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Staring Down The Musket At...The Maryland Terrapins: A Blogger Q & A Session

Alex Kirshner from Testudo Times was kind enough to answer some questions for us to get a better insight in this weekend's game against the Terps.


TSM: Is depth at cornerback an issue? We saw where both their starters at the beginning of the season are injured. One for the rest of the season. How much of a concern is this?

TT: It's a huge concern. Cornerback was a position of strength coming into the season, but it thinned a bit when No. 2 man Jeremiah Johnson went down the first week with an injury that will keep him out at least another month-plus. The position became an all-out disaster zone when No. 1 corner Dexter McDougle (he of four interceptions in the season's first two and a half games) went out for the year last weekend against UConn. Now they're relying on a decent backup and an inexperienced but high-upside freshman, Isaac Goins and Will Likely, to start -- and stay healthy. Another injury, and this unit could get absolutely torched over the next nine games. Terps fans are very scared.

TSM: Is Edsall on the hot seat to produce this year? If so, what number of wins does he need to keep his job?

TT: Randy Edsall's seat is probably mildly lukewarm. It definitely wouldn't call it hot, only because he's got a contract and perfectly viable injury excuses to fall back on if the team falters again (QB last year, corner this year). If Maryland doesn't manage to win three more games and get to a bowl game, though, that's real trouble.

TSM: Feelings on the move to the Big 10? The move will bring more recruiters into the DC Metro area. Does Maryland expect to offset this with recruits from Big 10 country or any concerns about more competition in recruiting? How weird is it that you're going to be B1G?

TT: For a lot of Maryland fans with decades of memories in the ACC, it's a tough transition to swallow. For younger fans like me who don't have such a visceral attachment to the All Carolina Conference, the move is no problem. The university will make buckets of money, and I think it will wind up as a recruiting gain, not a loss. The Big Ten is the second-best football conference in the nation, and the best players should want to play against the best competition on the biggest stage. Edsall hasn't been explicit about whether he'll tap the Midwest for more talent, but that would seem logical.

TSM: Quarterback play was clearly an unlucky spot for the Terps last year with all the injuries. How has the QB spot looked for the Terps over the first 3 games?

TT: C.J. Brown has been a star. He's produced nearly 1100 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns over three games, his first since missing all of last season with a torn ACL. He's been picked just once, and he's capable of casually jogging 60 yards down the sideline on deceptive counter plays. The year is young, obviously, but Brown's been a dream to this point.

TSM: From looking at the stats, it seems that Diggs and Long are getting the lion's share of the receptions. Is that by design? Maybe I should rephrase...are the other guys worth paying attention to on defense?

TT: Diggs is worth being utterly terrified of. For my money, he's in the top handful of wideouts in the country next to the Coopers, Watkinses and Lees of the world. He is a bona-fide star and as clear-cut a top-flight receiving prospect as you'll find. Every time he touches the ball, he's a threat to score. He doesn't drop balls, and he's just as dangerous on screen passes as he is on deep balls. Long, a junior college transfer, is a good complimentary option who could be a No. 1 under the right circumstances. Especially with No. 3 receiver Nigel King out this week, Diggs and Long should be in line for at least around half of Brown's targets.

TSM: The WVU O line performance has been spotty and we've already replaced the center. How has the UM D line looked so far - specifically with the run D and pass rush. Is the battle in the trenches one the Terps expect to win?

TT: Defensively, Maryland's line has looked good. I'm still somewhat queasy about the unit, only because they lost two NFL guys from last year in Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, but they've shown up well so far. Quinton Jefferson, a defensive end, and nose tackle Darius Kilgo have been particularly impressive. Fortunately, the linebacking group, led thus far by Marcus Whitfield and Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, has done an excellent job pressuring opposing signal-callers.

The offensive line has been fine, too, but that's clearly got potential to be the weakest aspect of this team. WVU's front seven should be able to put some pressure on Brown on Saturday.

TSM: How does the fan base feel about games in Baltimore versus College Park? Do you feel like you lose the home field advantage? Does it help recruiting and exposure to play games in an NFL stadium?

TT: I did a point-counterpoint with my colleague, Dave Tucker, about this topic over the summer. I like the idea, and Dave doesn't. I'm in favor because it's a sound recruiting ploy in a talent-rich region, makes money on ticket sales, and doesn't cost a home game. I can't see how any Maryland fan would be angry about getting six home games plus a "neutral" game that tons of students and alumni will still be able to get to. There's no loss, and I'd much rather see a seventh game at M&T Bank Stadium than in a tough atmosphere somewhere else.

TSM: What's up with not letting the WVU band play on the field? Do we have any insight on if Natty Boh will be sold in the stadium? Will McNulty and/or Omar be in attendance?

TT: I'm not sure. The athletic department really should tell me these things, though.

Thanks again to Alex (follow him on Twitter @alex_kirshner) for taking the time to answer our questions. You can see more coverage of the game and Maryland over at SB Nation's Maryland blog, Testudo Times.