This week, the roundtable is hosted by the excellent Tar Heel Mania. Strangely, though, there is no pattern to the questions, unlike last week's fantasy obsession.
1. What player whom you were not even thinking about in August has made the most positive impact on your team? Conversely, what supposedly key player(s) has fizzled for reasons other than injury?
I'd have to say the most unexpected impact would be that of Demetrius Hartsfield's. We knew he would start, but we didn't know how much he'd give us defensively. After a rough few weeks, he's been one of Maryland's better players on defense, and part of a killer LB corps.
Davin Meggett has been by far the most disappointing player. It's pretty fair to say everyone expected big things out of him in his second year after a stellar and unexpected freshman season, and he's yet to have even one above-average performance, despite (maybe because of) the absence of Da'Rel Scott.
2. UNC’s performances, and in particular the two losses, have felt like the ghost of Carl Torbush is roaming the sidelines. What part of your team’s past, positive or negative, has this season drudged up?
Mark Duffner, anyone? You get the feeling Ralph doesn't have much of a plan with these guys, which is the same feeling you got with Duffner. Duffner's final three years (4-7, 6-5, 5-6) are probably going to be the area Maryland nestles into at the end of the year, too. I'm not saying Ralph's as bad as Duffner was, but you couldn't tell from this year.
3. Because this is the ACC, no team is truly out of the conference race yet; 5-3 can still win the division. Find your inner optimist, no matter how bruised, and tell us why you’re still holding out hope for your team. (This is NOT the best-case scenario question; rather, what your team has shown to indicate success in the immediate future.)
First off, they haven't given up. They're still fighting every game, to the end of games, and they're still having fun in practice and looking to win.
Second, both the offensive and defensive lines should start to improve. The young guys on the offense are gaining confidence, experience, and the unit is starting to gel. The same phenomenon is occurring on the defensive line, too, as that entire side of the ball starts to pull themselves together. For the first half of the year, those were Maryland's two biggest weaknesses by far; the Terps might ruin a season or two at the end of the year.
4. What remaining conference game not involving your team do you look forward to most and why?
You really didn't need "not involving your team" in there. I don't know if I'm looking forward to any Maryland game at this point.
I'm twisting the rules to this one, though, to mean a game that involves a conference team, for which I'd say Miami-USF. A battle of possible one loss teams with possible BCS implications combined with a geography rivalry? Yes please.
If I have to go with the full conference team vs. conference team thing, I'd say UNC-VT. Tech isn't nearly as good as they were ranked, and UNC is definitely capable of putting a great game together. I'm banking that they do it next Thursday.
5. Now for what Block-C would call the "shits and giggles" question. Offense in the ACC is…well, offensive. To solve this problem we’re putting four ACC offensive coordinators into Thunderdome, where only one man will emerge to smear a football field with his tactics again. Bryan Stinespring and John Shoop are shoo-ins. Nominate at least one more offensive coordinator (preferably, yours) and tell us why he deserves a 75% chance of doom.
Have you ever seen a Maryland football game? We possess the ACC's top weapon, easily, and we throw him the ball three times. We can't seem to get enough LaQuan Williams and Ronnie Tyler, the latter of whom can't catch a ball that hits him in the numbers, while Torrey Smith languishes in one-on-one coverage with no safety help. All. Game. Long.
I'm pretty sure James Franklin invented the run-run-pass offensive strategy, too. And we all know how that works out.
The only thing that scares me here is that his replacement as play-caller will be Ralph Friedgen, and that's even worse.