Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ATH Debate: Falco & Windsor on Terrapin Football

So we tried something new this week, as I remember how great it was to listen to Falco and Windsor go off on Maryland sports during their run on the Around The Harbor Radio Show on WMUC. I decided to pose my two compatriots a series of questions on Maryland football, to try to get to the root of what’s wrong with Friedgen’s squad as they limp to a 1-3 record going into conference play.

1) How do you explain Chris Turner's performance so far this season?

Falco: "Chris Turner is playing like as expected. He has an ability to play great games and terrible games, and often there is very little inbetween. This is his third year starting most of the games for Maryland (3rd string in 2007, earned the position with Steffy hurt, Portis suspended), and he has not progressed really at all in that time despite no competition this season. In Maryland's four games, he has played two good ones and two bad ones. Not counting Cal (they are ranked), they only game I really criticize him for not stepping up is Rutgers, as JMU and MTSU he played fine."

Windsor: "Chris Turner's struggles boil down to two things: 1) his offensive line is atrocious, and 2) he wasn't all that good to begin with. Chris Turner is not an elite quarterback, he's a decent college starter. But behind this line, the faults he has are magnified ten-fold. Tim Tebow couldn't win with this offensive line."

2) As for the defense, is it the scheme or the players?

Falco: "It some ways it is both. The defense is young all-around now with Nolan Carroll being out with injury for the year (he was a captain). The only guys with real experience are Alex Wujciak, Adrian Moten, and Jamari McCullough. Obviously changing to a new scheme is tough, and really, Brown's new scheme is hard to figure out. Brown is supposedly an attacking d-coordinator, but the blitzes and run defense don't look effective yet. All you need to know: all four teams that have faced us have scored at least 32 points against us."

Windsor: "It's too early in Don Brown's tenure to say it's him based on the MASSIVE loss of defensive talent. For now, I'm saying it's the players."

3) You both thought this team would do better than most people predicted- what has surprised you the most about the Terps so far?

Falco: "Two things surprise me the most. One is the playing of Chris Turner. He has not played badly, but for a senior quarterback with two years experience at the helm, he has not progressed at all. He has good weapons, with Torrey Smith, Adrian Cannon, and Da'Rel Scott, but with bad passing and bad playcalling from the coordinator, he has looked the exact same. Second, I never expected teams like JMU, MTSU, and Rutgers to be able to take primarily one-dimensional offenses and kill us. JMU is a passing team, MTSU relied on its scrambling quarterback, and Rutgers is a running team. In one form of another, a team we knew how they would try and beat us did it."

Windsor: "Just how bad they are on all sides of the ball; really the offensive line is the biggest surprise. I knew that this unit wasn't great, but Friedgen has always maintained a solid offensive front. The skill position talent is there, and that's what drove up expectations. But without a defense and without an offensive line, I'll be interested to see if they'll win more than one or two more games this season (tops)."

4) Is this team's performance indicative of Ralph Friegen's coaching?

Falco: "I don't claim to know how Fridge coaches exactly. This is by far his worst year at Maryland. Normally Maryland is a competitive squad in-conference, going at least 3-1 non-conference then going around .500 in-conference. I believe he does great with the fans and he clearly cares about the fundraising and local area, though this year his team's performance is not good, at all."

Windsor: "Not indicative of his coaching, it's indicative of recruiting. Where's the talent on the front lines? Nowhere. This is what you get for focusing too much on offensive skill players."

5) How many ACC wins do you think the Terrapins can muster this season? Do you see the potential for much improvement as the season goes on?

Falco: "Looking at the schedule, the Terps should be thanking the stars they don't play in the Coastal Division. They don't play Miami, UNC, or Georgia Tech. But they still have Virginia Tech, NC State, and Florida State to deal with. Knowing Maryland they can pull wins out of the fire, but I would be surprised if they do better than 3-5 in-conference. The fact is the ACC is stronger this year, and I don't believe Maryland can contend with enough teams. Possibly wins against Virginia, Duke, Wake, BC, and Clemson. Possibly."

Windsor: "One, and no."

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