Q&A: Terrapins under the Microscope

The California Golden Bears travel to face the Maryland Terrapins in an early morning start this Saturday. West coast teams are not accustomed to playing football that early. The Cal defense must wake up quickly and concentrate on stopping Da'Rel Scott and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Cal Spots Digest got a chance to talk with Jarrett Carter from www.stetsports.com about the Terps football team.

Maryland beat Delaware 14-7 then had a disappointing loss to Middle Tennessee 24-14. How has the coaching staff and team responded to the slow start? How will they avoid having a hangover after last weeks game when they face Cal this week?

If you check local media reports, the Terrapin coaching staff has chosen a more "positive" approach to the subpar performances of the last two weeks. There will be no personnel changes made, and there haven't been any media rants.

It's kind of a "we'll grow through it" approach.

And to the Terps' credit, they have historically played well against big-time teams after shocking losses, so I think the humiliation of Middle Tennessee will get them up for Cal.

The Terrapins offense has weapons. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Da'Rel Scott are explosive players. What has been the contributing factors to the offense averaging only fourteen points per game?

The quarterbacking position has not made the plays for them. They are running the ball very well, but have five interceptions to only one passing touchdown. Teams have learned that you can play up on the Terps, and the quarterback won't kill you.

Da'Rel Scott has touched the ball 39 times, but Darrius Heyward-Bey only has seven catches. Do you feel that Coach Friedgen will try to get the ball in Heyward-Bey's hands more by increasing the number of passes thrown in his direction and using him on more reverses or running plays?

I think Maryland will stick to what is working, and try to simplify the aspects of the passing game to feed off the run. They have a good tight end, and a versatile tailback.

The run will be the key on having manageable third-down conversions, which might be the Terps' Achilles heel on the season, as they have only converted 10 out of 25 in two games.

USC gets more attention than any team from the Pacific Ten Conference. What kind of team does the Maryland football program feel it will be competing against on Saturday when they face Cal?

In a nationally televised game, with Cal steady sliding down the scale on notable football programs, (Thanks, Neuheisel) they will look to score a huge win on the road against a team most folks across the country know nothing about. Maryland knows this, and they know they will be facing a team with good speed, and a spread offensive approach.

The ACC had huge losses when Clemson lost to Alabama and Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina. Miami is a very young team that should be very good in a year or two. Is the ACC putting to much emphasis on its non-conference games and should the focus be on whether or not FSU and Miami are taking the necessary steps to return to their elite level instead of trying to find a team this season that can bolster how the conference is viewed nationally?

The ACC knows it is no longer competing with the SEC, Big XII, or Pac-10 for national respect, so what teams try to do is to regain that national prominence with quality competition in the early season. Florida State is losing recruits to Florida, and Maryland is losing recruits to West Virginia and Penn State. Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Clemson are basically holding the conference together, with Virginia coming into that fold, but still not an annual lock for success.

How is quarterback Josh Portis coming along and can he be a player at the quarterback position that can help the offense increase it's scoring?

The Maryland coaching staff desperately wants to get Josh Portis in, but I believe that they don't fully believe in his passing ability and decision making. Word is that he's among the best athletes on the team, and could be in the mold of a Tyrod Taylor in terms of impact. But the Terps have other issues to work out before they can look at implementing a dynamic offense around a mobile quarterback.

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