Former Maryland men’s lacrosse offensive coordinator J.L. Reppert left the program just four weeks before the 2021 season was set to begin, leaving behind a legacy of six Big Ten championships, four Final Fours and a national championship.
Coach John Tillman scrambled to replace the leader of his highly-regarded offense, and about 48 hours later, he found his guy: Johns Hopkins offensive coordinator Bobby Benson.
Benson led some of the most dynamic offenses in college lacrosse during his time in Baltimore, leaving questions about how his coaching style would compliment Maryland’s veteran offense that Reppert taught.
But those questions were quelled yesterday, when Benson’s offense scored the most goals ever by a Maryland team in a Big Ten game. Eleven different Terps found the back of the net in the 20-point performance, and the new offensive coordinator was a big reason why.
“It’s only been four weeks, but I think Coach Benson’s just … done a great job of not necessarily coming in and trying to overhaul everything, but really kind of looking at what we have,” Tillman said. “I think every week we’ll see more and more benefit from that as he gets more comfortable with our guys and our guys with him.”
Benson’s offenses have had success against Maryland in the past. Most recently, the Blue Jays scored 28 combined goals in back-to-back matchups with the Terps in 2019, dominating many of the defenders Benson’s unit goes up against in practice.
Benson was hired as an interim offensive coordinator in late January, giving him a chance to more quickly join the team. The new offensive coordinator left many of Reppert’s offensive sets in place — part of what made the transition so smooth.
Attackman Daniel Maltz proved to be a beneficiary of Benson’s philosophy, tying a career-high five goals Saturday, while diverting attention away from leading goal-scorers Jared Bernhardt and Logan Wisnauskas.
“He came in and we kind of kept our same sets,” Maltz said. “He came in and just definitely helped us a lot. The big thing we’re doing this year is a lot of off-ball movement and that’s something we’re just improving on every single day. I think he’s definitely helped us in that area a lot.”
Beyond Maltz’s record-setting day, the veterans on Benson’s offense contributed immensely to his coordinating debut in College Park. Bernhardt finished with two goals and two assists and Wisnauskas had a hat trick in the first half alone.
The Terps kept the ball moving against Michigan as they tallied 11 assists, led by midfielder Anthony DeMaio who had three.
DeMaio credits Benson for getting to know everyone on the offense and letting them play without much intervention.
“He’s been awesome,” DeMaio said. “I think that he’s been really relatable coming in and just getting to know the guys. It’s a little different just because we have so much experience, so it’s not like he’s coming in and changing everything we’re doing or anything like that.”
Maryland will take its high-powered offense to No. 6 Penn State Friday, then return home to face Benson’s former team on March 6.
Although Benson still has the word interim in his title and has just one game under his belt, it looks like Tillman found an offensive coordinator to add to the coaching legacy at Maryland.
“We’ve had some great coaches come through here and you always realize it’s a group effort,” Tillman said. “You have to have good assistance and support from your administration and good players. You need all of those things. If you only have parts of that, you’re going to be vulnerable.”