After a slow 2022 season where he said he was complacent, Denzel Burke said he’s taking a different approach this year, working hard every day and taking care of the little things that he can control.
Through just four games, that approach has been working for him with an interception and a forced fumble with two tackles and five passes broken up. In the Notre Dame game, the receiver Burke was guarding was only targeted by Sam Hartman once the entire night. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said when he’s doing his job in the secondary, it makes the job the rest of the defense has to do much easier.
“It gives everybody confidence,” he said. “Denzel is really playing at a high level. And when you scheme up the coverages and you know you can just count on him and kind of take that out of the equation, it allows it allows you to do some other things with the other guys. But it’s just a great thing for the defense and I think the team when you have a guy playing like that.”
With Maryland’s redshirt senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who is creeping up on 10,000 yards in his four year career with the Terrapins, being able to take a player out of the equation is going to be very important in shutting down the high-powered offense they bring into the game.
Knowles also had good things to say about cornerbacks Davison Igbinosun and Jordan Hancock in the secondary, which has been performing better as a whole this season.
“Davison’s very aggressive. You feel him out there, you feel his presence there,” Knowles said. “He’s continuing to get better, but he’s aggressive. You can count on him to show up in the running game which is a big deal there into the boundary. And Jordan is really talented. Moving to that nickel position is not that easy. You want to have a guy there with corner skills, but then there’s a myriad of adjustments that go with it. He’s just continued to improve. He’s going to get better every game.”
The cornerbacks are going to need to keep up their impressive early season performance to limit Tagovailoa and the receivers the Terrapins have, but there hasn’t been any reason so far to expect they won’t be able to.