BSD caught up with Chris Bixler, from the Maryland blog Turtle Droppings, ahead of the matchup this weekend in College Park. This should be the first of two Q and A's this week, as we should talk with Testudo Times later in the week.
1. First of all, welcome to a Q and A with BSD. Maryland has exceeded expectations so far this year, especially considering the 2-10 record last year. What is your evaluation of the season so far?
TD: I will be honest. Though the Terps are 5-2, they haven't exactly played well against the top tier teams they have played so far. That being said, there are teams they have beaten this year that they wouldn't have last year. The key is pretty simple. Turnover margin. So far the Terps have avoided turning the ball over( 3 of 7 overall were in the Clemson loss), and have forced a lot more turnovers than they did last year (+8 and leading the ACC currently).
2. How has the offense performed so far this season relative to expectations? Defense?
TD: The offense has performed ok to this point. The expectations were probably a little higher than they playing. The offensive line was a major question, and it still is, and may be the reason the offense isn't exactly clicking on all cylinders. Personally I think the running game should be doing better than it has with a healthy Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett, but they just haven't been that go to option for the team.
TD: Defensively, they might be performing a little better than expectations. They have given up a lot of yards, but not points. They have made some timely stops (see 4th and 1's against Navy, Duke, and BC late in games). The real key though has been the above mentioned turnovers. At times things look really good, and at times things look really bad. The key has been making the play when they absolutely have to.
3. What is the situation at QB for the game, is O'Brien expected to get the start over Robinson?
TD: With Danny O'Brien having started the last couple of games even with Jamar Robinson healthy, you never know with Friedgen. He might try to outsmart the room and start Jamar this week. I honestly don't think that would happen, but with Ralph anything is possible. O'Brien has come in and played pretty well. Actually let me say he has managed the games pretty well, instead of playing pretty well. He has kept the turnovers to a minimum and has done enough in the passing game to pull out the wins.
4. How will Coach Friedgen approach the game on Saturday in terms of offensive game planning?
TD: Against BC, he used a short passing game to cover up for the lack of rushing (43 yards rushing). Quick WR screens or bubble screens and hope Torrey Smith might be able to get deep once or twice if he is healthy. Maryland will still run to try and keep the defense honest since Wake doesn't have the best rushing defense in the conference.
5. Josh Harris ran for 241 on 20 carries his last time out against VT, how do you expect the defense to plan for him, as well as true freshman Tanner Price?
TD: If I had the answer for that I might be on the side line. I think the Maryland will force Wake to try and beat them by passing. Even though Montel Harris still ran for over a hundred yards against the Terps, they were able to force BC to try and beat them through the air. That plan worked well for most of the game, and I think it will be the same plan this week.
6. What is your prediction for this weekend?
TD: Even though it is homecoming for Maryland, it is not going to be a sell out. Despite that fact, they have been playing well at home, and getting that elusive road win should give them even more confidence. With the exception of the Morgan State win, the Terps have not really pulled away from anyone, so I am going to say the Terps win a close one along the lines of 31-27.