First, a programming note: posting will slow over the next five days for the holiday. We wish everyone safe travels this week and hope you all have a great holiday!
To preview this weekend's regular season finale between the Eagles and the Terrapins, we welcome the SBNation Maryland blog Testudo Times for Five Good Minutes.
In exchange, we also answered some questions for Testudo Times and they will be posted later today. Welcome!
BC Interruption: Eagles fans are very familiar with Chris Turner (having faced him in 2007 and 2008) but know virtually nothing about Jamarr Robinson. What can you tell us about him, and what current college or pro QB does he most resemble?
Testudo TImes: James Franklin, poor decision maker though he may be, made a lot of sense when he said that Jamarr Robinson should've been playing well before Chris Turner's injury. Turner is the superior QB, but with this wet paper bag OL, he was entirely ineffective. Robinson has literally all the physical tools to succeed: he's quick on his feet, can make guys miss, and has a great arm - he's been inches away from long TDs on more than half of his deep balls. The problem with his is mentally; he has trouble with decision making sometimes, and tends to get nervous easily, leading to overthrows and underthrows. When he has a clear purpose - like in a two-minute drill - he's tough to beat. He deals well with a thing like making two reads and taking off if the they aren't there, but he's not a pro-style, pocket passer.
Everything about him, from that hint of swagger and confidence when he's comfortable, to his athletic ability, to his slightly big windup, reminds me of Jacory Harris, especially the freshman version of Harris. Robinson needs more experience to fully match up with Harris and does't have Harris' talent, but that's a good comparison.
BCI: How did Da'Rel Scott perform last weekend after being out for five weeks with a broken wrist? Was Davin Meggett a suitable replacement for Scott, or did the Terrapins rushing game suffer in Scott's absence? Do you expect the Terps rushing attack of Scott + Meggett to have success against a BC defense that is very tough against the run?
TT: Scott was surprisingly great, actually. It's not very surprising he was so good against FSU's almost non-existent run defense, though; Davin Meggett's average went up in that game, too, no doubt partially due to FSU's weak front 7.
Maryland's running game most definitely suffered in those five weeks, but not particularly because of Scott's absence - believe it or not, there's a group of sensible Maryland fans that think Meggett is better than Scott, and they might be right. The problem has been the offensive line.
They'll continue to mix the two, like they did last year, and you might even see some Caleb Porzel and Gary Douglas as change-of-pace backs.
BCI: Maryland almost pulled out the win in Tallahassee last weekend. How were they able to hang with Florida State? Do you expect the Terps to be motivated to play in an otherwise meaningless regular season finale?
TT: Even I was surprised by how well Maryland played against FSU. A combination of three interceptions and FSU's poor defense kept Maryland in it; Jamarr Robinson had a career day off quick passes and Maryland's running game easily ran over the Noles. Really, though, that's not a surprise - FSU hasn't had a great defensive performance all year, and their freshman QB was due for mistakes. Maryland made the most of them, and almost won thanks to them. In reality, though, Maryland's defense was pretty bad, and that was the killer.
Maryland's motivation depends on how much the players like Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin. Neither have been able to motivate or connect to the players at all this year, so I'm not sure why it would change now. The players that really like Fridge or Frank might try to save their jobs with a convincing end of season win, but I don't think too many do. They'll fight because it's what their supposed to do, but I'm not expecting to see any emotion.
BCI: What do you think will happen to Maryland football in the offseason? Will the program buy out Fridge? Will James Franklin take over, or will the school conduct an external coaching search? Handicap the coaching search for us.
TT: If Maryland buys out Fridge, the only sensible thing to do would be buying Franklin out with him. The problem is that Franklin has a very long, very expensive contract, and if Maryland's anything less than certain that he'll do well, it would be ridiculous to put him in charge because the buyout would be gigantic. Right now, it's about $1mil; it would be $10mil if we tried to fire him after a year or two of being HC.
That being said, there are a couple of names that Maryland fans are extremely interested in, mostly Brian Billick and Mike Leach. Billick lives in the area, and Ravens owner (and still Billick friend) Steve Bisciotti is a Maryland donor. If he wants to get back to coaching, this would be a logical place to start, and he could build an absolute monster of a team with players just from the area by name-dropping Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Randy Moss, etc - all people he coached. There have been rumors of his interest, and his possible hire have Maryland fans dreaming of Pete Carroll-level teams. That said, they're nothing more than rumors.
Leach wants out of Texas Tech bad and would probably be option 1A if Billick isn't available, but his price tag might be too much. Other possibilities are(Richmond's HC), Charlie Strong (Florida's DC), Turner Gill (Buffalo's HC), and Ken Nuimatalolo (Navy's HC). Not to be too out there, but there's a reason all are minorities - few places are as racially aware as the DC/Baltimore corridor, and firing a black coach "before giving him a chance" wouldn't go over well. Billick and Leach could fix that up quick because they're charismatic, but otherwise, Maryland will probably need a minority coach to avoid a controversy.
BCI: While the rest of the ACC faces in-state rivals this weekend, Maryland draws ... BC. Do you like the conference annually force feeding a late November game between the Eagles and Terps? If Maryland could schedule any program it wants to wrap up the regular season, who would it be and why?
TT: Maryland has no football rival. We don't like UVA, but they have Tech. I hate Duke basketball, but have no emotion for their football program. West Virginia would probably be the most sensible one, but they have Pitt. We just don't have a rival. We could start up a rivalry with you guys, but Maryland and BC are kind of like the in-laws of the conference - the "real family" just keeps to themselves, so we just huddle together and commiserate. Unless there's a fight, on the field, I just can't dislike Boston College, because they feel like Maryland's biggest ally in the deal.
I'd just like a bye week, please.
BCI: Last one ... prediction time. Who you got in this one? What's the final score?
TT: Boston College 31-20. Maryland goes through the motions, except for Jamarr Robinson, who's fighting for his job next year. Robinson will run for a score and pass for another, but no one else gets involved much.
BCI: Thanks for joining us!