Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blogger summer assessment: Maryland

Another one of our new annual opponents is Maryland. It looks like they will traditionally fall in the later part of our schedule. But we want to know about the Terps now! So I’ve asked Esquire from Turtle Waxing to continue the Summer Assesment series by giving us the inside scoop on his Terps.

1. What is the one thing that all the experts have wrong about this year’s Maryland team?

Turtle Waxing: One thing that is wrong in most of preseason publications is that star recruit Melvin Aleaze won't be making any kind of impact this fall because Maryland has rescinded his scholarship offer after the most recent in a long line of character and academic issues. The other issue that the experts have missed is the relative inexperience of the current assistants. After losing offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe and Defensive coordinator Gary Blackney, who were assistant coaches at big I-A programs before most of the current staff were even born, the current staff is fairly inexperienced. I feel like the new staff is more likely to be a liability than an advantage for this season.

2. Much has been made of Fridge getting more involved in the offense. It seems like an overly simple solution to me. If that was all it took to get things straight, wouldn't he have done so sooner? What am I missing?

Turtle Waxing: It may seem that way because it is an overly simplistic solution. Friedgen feels that he wasn't as involved in the game planning as he should have been and the departure of Charlie Taaffe has given him a pretext to take over the playcalling. If he had spent as much time focused on recruiting and less on glad handing boosters and fund raising maybe there wouldn't be a need for him to take over the playcalling. The game planning hasn't really been the problem. He also has indicated that he is putting more into his famously bloated playbook. That may be another problem since the current group on offense is very inexperienced at receiver and has yet to demonstrate a strong grasp of the old playbook.

3. Following two rough seasons can you guys get back to winning football?

Turtle Waxing: The jury is still out. Friedgen is clearly feeling the pressure of two mediocre seasons. This should be the most talented group of players Maryland has had during Fridge's tenure according to the recruit rankings and his own assessment of his program's talent pool, however few of those recruits has shown the ability to be the foundations of a winning program. Those that have, such as TE Vernon Davis and MLB D'Qwell Jackson, have left. Some recruiting miscues have left the team thin at a number of positions and forced players to perform before they were ready. Predictably the results have been spotty. With a very difficult schedule consisting of five road games against bowl teams and home games against Miami and Florida State I don't think Fridge will be able to return the program to a bowl game. Another bad season will stall recruiting and increase the mummers of discontent around College Park.

4. It is only August, but what is your take on the BC game?

Turtle Waxing: Maryland's road wins in the last two years have come against Temple, Wake Forest, Duke and an overtime win against UNC. Not overly impressive and Maryland hasn't beaten a bowl team on the road since 2003. A late November road game in New England is a tough place to pull out a win. The Terps of the last few seasons have not shown the mental or physical toughness to pull out a win against a quality opponent on the road. QB Matt Ryan gives BC an edge and the younger players for the Eagles should be seasoned by late November. I see an easy win for BC as Maryland's bowl hopes will likely be dashed by that point.

Go to Turtle Waxing for more on Maryland sports.

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