Edsall Opens Up

Randy Edsall opened up a little. No, not his offense -- we won't know about that until Saturday's season finale at NC State. No, he expounded a little more on some of his core football beliefs and why Maryland's 2-9 record this year may reap future benefits down the road for restless Terrapin fans.

Randy Edsall opened up a little.

No, not his offense -- we won't know about that until Saturday's season finale at NC State. No, he expounded a little more on some of his core football beliefs and why Maryland's 2-9 record this year may reap future benefits down the road for restless Terrapin fans. The Terrapins, who have lost seven straight games, including six straight in conference after winning the opener against Miami, have certainly had their share of adversity. Edsall, implementing more discipline and of the Bill Parcells/Tom Coughlin "one voice" coaching tree, has come under fire as the losses have mounted this year.

Those aren't the only losses, though. Of the projected 11 preseason starters on defense, only three have played in every game, and several have been lost to season-ending injuries. The Maryland defense has suffered accordingly, working in youngsters. Saturday, they'll have four freshman starters, and another two sophomores. In reserve, eight players are in their first year on the defense.

"I said it after the game (Saturday), anything that could have gone wrong this year, probably has gone wrong," said Edsall.

Offensively, starting quarterback and 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O'Brien is out with a broken arm, and now center Bennett Fulper, who had started every game until last week, is also out with a hamstring injury.

The Terrapins travel to NC State to meet a Wolfpack team that needs one more FBS win to reach bowl eligibility, and it's Senior Day in Raleigh. Oh, and the Pack is coming off its best outing of the year, a 37-13 thrashing of then-No. 7 Clemson, in which State forced four turnovers and had six sacks.

Maryland just hopes to snap that losing streak and avoid a school-record-tying 10th loss. It's a feeling too many of the Terps already know. They set that record just two years ago, going 2-10 in 2009.

"We've just got to keep fighting," said junior defensive tackle Joe Vellano. "Obviously no one wants to be in this situation. The injuries didn't help us at all but we've got a lot of guys coming back and lot of experience for the future."

Edsall, who has suspended a handful of players this season, and brought more discipline to the team, hasn't wavered. "If you never establish your philosophy, your foundation, your beliefs, to me, you can never be a successful program."

-- The injuries this season, particularly on defense in the new scheme, were more debilitating with the Terrapins' self-imposed sanctions that reduced their 20 practice hours per week to 17.5. Records indicated Maryland put in extra time last year under the previous coaching regime, and coach Randy Edsall reported the violation, the university agreeing to a penalty of reduced practice time this season.

"We talked about that as a staff, and going into the season, I don't think any of us realized how much of an impact that was going to have," said Edsall, who rarely makes excuses and only addressed this issue in response to a direct question. "Especially when you're coming into a situation and you're installing new systems."

-- Maryland's younger defensive players obviously could have used the extra practice work. The Terrapins rank 108th nationally in total defense (458.9 yards per game), 115th in rushing defense (227.6) and 97th in scoring defense (32.3 points per game). The Terrapins have yielded over 500 yards in each of the last three games.

-- The Terrapins lead the ACC in just two categories -- fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards. Maryland is fourth nationally in both fewest penalties per game (4.0) and least penalty yardage per game (33.5).

-- If NC State defeats Maryland, the Wolfpack will become the fourth team this season to become bowl eligible with a win over the Terps, joining Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest, which did so with a 31-10 win last week.

-- After ranking among national leaders in turnover margin much of the season, the Terrapins have dropped to tied for 27th with a +0.45 margin per game. Maryland has struggled there the last three games, though, committing seven turnovers and taking the ball back just three times. More bad news, NC State leads the ACC with 31 takeaways this year. The Pack's 22 interceptions lead the nation.

