Previewing Eagles-Terrapins with the SB Nation Maryland blog Testudo Times.
Today we sit down with SBNation blog Testudo Times to talk Randy Edsall, quarterback injuries and Stefon Diggs.
BC Interruption: So Maryland is down to their 3rd string quarterback after yet another injury. What should BC fans know about Caleb Rowe?
Testudo Times: Well, we're actually not sure if Rowe will start or whether it'll be Devin Burns. It was Burns who initially came on in relief of Perry Hills and played the majority of the second half, leading two touchdown drives and a field goal drive as well, which is easily the most productive Maryland's offense has been all year. Rowe only got the call in the final thirty seconds, when it was clear Maryland needed his arm to move down the field. Randy Edsall's played this one close to his chest, presumably to make BC prepare for two very different quarterbacks. Rowe's a true freshman gunslinger, with a good arm and good mind but maybe a little too much confidence in himself at times. Burns is a high school quarterback who actually moved to receiver at Maryland, but he volunteered to move back when C.J. Brown went down. His arm is pretty much anyone's guess, but he's an electric athlete who can make plays with his legs. My guess is that Burns starts, for a dozen reasons that all point his way, but you never really know with this staff.
BCI: Freshman Stefon Diggs appears to be the most electric option on offense for the Terps. BC on the other hand has struggled mightily against all forms of offense. What kind of offense attack can we expect from the Terps?
TT: It really depends on who starts at quarterback, because the schemes will differ drastically. If it's Rowe, I'd expect Maryland to continue trending in the same direction they were with Hills at QB: toward a sort of mini-Air Raid, with a lot of early-down horizontal routes that get the ball to Maryland's athletes in space, stretching BC's defense out of the box to open up the power run game. It was pretty effective against State in the first half, with Diggs doing some serious damage with seven receptions, but Rowe has to have the arm to pull off those early-down throws consistently. Otherwise the defenders don't stretch out of the box and Maryland sets themselves up for some third and longs.
With Burns, expect something completely different: Oregon-inspired read option, all the time. They'll look to exploit Burns' legs and ability to make reads, and use that to open up a running game that went from invisible to dominant against N.C. State. Mike Locksley's been using this scheme since the mid-2000s and has added a lot of wrinkles over that time, so it's fairly unique and has a lot of pulling guards and the like that are absent from some other schemes. The problem is involving Diggs, easily Maryland's best player; he became a non-factor against State. They'll need to try to use him like Florida used Percy Harvin, with a lot of designed running plays and sweeps for him, plus bubble screens and short routes. No one, save Locksley and Edsall, really knows if Burns has the arm to do other things in the offense.
BCI: Maryland's defense has improved drastically from 108th last season to 11th total this year. Where have those changes come from, and how will they attack Chase Rettig and the pass happy Eagles?
TT: Two big things have changed: health and a new coordinator. Last year saw dozens of Maryland injuries, including to many of their most important players (they had games starting an entirely second-string linebacker corps). They're completely healthy this year, and the difference is drastic. Another big change is trading Todd Bradford - not-so-lovingly referred to as To Brafor around these parts - for former Dallas Cowboys coordinator Brian Stewart and his 3-4 scheme. I'm not sold that Stew is a genius as he appears to be (I'd guess Bradford was just really, really bad), but he's sensible, qualified, and competent, and after last year the difference is obvious. He isn't a blitzing mastermind, but he's coached this front seven up well enough to get to the QB without sending more than four or five. The goal is going to be putting Rettig under constant pressure, and based on their performances up Fil now I'd say they have a good shot at pulling it off.
BCI: Randy Edsall infamously said that Maryland was his dream job. And with the addition of Mike Locksley, what are Terps fans thoughts on his second season in College Park?
TT: Surprised and happy. Most thought the ceiling for this team was something like four wins, which they've already hit and look a lot like surpassing. Heck, they're two plays away from being 6-1, and that's with a true freshman at quarterback who was never supposed to see the field. Things may get tougher now that they're down to the third string at quarterback, choosing between another true freshman or a re-converted wide receiver, but from where I stand there still seems to be a good chance at a bowl game. That'd be an extraordinary turnaround in a year when it wasn't really supposed to happen. I don't know if that'd turn people into Edsall fans, per se, given that all he's really doing is digging himself out of his own hole to some extent, but it would certainly get everyone off his back. Throw in what Locksley's doing on the recruiting trail, and there is very real reason for optimism with this staff.
BCI: Okay prediction time. Will the Terps get revenge for the 2011 snore fest in College Park, or will the Eagles get their second win of the season?
TT: Apologies, but I'm going with Maryland, largely because I trust their defense and I think BC having no film on their offense is going to be a big factor. I'd guess Burns starts given Boston College's struggles defending the run, and that issue would be compounded by the lack of film and uncertainty throughout the week as to which is starting. After the State game he looks good enough to put up three scores against an ACC defense, and I don't know if BC will be able to do the same against Maryland's defense. Terps 21-13.
Make sure you stop by Testudo Times for all of your Maryland Terrapins news and opinions.