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Staring Down The Musket At...The Maryland Terrapins. A Q&A With Testudo Times.

Testudo Times writer and "eerily similar last name guy" Alex Kirshner joins the Musket for a round of Question and Answer.


Alex Kirshner from Testudo Times was kind enough to answer some questions about the 'Eers and Terps. Let's get started, shall we?

Matt: I've been a long term believer in the ineptitude of Randy Edsall as a head coach that can get you anywhere in a legitimate conference. However, I'll give him props in that he has dug Maryland out of the hole that he got them into early in his tenure at UMD. Do you think that Edsall is the kind of guy that can lead Maryland to real Big Ten title contention?

Alex: Getting to a Big Ten championship game will be enormously hard no matter who's coaching. No matter how good a job Edsall does, it will be some time before Maryland's ever the favorite to beat out Ohio State or Michigan State for a spot in that game. With that in mind, I do think Edsall's a big-time college football coach. Not everyone likes him, as evidenced by the avalanche of transfers Maryland absorbed at the beginning of his tenure. He clearly has a vision for the program, and while James Franklin and Penn State could be a big recruiting problem, there's not much doubt Edsall has the Terps moving in the right direction.

Matt: Clint Trickett has been lighting up opposing secondaries with the help of big play receivers in Kevin White and Mario Alford and WVU has done a total 180 on offense thus far. How does Maryland's secondary stack up to those of recent years, and how do you feel they'll play against West Virginia's revamped passing game.

Alex: Maryland's secondary is talented and fairly experienced, but I suppose we can't know how good the defensive backs actually are until they play talented peers, like they'll do on Saturday. The Terps lost their best corner, Dexter McDougle, to injury and then the NFL, but tiny Will Likely is physical and can cover No. 1 receivers. The two safeties, Sean Davis and Anthony Nixon, have each been on the field regularly for two years now, and both are rangy, hard-hitting threats. The only question mark is the second cornerback, but Alvin Hill's been good there so far in that role.

Matt: Maryland has joined West Virginia in the "LOL, why are they in that conference" club. Obviously there's going to be enormous fan excitement for the move to the Big Ten, but how do you really feel Maryland will fit in long term in their new league?

Alex: I think Maryland will fit in just fine. The geography doesn't make inordinate sense, but it wasn't perfect in the ACC, either. The Terps have a long athletic history, and Maryland is a public, land-grant, flagship institution in the same vein as so many Big Ten schools. Developing the right fit might take time, but I suspect the enhanced revenue will smooth things over until that time.

Matt: WVU fans know that Maryland has playmakers in CJ Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Deon Long (a one time WVU signee). Who's an under the radar offensive weapon for the Terps that WVU should be on the lookout for on Saturday?

Alex: Marcus Leak, Maryland's No. 3 wideout, was a threat in 2012 behind Diggs but left the team for all of last season. He's back now and looks to be in fine form, with two touchdowns against South Florida last weekend. Diggs and Long draw most of the attention in Maryland's passing game, but Leak has arguably been better than both in the first two weeks of the season.

Matt:Alright, we all know what happened last year, and even Holgo admits that Maryland is pretty much the same team that blew WVU off the field last season. However, WVU is decidedly not. I'm not one to go for the prediction question, but I gave you one for your article, so I'll toss it back to you. How does this all shake down on Saturday? What can Maryland do to stop WVU's run back to prominence and what weaknesses of Maryland can the Mountaineers expose to come back home with a win?

Alex: Maryland is a slightly deeper team overall, but I actually think West Virginia's going to win on Saturday. The Mountaineers have been uniformly impressive on both sides of the ball so far, while Maryland's been sluggish on offense. I think the talent difference in Maryland's favor is negligible, and WVU's simply clicking on a few more cylinders at this point than are the Terps.

If Maryland is to win, C.J. Brown will need to make a lot more throws than he's made in the first two weeks. I do think he'll improve, but West Virginia's defense has a good opportunity to limit Maryland just enough to grab a road victory. For West Virginia to win, they'll need to force Brown to make a lot of good throws. I think they can do that against a Maryland offensive line that hasn't been superb so far.

I'm on the fence here, but I have West Virginia, 24-21. It wouldn't surprise me if that score were flipped the other direction.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Alex abstained from the all-important Voltron v. Megazord bonus question, leaving Season Scoreboard for who would win in a fight at Voltron 1, Megazord 0.

Thanks again to Alex from Testudo Times for taking the time to help us preview this weekend's game. You can follow him on Twitter @alex_kirshner and be sure to check out Testudo Times for more Terp coverage.