Undoubtedly the Big Ten East is the toughest division in all of college football. But the Maryland Terrapins could still make some noise within that very same division.
Thomas Kendziora of TestudoTimes.com provided some excellent insight regarding the upcoming season as a whole, and more!
Josh LaFond: With D.J. Durkin entering his third year as a head coach, what is the vibe regarding his tenure to date?
Thomas Kendziora: Everyone knew when Durkin came in that he had a long way to go to put together a team that could compete in the Big Ten East. He’s recruited at a level that suggests Maryland is on its way, but the results haven’t exactly been there yet. The Terps rode an easy non-conference schedule to 6-6 in 2016, then knocked off Texas to start last season. But then their top two quarterbacks got hurt and nothing was the same; they finished 4-8. So fans are still unsure what this team is actually capable of right now.
Josh: It seems like the Terps’ have a good bit of talent returning and Durkin and company have been recruiting pretty well.
Does Maryland have a legitment shot to make some noise this year in arguably the toughest division in all of college football?
Thomas: I think of Maryland less as a contender and more as a potential spoiler right now. The talent is there, but a lot of the team (and the quarterbacks in particular) are still unproven. The Terps probably have a much better chance of having it all all coming together one Saturday afternoon than being consistent all year. But in the intermediate future, I think reaching Michigan State levels of success, with consistently good teams and the occasional magical up year, is what a lot of Maryland fans are hoping for.
Josh: Maryland opens up for the second year in a row with the Texas Longhorns, this time the Terps will have the home field advantage. Describe to us Maryland fans’ confidence level against Texas.
Thomas: I think cautiously optimistic sums it up best. Maryland won this matchup last year on the road, and now the Terps will technically be at home (playing at FedEx Field might soften that advantage). But the Terps were also 19-point underdogs last year and won’t be favored this time, either. So this isn’t a game to be nervous about, but there’s an understanding it won’t be easy to take down the Longhorns again.
Josh: After getting railroaded with injuries at the quarterback position last season, who looks to lead Maryland this year?
Thomas: We’re still a while away from finding out the answer to that one. Tyrrell Pigrome started the opener last year, then tore his ACL. Kasim Hill took over and looked fantastic, but tore his ACL before conference play even started. Max Bortenschlager started most of the rest of the season and looked like a third-stringer, although he had his moments.
Pigrome and Hill both seem healthy now, so it’s more likely than not one of them will win the job. Hill, a former 4-star recruit, is the betting favorite. But we might not know anything for sure until the end of camp.
Josh: Let’s wrap it up on the lighter side. I’ve asked the majority of those interviewed this, and I want to ask it to you as well. Give us three bold predictions regarding this upcoming season.
Thomas: I think Maryland beats one of the four Big Ten East powers this season. (If you asked me which, I’ll go Michigan State.)
I think Wisconsin wins this league and makes the Playoff.
And I think Arizona’s Khalil Tate makes a run to the Heisman Trophy.
These might not prove to be bold enough, or they might all go wrong. That’s why they play the games.
I would like to extend my thanks to Thomas Kendziora as well as all the other great folks over at TestudoTimes.com.
While this is only a preseason Q&A, it is still excellent insight into where Michigan’s opponents might be at in the upcoming year.