badly on a 50-yarder in the fourth quarter against Texas. He also made a 27-yarder.
Darmstadter, who was the leading field goal kicker in Georgetown history, made all nine of his PATs — a school record — against the Tigers, including one that banked off the goal post.
But a player who made seven kicks outside 40 yards, including five of seven as a senior at Georgetown, has yet attempt a single field goal for the Terps.
It seemed curious that Durkin passed on what would have been a a 46-yarder in the fourth quarter with the Terps up 49-7.Bortenschlager wound up getting a first down on a 14-yard run, and subsequently scored.
Asked about his decision to go for it on fourth-and-10 from the Towson 29, Durkin said he factored in the length and the fact that Darmstadter was kicking into a slight breeze,
"I I didn't want that to be his first field goal attempt," Durkin said. "Henry's done a great job in practice. He's earned that job. He did good on extra points, he even banked one in, that's hard to do."He's certainly a guy that we think can help us, and we're counting on."
Not that Damstadter's job is secure, either.
"We'll keep those guys competing," Durkin said. "That's going to come down to a big part our game at some point. It hasn't affected us yet, but it certainly will and we have to be ready when it does."