Thursday, November 3, 2011

a civil conversation: with Turtledroppings

I was approached yesterday by a Maryland blogger with a beer in his hand**, and I was just about to throw my Zima at him when I realized the beer was for drinking, not for throwing.  It turns out the gentleman was interested in a Q&A session such as is traditional in the blogging community before a big game.  (Or even a little one.)  We exchanged our questions and answers, and I so much liked the idea of a civil conversation with a Terp that "A Civil Conversation" just became the name for all future Q&A sessions.  So despite the new header, this is familiar territory.  Game preview is on the way tonight (honestly, there's very little about football season that I like better than sitting down with beer on Thursday night with that day's football selection on TV, and writing the game preview.  It's a little ritual these days.) so to warm you up over the course of the day, here's some Maryland info, courtesy of Turtledroppings, to get you ready.

**There was no beer and no Zima.  This is the Internet, not a tailgate.

1. What is Randy Edsall's deal? Or more specifically, what is it exactly that Edsall's done to drive the Terps into a 2-6 record? I get the hardassitude not being very popular and some of the quotes, but what is the problem - or the difference from last year - between the sidelines on game day?

I am not sure what Edsall's deal is. I will tell you one thing, he isn't winning anyone over. He had a tough row to hoe as it was. There was a split in the fan base that wasn't happy Friedgen was gone, and the other half wanted Mike Leach. Edsall had people buying in after one game, and quickly wasted that enthusiasm with bad play on the field, and even worse quotes to the media about Friedgen and the state of the program. I think he needs to realize Washington DC is not Storrs, Connecticut, and that he better change some things quickly or he will never start to win anyone over, and that means empty seats, which ultimately was Friedgen's demise.

I think the biggest problem is he is trying to implement his system on guys who either don't fit that system, or do want to be a part of that system. If you look at the loses, we have been flat out beaten by Temple and Boston College (2 games we "should" have won. In three other games, we played poorly, had chances to win, and came up short (WVU, Georgia Tech, and Clemson). I think those types of things fall back on the coaches, either not being prepared themselves, or not getting the players prepared.

2. What do Maryland fans think of ACC expansion? First, the definite expansion to 14, and then, any possible expansion to 16? Who would be the Maryland consensus on who to invite to make 16?

Call me old school. The ACC to me was great with 9 schools. It was perfect, you played everyone every year in football, and had a home and home in basketball. I will say getting to 12 teams was the correct move, or else we could be in the Big East shoes. Getting to 14 seemed like a good idea as well. I like the teams they got. They aren't powers at football, but aren't pushovers either, and given the right circumstances, could be very good on a given year. And of course Syracuse and Pitt have top notch basketball programs. As far as going to 16, I don't know. I don't love the idea of UConn or Rutgers, and I can't see Notre Dame coming on board for all sports. And I certainly don't want them, if they don't want to join us for football. I need more time to think about who really makes sense. As far as the fan base goes, I think we could probably live with ND and UConn, but there are a lot of opinions out there, none (including UConn and Rutgers) that make anyone get too excited.

3. What's the story at quarterback? Who should we expect to see on Saturday?

Edsall said "he isn't going to change anything."  I am not sure what exactly that means and if that even has anything to do with the quarterbacks. I think O'Brien gives them the best chance to win, but his confidence is shot. C.J. Brown does bring some skill to the table with his speed, but his passing is still a work in progress. If he can even make teams have to respect the pass, he could cause some real damage, but with him in there, defenses kind of knows what is coming. They are both listed as starters on the depth chart, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Brown start, and O'Brien come in, just because Brown fits Gary Crowton's offense a little better. 

4. Going into the season, what were the expectations that Maryland fans had for the team? Obviously they haven't been met at this point - what would Edsall have to do to redeem himself?

I think last years team had a little inflated record because the competition wasn't nearly as stiff as this year. Our schedule is much more difficult this year. That being said, I think people could have lived with a bowl birth that allowed fans to travel via some form of transportation not known as the Metro. Not that we would have been thrilled with that, but you have to be realistic. New system, tougher schedule. I think 7-5 would have been tolerable. This however, is an absolute disaster. Edsall took a team with all the parts to be a somewhat successful team, put his touches on it, and now we are looking at a very possible 2 win season. In all honesty, even if he wins out, (better chance of me wining the $250 Million Powerball tonight) he has some serious mending to do with the fan base. It would be start, because right now, there are not many people in his corner, and he can use anything he can get.

5. Give FOV's readers a little synopsis of the Maryland defense.

Swiss Cheese sounds about right. I would love to say this or that worked, but to be honest, the only game where the defense really played well was against Georgia Tech, which surprises me, because we could possibly be one of the worst tackling teams I have seen in College Park. The other problem is injuries. All ACC Kenny Tate is out, and there is something like 5 freshman listed as starters. We also learned today, that David Mackall has been suspended for a violation of team rules. So you do have to cut them a little slack, because they are young and missing what were considered to be some of the better players on defense. That being said, Todd Bradford's system has been beaten all season long, and the players just don't seem to be catching on very quickly. I truly feel that if Edsall doesn't make a change at DC after this season, he is throwing in the towel on his career in College Park.

6. You're not going to wear the all-yellow combo on Saturday, are you? Or ever? Cause never would be good with that one.

We are going to look about as normal as we can look this week. The captains decided to go with the red jersey's, white pants, and white turtle shell helmet. I almost wonder if they are trying to get back to last seasons look. I think as close as we have come to that yellow on yellow look was against Temple. I believe they wore Black on Yellow. I don't know there are some combinations I really don't like, but I don't care what they wear. They need to start winning.

7. Game prediction?

I honestly think this one goes to the Hoos. The Maryland program is pretty low right now. The quarterback situation is up in the air, and the defense is not playing particularly well and the special teams are even worse. Last weeks game took a lot of the air out of the fans, and I honestly think if it wasn't the last game of the season, the crowd could very well be about 15,000. I just don't see them pulling this one out. Let's say something like 27-17 in favor of UVA.


Thanks are in order to the gents at Turtledroppings; as always, check back later as they will have the other half of the Q&A in due course, and I'll link when they do.  In that particular session, I lay down effusive praise for the offensive line, running backs, and defense, discuss the QB situation, get in some the trashing of the Big East that I've wanted to do for a little while, and slap a Friedgen-sized jinx on our training room.  Edit: and here you go.

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