(Note: I also did an earlier Q&A with Pete a few months back here at Maize n' Brew, which you can check out here. Enjoy!)
Randy Edsall recently did an interview with the Big Ten Network's Tom Dienhart where he said that his program would have been established in Year Two "if not for the injuries at quarterback." Is this accurate, or is he just making excuses for poor coaching?
I think it's certainly an arguable point, but it's hard to say how accurate it is. Maryland was doing quite well until the onslaught of quarterback injuries struck, but they didn't exactly light the world on fire last season. I guess it just depends on Edsall's definition of "established" -- would the Terps have made a bowl game that year if they stayed healthy at quarterback? Probably. But I'm not sure they could have done much more than that.
Edsall also mentioned that Maryland needs to get better along the defensive line. Would you agree? What other challenges roster-wise is Maryland facing this season?
I would say that's a strange unit to single out, as Maryland lost nearly nothing from what was a solid defensive line last season (their biggest loss in the unit was positional coach Greg Gattuso). Andre Monroe should be one of the top defensive linemen in the conference, while Quinton Jefferson has endless amounts of potential on the other side. There may be some depth concerns (rotational option Zeke Riser graduated), but they have multiple options up the middle and some solid players off the edge. Offensive line and the secondary are much more concerning on paper, but Edsall gets to see a whole lot more of the team than I do.
Imagine this title: "Randy Edsall, 2014 Big Ten Coach of the Year." In what scenario does this happen, and how likely is it? (Remember that one doesn't necessarily need to win the conference championship in order to get it. See: Bill O'Brien.)
Stifling laughter, I'll say Randy Edsall would have to deliver a double-digit win season for him to come close to that award. Maryland isn't exactly in a great position for that kind of honor -- a talented roster with a tough schedule -- so meandering to a bowl game would be considered par for the course.
Okay, time to talk some trash. Many teams are considering Maryland a weak addition to the Big Ten, at least in football, and are counting on beating the Terps as a near certainty. I'm assuming that as a Maryland fan you aren't likely to stand for such total bullsh*t, so who would you say that Maryland is most likely going to upset?
I think anyone who considers Maryland as a walkover this season simply isn't paying attention. The Terps have been improving each season, and will have a healthy, talented roster this year with depth and speed on both sides of the ball. If they can stay that way (healthy, that is), I think Maryland wins between seven and eight games this year, with teams like Penn State and Michigan on potential upset watch. I generally don't like signalling out specific teams as potential upsets this early (we just don't know enough yet), but I do think Maryland wins one or two games it "shouldn't" and I hear calling out Penn State and Michigan is the thing to do if you're in the Big Ten.
More trash talkin'. Maryland, or Rutgers? Who has the better team this year, and why?
It's Maryland, and it's not even close. The two programs are trending in opposite directions, and it's really hard to imagine Kyle Flood surviving much longer with the Scarlet Knights, considering their poor on-the-field performance and the complete disaster that has surrounded the school off-the-field.
Unless I am mistaken, this will be the first time Maryland and Michigan have faced each other in football since 1990. Does Randy Edsall get a signature win over Brady Hoke?
Michigan has defeated Maryland all three times the two schools have squared off, by a combined score of "a lot" to "a little." That may be the case again this year (Lord knows the Wolverines have the talent to run all over the Terrapins), but I do think that this year sees a much closer game than previously in the series. Brady Hoke hasn't exactly been a worldbeater in his time at Ann Arbor, but neither has Randy Edsall. It's entirely possible we see a terrible 20-17 game, but it's way too early to see who ends up on what side there.