Maryland football kept the ball on the ground as it looked to seal a win over Charlotte in week two.
Roman Hemby took a handoff on the first play of the drive, exploding through a wide-open gap on the left side of the offensive line. The hole kept Hemby untouched for nearly 15 yards. He eventually fought through multiple would-be tacklers for a 24-yard gain to bring the Terps into the red zone.
Hemby easily scored from 15 yards out three plays later, rushing to the left once again for the dagger touchdown. Conor Fagan and Kyle Long pulled from the right side of the offensive line to the left, taking care of the edge defenders. But the difference on the counter came from DJ Glaze.
The left tackle overpowered the 49ers’ left-inside rusher. Glaze’s mauling of the defender — paired with Fagan and Long’s excellent kickout blocks — provided an open running lane for Hemby.
Maryland has endured an ever-changing offensive line this season. Glaze has been the lone constant.
“You look to the left side of our line and you’ve got DJ Glaze, who’s a guy that I think has the potential to play on Sundays,” Michael Locksley said. “I think DJ is one of the better linemen in the country.”
Glaze has started all seven games at left tackle, playing more than 90 percent of the Terps’ offensive snaps. The redshirt junior is a major reason why Maryland’s ground attack has been at its best rushing to the left.
The Terps’ backs are averaging 6.8 yards per rush in the direction of the defense’s left end, 5.4 yards per attempt towards the left tackle and 7.4 yards per carry behind the left guard. More than 60 percent of their ground yards come toward the left side of the offensive line. Glaze is the central force behind that success.
Glaze’s capabilities at left tackle entering the season weren’t sure-fire. Jaelyn Duncan commanded that spot on the line in 2021 and 2022 before being taken in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, limiting Glaze to just three collegiate starts at left tackle compared to 16 at right tackle entering this season.
Yet Locksley isn’t surprised with how efficient Glaze has performed in his new position. Glaze was developed to play both sides of the line, as is the case for any Maryland offensive lineman. Locksley refers to Glaze as a “swing guy.”
“For him it hasn’t been a big deal going from right to left and he’s performed at a pretty consistent level for us,” Locksley said.
Glaze’s effectiveness has been key for an offensive line that has endured shuffles all season long.
Eight different lineman have registered at least 190 snaps and started three or more games, per Pro Football Focus. Corey Bullock, Fagan, Long and Amelio Morán have all received starts at both guard spots. Aric Harris and Mike Purcell have both started at center. Ayedze and Fagan have started multiple games at right tackle. Glaze is the lone Terp to record a start at left tackle.
Uncertainty in Maryland’s offensive line hasn’t been limited to a game-by-game basis, as the front five has changed during outings on numerous occasions; five or more lineman have played at least 10 snaps in six of the Terps’ seven games. Glaze has been the veteran to keep the cohesion between the front five flowing.
“I’m just trying to make sure they’re in the right headspace to come out there and just pick up where the other guy may have left off,” Glaze said.
Maryland enters Saturday’s matchup against Northwestern fresh off a bye week following back-to-back losses against Ohio State and Illinois. For the Terps to get back to their winning ways, they’ll need to accomplish a feat that hasn’t been done since 2016 — a victory in the ensuing game after a bye week.
Glaze believes that starts with “getting back to the fundamentals.”
“Fundamentally, you have to be sound, to make sure that everybody gets their job done,” Glaze said. “Everybody’s working as one, as a unit.”