Guest Blogger: The Terrapin Nation
You would think that after a decent start things would be good down in College Park. But a lopsided loss to Clemson has Maryland fans wondering if another collapse is eminent. To get a feel for things, I've asked Scott from Theterrapinnation.com to guest blog this week. My questions and his answers are below.
ATLeagle: Friedgen threw his players under the bus after the Clemson game. Was it deserved? Do you think they will respond?
The Terrapin Nation: Ralph Friedgen's tirade was absolutely uncalled for. For several years now he has gone into a presser after a loss with excuses galore. He says they are young, he says the players have to make plays, he's always laying the blame with anyone but himself. On offense, while MD is starting a freshman at tackle on the offensive line and a freshman at quarterback it's still the responsibility of the coaches to put the players in a position to succeed and personally I don't feel they are doing that.
ATLeagle: Don Brown was known for his aggressive blitzing. Now in his second year, has he tweak his scheme at all?
The Terrapin Nation: Oh, believe me, Don Brown is still bringing the blitz package every week. Having said that, the Terps are really struggling with it, namely due to poor recruiting on the defensive line. The Terps get virtually no push up front on a lot of plays. Kenny Tate and Antwine Perez are one of the best safety tandems in the nation and Don Brown likes to bring them on blitz packages quite often. But like I said, they have a really hard time getting to the quarterback for the strip or the sack due to a lack of push in front of them. One adjustment that seems to have not been made that I think should be is to find a way to help the linebackers out so they are not stuck in 1 on 1 coverage so much with some of the backs and tight ends. As much of a tackling machine as Alex Wujciak is he sometimes needs help in coverage. I think running more zone would really help mask this deficiency.
ATLeagle: How much of a hotseat are Fridge and Franklin on? Did the AD change buy Ralph more time?
The Terrapin Nation: At this point the entire staffs seats are absolutely on fire. Friedgen did a tremendous job coming in and winning immediately at a school that had been terrible at football for more than a decade. But the results have simply not been there over the last six years. Since 2003 the Terps are a game under .500 overall and 20-31 in ACC play. The lack of creative play calling and a defense that gives up huge chunks of yards has also really turned off fans. Attendance has been abysmal so far this season. As for James Franklin I really believe he is probably soon on his way out of College Park. His play calling is absolutely baffling at times and the decision to bring Jamarr Robinson in for a single play on possessions makes absolutely no sense. He has been given the 'Head coach in waiting' tag, but I fully expect the Terps to buy him out either this season or next.
At this point Ralph only has one more season after this on his contract. So I think its safe to say either this season or next will be his last. To date, Kevin Anderson's claim to fame has been his hiring of Rich Ellerson at Army who is poised to take the Black Knights to their first bowl game since '96. I expect Anderson to be looking to put his own stamp on the program with his own hiring of a new coach. On top of that, Franklin's offense has not impressed and at this point he's associated with one of the worst seasons in school history. Factor in new luxury suites at Byrd Stadium and Kevin Plank and Under Armour wanting to see a winning program for their flagship University and I think it all adds up to a new regime very soon in College Park.
ATLeagle: What is your prediction for the game?
The Terrapin Nation: While the Terps had some problems on on special teams and struggled to move the ball or get stops at key times, they did outgain Tigers in yardage last week. On special teams I expect to see Tony Logan get back on track and have a big punt return at some point. I also expect the defense to show a lot of blitz packages facing a freshman quarterback. I also expect the defense to force a few turnovers. As long as the offense can convert a few of those turnovers and Danny O'Brien can avoid turnovers of his own I expect the Terps to come out of Chestnut Hill victorious in the first annual ACC Under Armour Bowl. Terps 27-BC 20