The Conversation: Maryland

This week's guest is Testudo Times, a blog that our readers are actually able to comment on without going through a new signup process, since it's on the sbnation network.  These guys not only provided solid answers, but they asked great questions as well.  My answers to their questions appear here. I want to thank these guys, I enjoyed it.

How has the transition from the fridge to the new OC gone? What are the most noticeable changes? What elements are you glad the new guy kept?

There's definitely more passing in the offense, which almost every single fan was clamoring for at one point or another. He's also been a big boon in practice - very upbeat, relates well to the players, that kind of thing. He did retain a similar style of running the ball, even the two-back system, which usually works out well for the Terps. Franklin and Friedgen think alike and Fridge has said numerous times that when he thinks about what play he would call in a particular situation, Franklin has already called it. Another cool thing is that the players will even get on the headset with Franklin during the game and tell him "Hey, we should do this" or "We can exploit this up the middle." They did so against UNC, telling Franklin to run the ball up the middle, and he listened and the Terps were able to do just that.

Waylon Jennings & Hank Williams Jr - The Conversation (via Slasheri)

 

What does he/she think the biggest weaknesses and strengths are for the Terps. Then, how does that match up with FSU. EX- Personel wise, the team's tendencies and their "bread and butter" plays, or what have other teams exploited in losses?

The biggest strength really can change weekly. The running game really is the most consistent strength of this team, but there have been some games (Virginia Tech, Middle Tennessee) where it really doesn't show up. If I had to pick a bread-and-butter play, I'd go with a run right behind Bruce Campbell, starting right tackle or a bubble screen to Darrius Heyward-Bey. You'll probably see lots of those.

The biggest weakness is probably the secondary. After the loss of Kevin Barnes (out for the season), the Terps were left with mediocre corners pretty much all around. The safeties sometimes make up for it, but they can only do so much. The three games the Terps have lost so far this year, it hasn't been a team exploiting one weakness; the entire team just didn't show up to play. Maryland's defense overall has been a weakness throughout the year, and even in some of the Terps biggest wins, such as the one over Cal, the Defense still allowed a ton of yardage but the offense was able to score early and often to win the game.


Who do you consider to be your biggest ACC rival?

 

Maryland's in a weird position, because arguably our biggest football rival is out of conference (West Virginia), and our biggest basketball rival is Duke, which obviously doesn't apply the same way to football. I'll go with Virginia for Maryland's biggest rival, at least in football. There's not a lot of hatred or storied games, but there's not a lot of love, either. UVA also served as a dagger team for the Terps in 1999 and 2000, both years knocking the Terps out of bowl contention and taking away a trip to the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii. But if that didn't happen, Friedgen probably wouldn't have been hired cause our previous coach might still be here.


Not sure if you caught the BC- FSU game, but if you did, what do you take from that game? On the BC side, what will you look to do to BC in 2 weeks that FSU could not or did not do.

For BC, I think surprise. BC has quietly been putting together a nice season and their game against FSU was kind of the "Wow, BC could still win the Atlantic" moment for me. I was shocked at BC being able to rush the football for > 170 yards against FSU's D.

Against BC, I think we're going to have to get the running game going and need to get Heyward-Bey involved early and often. When you stretch the field with Hey-Bey, it opens your running game up even more.
Maryland needs to continue to dominate the line of scrimmage. Our O-line probably had it's best game of the season last week against UNC. If they can continue to do that against FSU and then against BC, I think we can win.

 


Coming off losses against Middle Tennessee State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech, which subsequent game was the most important for Maryland to win: California, Wake Forest, or North Carolina?

All of them were huge. Each one brought the season from the brink of disaster. I'll go with California, because if Maryland does not win that game, the rest of the season likely doesn't turn out this well. With a loss, the team is suddenly 1-2 and might give up hope. Plus, it felt great to beat a team that won 66-3 the week before. I think it also restored faith in the fan base that this wasn't going to be a lost season and that we could run with the best in the country.


How has the transition from the fridge to the new OC gone? What are the most noticeable changes? What elements are you glad the new guy kept?

There's definitely more passing in the offense, which almost every single fan was clamoring for at one point or another. He's also been a big boon in practice - very upbeat, relates well to the players, that kind of thing. He did retain a similar style of running the ball, even the two-back system, which usually works out well for the Terps. Franklin and Friedgen think alike and Fridge has said numerous times that when he thinks about what play he would call in a particular situation, Franklin has already called it. Another cool thing is that the players will even get on the headset with Franklin during the game and tell him "Hey, we should do this" or "We can exploit this up the middle." They did so against UNC, telling Franklin to run the ball up the middle, and he listened and the Terps were able to do just that.


I'm fascinated by the lack of coverage given to injuries in college compared to the insane attention an injury report draws in the NFL. What significant injuries has Maryland suffered since training camp that are still affecting the team? What guys have stepped into the void, and how are they doing?

There are a few big injuries for the team, unfortunately. Kevin Barnes, Maryland's all-ACC cornerback, injured his shoulder midway through the year, and is out for the season. LaQuan Williams, thought to challenge for a starting spot at the beginning of the year, has been out for several weeks know with a leg injury. Nolan Carroll has really stepped up his game at corner, along with Anthony Wiseman. Neither of them were supposed to start at the beginning of the year, but have done admirable jobs. Maryland also discovered a diamond in the rough with Williams's replacement; Torrey Smith is a special teams warrior and has an uncanny knack for finding the opening in a defense.

 

 

Finally, rushing defense! Maryland gave up 205+ rushing yards 3 seperarate times this year, and there is not a Georgia Tech option team included in that stat. In other games, they seem to completely shut down a team's run game. What is going on there? Do the 3 rushing teams (Clemson, Va Tech, Virginia) share a common trend? Clemson uses 2 backs while the other 2 not. UVA has a good OLine while VT and Clemson's are pretty poor. How did this happen?

Your guess is as good as mind. The one thing I've learned with this team, after a roller-coaster of a season, is that it's more mental than anything else. They can beat any team in the world, and can lose to any team in the world. The same thing applies here. Maryland could've shut those teams down, but failed to. (To be fair, Clemson's stats are a little misleading. Nearly 200 of those yards were given up in the first half on some long runs - they were shut down the second half.) My best guess as to why it happened, besides Maryland's lack of focus mentally, was that Clemson, Tech, and Virginia committed to running the ball. They had no doubts that this was what they were going to do, and the offense simply had confidence that they could roll over Maryland in the running game. When we don't give up large rushing games this season though, we've allowed huge passing performances. I think the defense has struggled to play a complete game where they've been able to shut down both aspects of an opponents attack.

 

A question on campus transportation.

In terms of metro vs. parking on campus, it all depends on what you want to do. If I were you, I'd park on South Campus, near the Business school (where I tailgate). Things are a lot more chill there (less students to deal with) then up in lot 11, near the Comcast Center, where you'd likely get harassed a lot more.

IF you don't care about tailgating, taking the metro to the CP metro station and either walking or taking the free shuttle bus is always a good option...don't have to deal with parking and such and you can get right off campus fast after the game.

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