Dave Lomonico -- Maryland's offense hasn't really changed much in terms of system and what the Terps try to do on that side of the ball. Quarterback C.J. Brown still has weapons he tries to get the ball to in Deon Long, Marcus Leak, Jacquille Veii and Amba Etta-Tawo, and though they aren't as effective as Diggs, nor are they the type of game-breaker he is, they do have some skills and can come up with a big play every now and again.
What you lose most with Diggs is his reliability and ability to take the top off the defense. The other receivers have had consistency issues in terms of drops and route running, whereas Diggs made it look easy.
For Maryland to be effective, though, C.J. Brown needs to do what he did last week at Michigan -- use his legs. Fact is, Brown doesn't have the strongest or most accurate arm, and when he tries to be a pocket passer, well, the results haven't been pretty. He needs to use his legs to keep the defense honest and after doing so against Michigan, we expect him to continue moving forward.
Question 2. -- C.J. Brown is now the focal point of the offense. What did he do well against Michigan, and what are the biggest concerns for him against the Rutgers defense?
DL -- As I said above, he used his legs. He's a dual-threat QB, and basically what Randy Edsall admitted, was that they tried to dial back his scrambling a bit in order to keep him healthy. Well, it wasn't working, because C.J. Brown cannot operate as a pure pocket passer and have success. He's proven that in multiple games this year. For him to be successful, he needs to strike fear in defenses with his ability to run.
Question 3. -- Does Maryland struggle more when playing at home, or are those results simply a product of the strength of schedule?
DL -- It's a product of the schedule. If Maryland would have played Michigan State on the road like Rutgers did, the Terps probably would have lost just as badly. The Terps probably weren't going to beat Ohio State, Michigan State or Wisconsin regardless if they were home or away. They were fortunate enough to catch Penn State and Michigan in down years, and took advantage by beating them at their stadiums. These were significant wins for the program, no doubt, but PSU lacks depth this year and the Wolverines were lacking in numerous areas.
Question 4. -- What are your keys to a Maryland victory? Where are the Terps vulnerable right now?
DL -- Maryland has to establish the ground game offensively, with both C.J. Brown and the running backs Wes Brown and Brandon Ross. The Terps are most successful offensively when they use the run to set up the pass. Also, they have to control the clock and not turn it over. Brown has had a penchant for throwing ill-time interceptions this year, and as long as UMD doesn't give the ball away they should be able to stay in the game.
Also, UMD's offensive line has to continue to hold up. Rutgers' defensive front is underrated, and while Maryland's O-line performed well against Michigan, it's been shaky this year. Defensively, Maryland has been pretty solid across the board. The Terps just have to stay in their gaps, remain disciplined and don't get caught peeking into the backfield or over-pursue the play. Maryland is most effective when it limits big plays and makes opposing offenses drive the length of the field.
Question 5. -- Between the Ralph Friedgen connection and tons of mutual recruiting targets on both sides, has there been a lot of rivalry talk out of College Park this week? What would beating Rutgers mean in recruiting after already beating Penn State?
DL -- There's been some, but not as much as you would think. A lot of people are wondering what kind of reception, if any, Maryland will have for Friedgen when he returns, and how the Terps should go about that. It's been a big debate among alumni and those who loved Friedgen and those who were less-than-thrilled with him when he was at UMD.
As far as the game itself, I think Maryland fans realize this is not going to be an easy matchup, but there hasn't been much about a potential rivalry. There was more of that around here heading into the Penn State game, which Terps fans hope to create a rivalry with. As for recruiting, I'm not sure it will have an effect for either side.
What I'm finding is that while recruits recognize that Maryland knocked off PSU at PSU and Michigan at Michigan, wins and losses matter less than relationships, facilities, coaches and the chance to play early. No recruits have been enticed to jump on Maryland's bandwagon or flip to Maryland just because they knocked off PSU.