I know WVUIE97 did one of these earlier in the week, but it's always nice to get different perspectives from opposing teams, yes? I had a virtual sit-down with Chris of Turtle Droppings last year, and agreed to do the same again this year. You can find my answers to his questions here. He kindly agreed to return the favor. I actually tried to ask different questions so we could learn a little more and not repeat the same things over and over again. Hope you enjoy. So, without further ado:
Country Roads: WVU has typically viewed the Maryland game as a measuring stick for how well the rest of the season will go. Win, and we're off to a solid year. Lose, and things could get rough. Do Maryland fans view the WVU game in the same way?
Turtle Droppings: You do bring up a good point there. When Maryland was at their best under Friedgen, a win against WVU was often a spring board for a rather successful season. Usually a loss left Maryland scurrying for a bowl game. I don't know if it is direct correlation or not, but you can't really argue with the stats over the last 10 years or so.
TD: Against Miami, Maryland struggled mightily in the red zone. D.J. Adams was suspended by Randy Edsall for "an undisclosed violation of team rules." Last season he was the short yardage and goal line back and scored 11 touchdowns. I think he should help get some of those tough yards you need when the defense is stacked up. Another guy who had a surprisingly big game against Miami was WR Kevin Dorsey. He had 124 yards on 8 catches and showed some of the speed and explosiveness Maryland fans have expected from him for a few years.
CR: What do you expect the crowd to be like on Saturday? The stadium looked to be rocking against Miami, but that was a night game against a conference opponent and the start of a new regime. Will Byrd be as hostile at noon when the Mountaineers come to town?
TD: The fact that it is a noon game will have some impact, however I am not expecting it to be too drastic of a change. That win and all the hype with the uniforms have been a huge breath of fresh air for the entire program. There is a pretty big buzz already for this one. It is after all WVU, and there are some hostilities there.
CR: After one game, how do you feel about the Randy Edsall era in Maryland? Do you think he will be able to win more than Ralph Friedgen?
TD: Let me first say I was not the least bit enthused by his hire. I was all aboard for Mike Leach. I kind of felt like Edsall was a younger thinner version of Friedgen. That being said, Edsall is growing on me rather quickly. Sure it was only one win, but he is really trying to do all the right things to build excitement for Maryland Football. He has fully embraced Twitter. He posted a video of Davin Meggett running him over during practice the other night. He is really giving it his all early to get both young and old excited about Maryland again. He has been out in public, and has impressed me with his interviews so far. I think he may wind up winning more than Friedgen when all is said and done. He may not land a lot of top local talent right away, but we are getting on the list of some of these players, and that is a start. Three years down the road, I may really have to say Kevin Anderson really got the right man for the job and that I was dead wrong.
CR: Depending on who you ask, Maryland is a 1.5-point favorite and the over/under is 54.5. Where's your money on this one?
TD: Ugh, thankfully I don't dabble in gambling to often. When I do, it is never on Maryland. You start to feel like you know more than you really do when it comes to your own team. This game is really tough to call. Geno Smith is looking pretty good, but I really expect Maryland to build on the momentum of the Miami win. As far as the over/under goes, I think I would take the over. Maryland is going to a much more uptempo offense under Gary Crowton. Any time you have Danny O'Brien under center, there is a pretty good chance you are going to score. On the defensive side I think Geno could have a big day against Todd Bradford's defense. I hope I am wrong but, I think the defense will be the reason Maryland may not have as good of a season as they really could.
Thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer the questions. Now, let's just hope he's right about the defense.