Head coach Maurice Linguist and the Bulls have seen a complete makeover this offseason following a disspointing 4-8 record last year. Linguist brought in 20 transfers and 16 high school commits, giving UB the No. 1 overall recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference, according to 247Sports.com. He also brought in numerous new faces on his staff in defensive coordinator Grandon Bailey, running backs coach Greg Knox, wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman and linebackers coach Kevin Corless.
The continuity of UB’s new foundation will be tested early this season in a matchup with Big Ten opponent Maryland. The Terrapins finished last season with a 7-6 record, capping the year off with a 59-10 blowout victory over Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl. A challenge such as Maryland, a formidable Power Five opponent, so early on in the season will surely serve as a measuring stick for the Bulls.
Last week, Linguist named Rutgers transfer and Buffalo native Cole Snyder as the Bulls’ starting quarterback. Since transfering from the Big 10 in April, Synder has shown promise in his analytical abilities while watching film; which is one of Linguist’s main motives for appointing him as QB 1. “Cole had a lot of consistency throughout the summer, so we named him the starter and we’re really proud to be able to do that,” Linguist said in a press conference Tuesday.
Snyder, along with graduate receiver Quian Williams, Louisville transfer Justin Marshall and Arziona transfer Jalen “Boobie” Curry, will look to re-vamp UB’s passing attack. But on the other offense, Maryland quarterback Taila Tagovailoa, as well as ths UMD receiving corps, have proven to be quite the challenge. The Terrapins had nothing short of what Linguist described as an “explosive passing offense” during the 2021-22 season, with an average of over 300 passing yards a game. Tagovailoa set school records with 3,860 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 328 completions last season.
The Terrapins’ receiving threats include the likes of senior Dontay Demus Jr., junior Rakim Jarrett Jr. and Florida transfer Jacop Copeland. The Bulls will have to focus on containing Jarrett, in particular, as the in-state product led the Terps in receptions (62), yards (829) and touchdowns (five) last season.
While the Terrapins possess an intimidating offense with intense receiving ability, Linguist and the Bulls have attempted to implement a balance of quick thinking in practice with an emphasis on film study as the main sources of preparation. Linguist said the Bulls “have the answers to the test, but then you need the actual physical reps to nail down the details.”
In order to combat the Terrapins’ swift offense, the Bulls must contain Maryland’s explosive playmakers on defense and be adventageous on offense. It wont be easy againt a Big 10 opponent, but a strong performance against Maryland will prove Linguist’s dynamic recruiting class and coaching changes have set UB up for a bounce-back season in 2022.
The Bulls will take on the Terrapins Saturday at Capital One Stadium in College Park, MD. Kick-off is set for 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Big 10 Network.
Dylan Greco is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com