Q & A With Testudo Times

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

This week in our Q & A series, we welcome our friends from the state to the north and SB Nation's Maryland Terrapins blog, Testudo Times. Make sure to check out all the good stuff they do. Alex Kirshner, an author from TT joins us to answer our questions. In this Q & A session, we talk about the loss of Stefon Diggs, the hot seat of Randy Edsall and Alex makes his prediction for the game! You can also find my answers to his questions here. For perspective from a Terrapin, simply read below.

During the Q & A I refer to myself as GC (GobblerCountry) and Alex as TT (Testudo Times). You can also find my answers to his questions here. Enjoy, and GO HOKIES!

GC: As I'm sure you've been asked many times to this point, describe the impact of losing Stefon Diggs and Deon Long (and others if you feel necessary). Were their injuries, in a sense, a season killer?

TT: The season was starting to spiral downward before Diggs and Long went out, but their absences have been the straw to break the Terrapins' backs. Losing them has basically ended the Terps' vertical passing threat and made their offense much easier to plan against. Positionally concentrated injuries at cornerback and linebacker have been difficult, too; the Terps have actually played games without a single starting skill position player healthy. It's not easy.

GC: How has Maryland dealt with those and other injuries, as hard as they were to absorb, by your determination?

TT: They've dealt with the injuries by losing. There's no way around it -- the Terps started losing as soon as players started getting injured en masse.

GC: Talk about the evolution of C.J. Brown as a quarterback. Two years ago we saw a raw athlete who unseated Danny O'Brien, and though he was lost to injury, and has been out with concussion symptoms some this year, how much has he improved from the time he stepped onto the field as "the guy"? How much of that is a function of the options he had earlier in the year?

TT: Brown's improved this year on the whole, but he's been far worse lately compared to how he played against cupcake opponents at the start of the season. He's a nice dual-threat quarterback when things are going right, but when the passing threat is lessened by a spate of injuries to his best receivers, he doesn't have as much going for him.

GC: With the on-field performance of Randy Edsall's teams, now in his third year as the head coach, how hot is his seat? Granted he's had an unreal amount of injuries occur, but how much more time does that afford him if any?

TT: Edsall's seat is warming up fast. Just seven weeks ago, the Terps were 4-0, and Edsall was getting glowing commentary from all corners for having the program going in the right direction. But the Terps have since fallen apart for the third consecutive year, and that's not what the athletic department thought it was paying for when it hired Edsall almost three years ago. The thing is, though: Edsall makes a lot of money. I can't imagine they want to pay him not to coach.

GC: What do you make of the decision to fire Ralph Friedgen, the ACC Coach of the Year at the time of his firing, with what has happened since?

TT: I think Maryland felt that their ceiling under Friedgen was to be good but not great, so I understand the attempt at a perceived upside play like hiring Edsall, who was coming off a BCS appearance with Connecticut at the time. The decision hasn't worked out yet, but it's probably not time to pass judgment. Then again, if Edsall is fired, doing so gets easier.

GC: How do you feel on a personal level about leaving for the Big-10? What will you miss most about the ACC (if anything)?

TT: I'm relatively new to the university community, so I won't miss the ACC in the same visceral way a lot of fans will. I'll miss hosting Duke and Carolina at Comcast Center in basketball and some of those rivalries, but the university didn't have much of a choice in going. The Big Ten is a financial boon -- though, to what extent, we don't exactly know -- and I'm sure the Terps will build new rivalries in time. College sports are changing, and Maryland's been swept up in that tide along with the rest of the NCAA.

GC: Back to this game, what do you think the Terrapins will try to do against the Hokies defense?

TT: It might not matter. Maryland's best chance is to run the ball with Brandon Ross and hope he can find some holes, but even that might not work behind an offensive line that has looked very weak recently. They could throw the ball downfield, but the injuries have created a serious talent deficit that could make that an unpalatable option against an athletic secondary. Coordinator Mike Locksley is smarter than me, though, so perhaps he'll come up with something.

GC: On the other side, if you were Frank Beamer or Bud Foster, what would you tell them to do against Maryland's offense?

TT: "Guys, just don't screw up." Maryland's offense was a portrait of ineptitude against Syracuse last week ... at home. If the Hokies stay disciplined and don't let receivers Nigel King or Levern Jacobs beat them over the top, I'm having a hard time figuring out other ways for Maryland to score on them. Tech's defense seems to have a good matchup here.

GC: Is there anyone offensively that scares you for Virginia Tech?

TT: Nobody in particular jumps out, because Maryland hasn't been gashed by individual players so much as they've been worn down by entire units. But Virginia Tech has a lot of capable pass-catchers and Maryland doesn't have a lot of healthy starting cornerbacks (zero, actually), so I could see that being a problem.

GC: Since Diggs and other big playmakers are no more this year for Maryland, who should Hokies fans be watching out for (perhaps some under the radar or lesser known players)?

TT: Ross, the running back, and the receivers Jacobs and King are talented guys. They're not as explosive as Diggs or Long, but given the right circumstances, all three can be dangerous.

GC: Finally, who wins, by how much and why (and a final score if you'd be willing)?

TT: Hokies 49, Terrapins 21. Maryland looked done last weekend against the Orange, and I don't think a trip to Blacksburg is going to make things any easier.

Thanks again to Alex for joining us for the Q & A. For all the news and coverage from a Terrapin perspective this weekend and throughout the season, make sure to check out Testudo Times. You can also find my answers to his questions here. For all the Hokie stuff you could ever want, don't move a muscle. YOU'RE ON IT here at Gobbler Country.

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