TT Writers Roundtable: Will Maryland build off opening-week blowout?

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Our weekly staff roundtable where we recap the biggest questions from the week that was, and preview the coming week.

Q: Not all of us predicted a blowout last week, were you surprised with how dominant Maryland was in the first half?


Pete Volk - I was. Randy Edsall was asked if this was how he expected the offense to run last year pre-injuries, and he basically said yes, in a best-case scenario, but with Long in the equation and everyone a year older, this could be the norm. So THAT'S exciting.

Dave Tucker - I thought Maryland would win easily, but was surprised the game was a blowout by the half. And it wasn't just offense - the defense was also very dominant. A refreshing change over 7-6.

Brendan Darr - I honestly was. I thought a combination of early season rust, an early start and the offensive line would hold the Terps back from blowing out FIU. I was clearly wrong. The offense is for real and can only build off that performance against a transitional FBS opponent.

Alex Kirshner - Yeah, I was pretty surprised. Everyone knew C.J. Brown wasn't Shawn Petty and the Terps' wideouts were better than the guys covering them, but I didn't anticipate that kind of knife-through-butter track meet. I also didn't think FIU was as terrible as they turned out to be. Funny thing is that it would have been way worse, undoubtedly, if Randy Edsall hadn't yanked his starters early.

Todd Carton - Obviously I was a bit surprised since I only predicted 34 points for the final. I'm not sure if the outburst is because the Maryland offense is that good or the FIU defense is that weak. Unfortunately, I don't think this week will be enough of a test to answer that question. I'm going to be a bit of a contrarian here and in my next answer. I'm not 100% sold on C. J. This competition was weak and he made some mistakes in the zone read. He made some great throws but he was bailed out by his receivers on several, too. And again, I don't think this week is going to prove very much.

Molly Geary - Indeed, I was surprised. Not so much with the 43-10 final score, because I did think that kind of margin was quite possible, but 40 points in the first half? I was definitely impressed.

Q: Who was your player of the game?


PV - I want to pick someone else because everyone will pick C.J. Brown, but I just can't. He looked excellent running the ball, his passes were crisp, and his accuracy was unbelievable. I don't care who you're playing, that kind of performance is astounding.

DT - Since everyone will say CJ, I'll say the entire defense. As Pete mentioned, their performance was overshadowed by rhe offense, but they deserve some love too.

BD - Almost a consensus with C.J. Brown -- as it should be. Brown was a star on Saturday and looked light years better than the player we saw in 2011. His progression will be the key to the season.

AK - Brown. His line speaks for itself.

TC - So I'm going to pick Quinton Jefferson. Seven tackles including half a sack and a TFL. The Terps are replacing some key players on the DL and and this was a bit of a question mark. Again, not the strongest competition but I was very encouraged by his play.

MG - Have to go with C.J. Brown. Yes, it was only against FIU, but he went above and beyond my expectations for him. He went out and made a statement, and now the question is if he can play at a high level on a consistent basis.

Q: It's early, but what is your biggest question mark moving forward?


PV - The O-Line will continue to be an issue heading into tougher games. I, for one, am not worried at all about Brandon Ross's inefficiency in game one, because it allowed Brown to do incredible things on the ground. Edsall described Maryland's offense as "pick your poison" - you can stop Diggs OR Long, Brown OR Ross. Giving up one to allow the other to have a fantastic game and lead the team to victory is an easy sacrifice, in my book. FIU clearly prepared for Ross and Diggs (who was fairly quiet if you take out the fluke touchdown), and Brown and Long made them pay. All four players do not have to do well statistically every game.

DT - Maybe running back. We were ineffective running, but was that because we couldn't execute or because FIU decided they were going to make CJ beat them? I'd just like to see a better day from our running backs, but the o-line needs to not allow rushers into the backfield, too.

BD - The running game. Whether it be the offensive line or the running backs, there could be a problem brewing here. It's been documented the running game worked better not in a traditional look. If that's the case, it's up to the coaching staff to find ways to get creative and pick up yards on the ground. Brown isn't going to run for 105 yards every game.

AK - The offensive line still has underwhelming depth and plenty of positional uncertainty. I don't expect them to get Brown decapitated against a team like Old Dominion, but there are plenty of questions there.

TC - It's hard to get off the offensive line bandwagon as a question mark but they fared competently against what was expected to be FIU's strongest unit. I'm still going to look for consistency from Brad Craddock before I feel comfortable in that aspect. His two FGs were very short and the first was a bit shaky. And there was that sliced extra point.

MG - I'm going to agree with Todd and say Craddock, because after everything that happened last season it really was quite discouraging to see him miss that extra point. Extra points and short field goals are obviously usually thought of as a given, so when your kicker isn't reliable in that regard, it can be a big problem.

Q: Can you put a percentage on Maryland opening the season 4-0?


PV - Call me crazy, but 70%. Maryland should be favored in all three games, and I can't really see a slip-up. Call it 15% for West Virginia, 10% for Connecticut, and 5% for Old Dominion.

DT - 85%? I just don't see Old Dominion, UConn or WVU being able to stop us on offense. I'd go higher if UConn wasn't a road game and if WVU was at Byrd

BD - I don't see a slip up, so I'll let Jessica Chastain handle my pick. "OK, I know certainty freaks you guys out, so 95%. But it's 100%"

AK - Give me 40 percent. They'll walk against ODU, but plenty of decent football teams have laid eggs at Rentschler Field, and even if they hold strong there, the Terps will have to play a still-mildly-talented WVU team in a neutral site. I get that both Connecticut and West Virginia looked putrid last week -- and think the Terps should be favored against both -- but I'm not expecting them to skate through both teams unscathed. Hopefully, I'll be wrong.

TC - Right now, I'm going to say 66.7%. This number will go up with a convincing win on Saturday. Teams that build confidence can get very dangerous.

MG - 65%. I think a 4-0 start is likely, but I don't want to get too excited yet just based off of a beat down of FIU.


Q: Finally, a prediction for the Old Dominion game:


PV - Maryland 56, Old Dominion 21.

DT - Maryland again dominates, we get to see more backups playing, and Maryland wins 54-13.

BD - Maryland 48, Old Dominion 24.

AK - Maryland 38, ODU 10. We'll see something pretty similar to last Saturday.

TC - Oh boy, My favorite part of the roundtable. The Mario Mendoza of predictions says MD 48 ODU 24

MG - Maryland 52, Old Dominion 17.
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