Chris over at Maryland fan blog TurtleDroppings.com contacted SFN this week about exchanging a Q & A about Saturday’s season finale. We were glad to oblige.
Below are the SFN questions (bold) that Chris answered (unedited). Go here to see the questions SFN answered for Chris.
Talk about those uniforms.
The uniforms have been an interesting topic of conversation. Of course it was much more popular when you could win a game, but still, they have been a hot topic all season. Let’s start with the pride uniforms. First let me stay I grew up in Maryland, so seeing the state flag on a helmet was pretty cool. Sure it is somewhat tough on they eyes, but to break it out for special games, I am all for it. As for the other 32 combinations, I don’t know. It’s not like we have a traditional uniform that we have worn for 100 years. I am ok with changing, but I think all the combinations get a little overwhelming. There are some combinations that should never be worn like gold on red. It just seems the kids these days are really into this uniform thing, so I guess it could help with recruiting (god knows we need any help we can get). As far as the other two helmets go, I am ok with them both. I just wish the Terps were more known for the play on the field instead of what they are wearing.
Former Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow is quite popular in Raleigh. She understands this passionate fan base and recognizes the opportunities we offer, but she also appreciates the challenges we face to shift the status quo culture of the previous administration stretching back almost two decades. The general consensus so far is that she’s been exactly the leader we need. We know she was less popular in College Park, and her ongoing feud with former Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams is well-documented. In your opinion was Yow a difficult manager or an efficient taskmaster? Was your athletic department’s financial turnaround genuine?
Debbie Yow left Maryland in a terrible position. She claimed she was balancing the budget year in and year out. However, she was actually using money from years in advance to “balance the budget”. Now Maryland is on the verge of cutting several sports if they can’t raise $28 million by June. She is public enemy number one in College Park. Well, I guess that isn’t totally true because Randy Edsall and Kevin Anderson (current AD) are also low on the list of most popular in CP, but suffice it to say, there weren’t too many tears in College Park when she left.
As far as her style, I think she ruled with an iron fist at times. It was her way or no way at all, and that rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way. 95% of the fan base could be asking for something, and if she didn’t like it, it wasn’t going to happen. She just really didn’t care what the people that donated wanted. Maybe she learned from her mistakes at Maryland, but as far as I am concerned you can have her. Now, if we could only get Kevin Anderson to go back to Army!
Danny O’Brien looked like the Heisman frontrunner against us in College Park last season and was named the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year. He began this season as your starter but soon lost the job to C.J. Brown, then got it back before eventually getting hurt in your game versus Notre Dame. Tell us a little about your quarterback situation this year, and what we can expect to see on Saturday?
The Danny O’Brien thing really has me lost for words. I would have bet the ranch that he would have really improved from last year to this season. The new offensive scheme was not the best for him, but he just wasn’t making the best decisions, and forced some passes into double and triple teams. He is the type of kid you pull for because he really puts in the work. Both Friedgen and Edsall have said they never had a quarterback more prepared and with a grasp of the offenses they had. Just not sure what happened this year. He just never got comfortable, and it just snowballed out of control for him.
As for this week you will get C.J. Brown and his read option, which is dangerous when he can hit a receiver. The problem is when a defense forces him to throw, he hasn’t been able to do it on consistent basis. He can be dangerous with his feet, but he really needs to be able to throw down field more. Of course the receivers have had a serious case of the drops this year, so it can’t all be put on O’Brien or Brown.
Talk a little about the general consensus on the transition to Randy Edsell. He did a great job at Connecticut and was obviously a hot name when you hired him, but he replaced Ralph Freidgen, who was terminated after he finished 8-4 and was named the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year. It seems that he lost support after James Franklin left to take over at Vanderbilt (where he quickly put together a Top 25 recruiting class). You opened the season with a win over Miami but it’s been downhill since. What does the fan base think of Edsell’s first season and what does it expect next year?
To say he did a great job at UConn is a bit of a stretch. He had a career .500 record. Sure he built a program from 1AA to 1A, and there is no knocking that, but that one season he won the Big East was not enough to say he was great or he was really a hot name. Kevin Anderson severely overpaid for him, and we are stuck for awhile as Debbie Yow left Maryland cash strapped, and there will not be a buyout no matter how bad the Terps are. He does deserve a chance to build his program, but in the meantime, he is losing players left and right, and destroying any sense of a program we had. The fans have had enough of the “we are improving” or “you don’t see what I see” quotes and tweets without any sign of improvement on the field. There are rumors to be numerous transfers after the season, and things are getting ugly. Players call the Gossett Field House GSP or Gossett State Prison. So you get the drift that they haven’t embraced all his rules.
The truth is the Terps were 2-10 2 years ago, looking down the barrel of a 2-10 season this year, and things aren’t looking any better for next season either. In the DC market place where the Ravens, and Redskins are here, those kinds of seasons are not going to attract any fans that aren’t die hards. I really bet we will see season ticket sales plummet and some single games that have attendance below 20,000 next year. It is really a sad time to be a Terp football fan, and I don’t see any sign of things turning around really quickly. That being said, I never expected a BCS Bowl, or any bowl for that matter in Ralph Friedgen’s first year, so maybe he is doing something right, but I honestly can’t see what it is.
I really wish Franklin the best. Hind sight being what it is, he could have been the guy. At the time, I wasn’t sure how I felt about him. Of course when Mike Leach’s name is being floated around, you tend to shift your focus away from Franklin. One thing he was starting to build was some really good local recruiting ties, but Kevin Anderson wanted his guy, and Edsall and his militaristic style is exactly what KA wanted apparently.
Maryland is 11th in scoring offense and last in both scoring defense and total defense. You’re not forcing turnovers and your offense is keeping the defense on the field too much. Like us, you’ve been plagued by injuries all season. In fact, the team traveled to Wake Forest last weekend with only 60 players (72 are allowed to travel). Can this whole season be blamed on injuries or is there more to it?
Obviously injuries are a part of it. But, it isn’t the only problem. You can also put some of it on players trying to learn a new scheme. The alarming fact is the defense is getting worse. There is no sign of improvement, and Todd Bradford really seems over matched week in and week out. They can’t stop the run, they can’t stop the pass. They can’t tackle in the open field. So take your pick. Call it lack of depth and youth, call it a new (also bad) system, or call it poor everything, which is where I tend to lean. The coaches have to get some of the blame here. Sure the guys are young, but nothing changes from week to week, and you have to think they would start to pick up some of the things they are trying to teach.
Maryland has lost its last six games by double figures. With everything thing the Terps have gone through this season, what do you think their psyche is with one final, semi-meaningless road game left on the schedule? Do you expect them to run through the motions against us or step up and once again play spoiler to Statefans Nation?
I think they will come out trying to win. Once they get down, it will go down hill fast. If Maryland can somehow get the lead early and hang on, it may motivate them. The problem is they haven’t really been in a game since Clemson maybe. I truly expect State to run away with this one, unless they are a little to high on themselves after the big win last week. That is the only way the Terps compete.
Now, enjoy your Thanksgiving, and if you head on over to the SFN Forums you can discuss the Maryland game, the Elon game or just to watch a video of Mike Tirico and Deon Sanders promoting the new GMC Sierra.