SERIES HISTORY: These rivals have split the last two games, both games decided by a 38-31 count. Maryland won last year at home to improve to 32-31-4 in the series. The teams have met every year since 1956, and first met in 1909. Maryland has won eight of the last 11 meetings, but the games have generally been tight.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Maryland had trouble in the red zone last week but did reestablish a running game. The 229 yards on the ground was the most in five games, led by option-savvy QB C.J. Brown's 110 yards on 13 carries. Now if the passing game would pick up to help move the chains on third down (Maryland is last in the ACC on third down conversions at 34.8 percent) then the Terps would really have something. Big week for a reshuffled offensive line against an aggressive defensive front.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Maryland held Wake Forest to seven points at the half last week before the flood gates opened. The defense hasn't strung together two great halves all season and they're about out of time. They talk about "fitting the gaps" but even when they do that, the tackling has been atrocious. Job One is stopping the run but that may be no picnic even if they're successful. NC State QB Mike Glennon threw for 253 yards and three scores last week against Clemson.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is our last opportunity and we're going to try to take advantage of it. We want to go out with a win. No one wants to go into the offseason losers. We're going to have a losing record and this hasn't been the season we wanted but we want to send the seniors out the right way, and maybe busting (NC State's) bowl eligibility would lighten the mood a little bit." -- QB C.J. Brown

Maryland at NC State, Nov. 26 -- The Wolfpack are playing for their bowl lives and Maryland is just trying to win a game -- any game -- before packing it in for a long offseason. The Terrapins' success may be in direct proportion to how well they run the ball, control the game's tempo and put pressure on the Pack, who have so much more to play for.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Terrapin offensive line, reconfigured a little this week, has to play well to establish the running game and keep QB C.J. Brown out of bad situations. The Pack feeds off turnovers. State also looks to have a big edge in special teams.

QB C.J. Brown --
Has more than 100 yards rushing in three of the last seven games and a gaudy 7.8 yards per carry average. Needs to be more effective throwing the ball to help keep drives alive.

RB Davin Meggett -- Meggett needs 82 yards to move into seventh place all-time in rushing at Maryland. Current New York Giant Da'Rel Scott is currently in that spot with 2,401 yards.

WR Kevin Dorsey -- Dorsey had eight catches for 77 yards at Wake but also had a fumble, a key drop, and a penalty that called back a TD. He needs a bounce-back game for himself and to give the Terps a chance on the road.

WR Quintin McCree -- McCree is playing his final game and he has been surging with two 100-yard receiving games over the last five contests.

DT Joe Vellano -- Vellano leads all FBS linemen with 7.8 tackles per game and he's looking like a First Team All-ACC selection. He's the heart of this team, sideline to sideline in pursuit, and don't look for him to ever give up.

DT Andre Monroe -- Monroe had a whopping 2.5 sacks last week and is starting to become a wonderful compliment to Vellano. Pick your poison on passing downs on which high-motor tackle not to double team up the middle.

LB Demetrius Hartsfield -- Hartsfield has posted double-digit tackles in six of the eight games he has played this season, including the last three in a row since returning from an injury.

S Eric Franklin -- Franklin is fifth in the ACC with 8.9 tackles per game and needs just two more stops to become the second defensive back to record 100 tackles at Maryland in the last 11 years. Injured Kenny Tate was the other one last season.

PR Tony Logan -- Unable to break a long return all year, Logan, who led the ACC last season has one more chance. He needs six yards to move into the ACC's top 15 all-time in punt return yardage. He currently has 782 yards in punt returns.

-- WR Ronnie Tyler, second-team at one of the wideout slots, has been suspended for his final collegiate game because of academic issues.

-- LG De'Onte Arnett, who has caught coaches' eye in practice, will get his first start Saturday. The sophomore converted defensive lineman has played in just one of the last five games.

-- LB Alex Twine, who was nicked up and missed the Wake Forest game, will be back on the weakside Saturday. A true freshman, Twine has started three games this season and is 10th on the team with 35 tackles.

-- C Sal Conaboy will get his second straight start over the ball. The redshirt freshman has stepped in for Bennett Fulper, who can't get over a hamstring injury sustained in practice last week.

-- QB Troy Jones, a walk-on true freshman up from the scout team, has supplanted WR Tony Logan as No. 2 QB behind C.J. Brown. Danny O'Brien is out for the year with a broken arm and won't make the trip to NC State.

-- RT R.J. Dill has the team's longest streak with 29 consecutive starts heading into the NC State game.

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