We're big fans of Q&A sessions with opponents because it gives us a good pulse of the fanbase and who we need to be on the lookout for. This week is no different as we crossed paths with Ben Broman of Testudo Times.
1. We've been fairly consistent with our Q/A's thus far this season. Georgia Tech fans are interested to feel the pulse of fellow ACC members on the recent expansion to 14 teams. What do Maryland fans think of the additions of Pitt and Syracuse? Who should be the ACC's next targets, if any?
TT: We're pretty excited about adding a few northern partners. Maryland fans have always felt like northern red-headed stepchildren in the ACC, and moving the the geographical center of the conference from NC more to the DC area can only be a good thing for us. The ideal situation would be adding Penn State and another Yankee school, preferrably UConn, but that's unlikely; I'd still take UConn and Rutgers pretty happily.
2. Let's talk about Danny O'Brien. Tech fans have seen O'Brien play a few games this season on national television. What happened to the fairly accurate quarterback of 2010? Has he regressed or has the talent and/or coaching around him regressed?
A little of all three, but I'd say it's mostly coaching. Gary Crowton's spread scheme is terrible for O'Brien, who's a prototypical pro-style QB. DOB excels at dropping back and making reads; Crowton's offense is all about zone-read options and quick, read-less screens. What's made it really bad, though, is that O'Brien has lost all of his confidence; it's clear that he's inside his own head now, and seems to know that he doesn't fit the offense. His footwork has become choppy, and he's missing easy throws. There are some real questions about him right now.
3. Randy Edsall was actually a candidate for the Tech head coaching job back in 2007 but we think painful memories of his stint at Tech ruined his chances. He was one of George O'Leary's least successful defensive coordinators. Basically, we just want to know why the Terps did not hire Mike Leach...
Well, Kevin Anderson is a pretty straight-laced dude who used to be the AD at Army. Leach's ... uh, non-straight-laced ways may not have set well with him, as Edsall's militaristic style likely did. There's also a rumor going around that Leach showed up to the interview wearing shorts, dropped a few expletives, and was generally unprepared. Tough to land a gig that way.
4. BC, Wake, UVA, and NC State should be winnable games for the 2011 Terp squad. Do you think this group has the consistency and wherewithal to make it two bowl appearances in a row?
Frankly ... probably not. It's not impossible, but the Temple game has dissolved most of the faith I had this in team. And despite beating Towson 28-3, they played terribly all game. Basically, things aren't going too well right now. The offense isn't working and the defense has some serious holes. All four of those games are winnable, but they'll probably only be favored against BC and maybe UVA, and two upsets - both on the road - will be tough to pull.
5. Like Tech, Maryland had a single preseason All-ACC guy (Kenny Tate). How has Tate performed during his position transition? Who else should Tech fans keep a look out for in the match up on Saturday?
Not well. He's moved down to linebacker, and it fits him poorly. He gets swallowed up at the line of scrimmage by offensive linemen who can get five yards down the field, and he doesn't have the strength to get around them. The move has really taken him out of the game, and there's been a fan movement to get him back to safety.
6. We did an analysis of the decades last year and found that Maryland was consistently the most exciting game of the 2000's with an average margin of victory for Tech of just over 1 point. Is this surprising? Do you expect any 2006 or 2007-esque excitement? What's your prediction?
It's not shocking, given that the first matchup of the decade was the Novak field goal that goes down in Terrapin lore, so I think there's a permanent close-game status in our collective memory in regards to GT. As for the game on Saturday, the one thing you can say about Maryland so far: they have at least played to the level of their competition, both up and down. I don't expect this to be a total blowout, but I'd be very surprised if Maryland kept it within a score by the final whistle.
Big thanks to Ben and the rest of the Testudo Times crew. Go Jackets!