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Testudo Times Staff Roundtable: A look back at 2013 and looking ahead to 2014

Every week the staff of Testudo Times get together to discuss the biggest topics surrounding the University's two biggest programs.

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Q: Football season ended with a bowl loss, put a grade on 2013 as a whole (from signing day to the bowl loss).

Molly: All things considered, I'd give the season a B. The team played with a lot of fight and made a bowl game, and even if it wasn't the win total many envisioned I can't ignore the injury bug that struck again.

Alex: I'll call it a B-minus. The sturdy record improvement and having a healthy C.J. Brown was nice, but I'll always be a bit sour about missing out on full seasons of the likes of Stefon Diggs, Deon Long and Dexter McDougle. So many relatively simple things could have gone differently, and it's disappointing that they didn't, the seven wins notwithstanding.

Andrew: A solid B. Could have been better, could have been far worse. All in all I'll take it, and like I repeated to myself all through college: "Bs get degrees".

Pete: B-. The injuries tip things above a C, but a seven-win season was the bare minimum acceptable result this year. In year four, Maryland should have the depth built that the injuries should not be the same kind of problem, but we're still waiting to see what a healthy Terrapin team can do.

FlaTerp: C. I don't put much weight on injuries in general, and the only loss where maybe I could see the injuries mattering was BC. Wake Forest and Syracuse beat us on preparation and coaching; Clemson and FSU were just better. You could also chalk down UVA as a game we easily could've or should've lost. You do what you do, and injuries and other intangible factors are just part of the game for every team -- there's no excuses. With WVU down, there was an honest opportunity to go 10-3 this year and we went 7-6 instead with several bad losses. That's just not a good year.

Brendan: I'll give them a C+, I like the development in some areas, but not across the board.

Q: How does missing out on Jalen Tabor hurt the program?

MG: I think the biggest thing it hurts is where the "Stay at Home Movement" is at. It can't look good to other recruits to see the guy who has been actively recruiting for Maryland for the last three years go elsewhere at the last minute, and bad-mouth the school while he's at it. But hopefully we get a Damian Prince commitment that eases the pain.

AK: Molly hit the nail on the head, as far as I'm concerned. Look at this list, and it's pretty obvious that Maryland, as the only major program in the entire state, has to do better at keeping players in their own backyard.

Andrew: If this makes sense, I think getting him would have been a greater positive than losing him is a negative. One cornerback is not the difference between Maryland winning the B1G or losing 10 games. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have him on the team and had been counting on it for years. It hurts, but I'll get over it pretty quickly if we land Prince.

Pete: It hurts quite a bit, in multiple areas. It was a position of need for Maryland, as Dexter McDougle and Isaac Goins are graduating, and there's no one really close to Tabor's ability left on the board. But, as others pointed out, it hurts most in the reputation of Maryland as a destination for premier local talent. Damian Prince can help change that, but grabbing two local five stars would have been huge.

FlaTerp: It sucks. We need help at corner and Tabor might've been a starter on Day 1. We also need the headliner local kids to stay home.

Brendan: I'll defer to Pete here, but I know missing out on a local five-star recruit who had been tweeting things about staying local while having a twitter handle that acknowledges he's a tease probably could have been seen as a warning sign.

Q: Now that Bill O'Brien has left Penn State for the Houston Texans, other than James Franklin, what is the worst-case scenario hire? If any, best-case?

MG: I'm not too familiar with some of the other candidates so I'm not sure who would be worse-case scenario after Franklin. But I'm hoping its one of them and not him

AK: Other than Franklin, I'm not sure there's a lot of difference among the candidates in terms of their impact on the Terps. Penn State's a great university with a proud football program and deep history, and they were never going to stay down forever. They'll be a formidable Big Ten for most of the foreseeable future no matter who's at the helm. But Franklin, for reasons that have been hashed over many times before, could create a serious recruiting disaster.

Andrew: I don't particularly care, but I would love for them to hire Schiano because that guy is the worst. I'm not as scared of Franklin taking that job for two reasons. First, I don't think he will. Why would he want to leave a place with no expectations to go somewhere with both high expectations and tough sanctions. He has his pick of any top job and they are all more attractive than PSU. Second, I am not as enamored by him as many others. He took Vandy from a bottom feeder to...4th in their division. He is also 1-8 against ranked teams with the one win over the depleted Georgia team this year.

Pete: I think there is no real worst case besides Franklin, as there's no realistic situation that comes close to being that bad for Maryland. He's an incredible recruiter and has shown an ability to get those guys to play for him, and play well. Vanderbilt is one of the toughest jobs in the country, and there is a reason they were so bad for so long.

FlaTerp: The best-case scenario is easy: Randy Edsall. Worst case? Well, we've got a long track record of losing kids to Penn State and it's probably not ever going to change unless we start being a better program than they are. Franklin I don't fear as much as others do. They could promote Larry Johnson and it would be about as bad for us. PSU has plenty of talent at home to pick and choose from and I don't think Franklin is going to waste his time obsessing over ruining our lives if he gets that gig. They've got a much, much bigger recruiting footprint than we do.

Brendan: Worst case other than Franklin would be anyone not named Greg Schiano. Schiano is clearly the best-case scenario. Munchak, Larry Johnson, Sr. and Al Golden would all be somewhat bad in their own right.

Q: Thoughts on Seth Allen's return so far?

MG: Impressive. I'm one of the people who thought that Allen's value to the team was being overblown, but so far I'm being happily proven wrong. Just his presence does a lot for the offense, even if he's not scoring himself. Things definitely look more fluid and promising, but it's still early and neither Allen nor the team as a whole with Allen have really been tested yet.

AK: It's very much wait-and-see pending the start of ACC play, but it's hard not to be encouraged, right?

Andrew: I expected him to help the pieces fit a little better and he certainly has done that. He brings a lot of what was missing early in the season: shot creation when the offense stagnates, perimeter defense, leadership, and making it so guys can play their most advantageous positions on the floor. He's nowhere close to fully healthy and I'm excited to see what the team looks like when he is.

Pete: What he's provided so far has been kind of what I hoped -- allowed Maryland to get back into the flow of their offense. For the first time this year, the Terps actually look like they have a plan with the ball, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that they are now playing with the point guard they designed it around (for this season).

FlaTerp: He's been great, no doubt. I never really viewed him as the answer at point guard, but he is a good slasher, shooter and scorer and makes life tougher on opposing Ds. I'm with Alex in that nothing means anything until we start playing the ACC big boys. Last time we faced a real team (Ohio State) it was ugly.

Q: Prediction for Maryland's game vs. Georgia Tech.

MG: Georgia Tech doesn't particularly scare me, but I don't want to get ahead of myself on where this team is at now that Seth is back. The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 100 in Kenpom, so a small jump from the likes of BU and NC Central and a game that should be tough. I'm hoping GT will be looking ahead to their trip to Durham three days later. I'm going to go with a 70-65 Terps win, but it should be interesting.

AK: Maryland 63, Georgia Tech 55.

Andrew: Robert Carter going down is a massive blow to Georgia Tech. He destroyed Maryland last season and is the exact kind of player they are not equipped to handle. That said, Tech will probably win and I will cry. Whatever: MD 72, GT 61.

Pete: Georgia Tech's a very good defensive team, and a very poor offensive team. Maryland 62, Georgia Tech 54.

FlaTerp: Wow, we're a bunch of homers. Maryland 77, Tech 66.

Brendan: Maryland 67, Georgia Tech 62.

Q: If you were the University of Maryland and you could make a resolution for 2014 what would it be?

MG: As a senior who's yet to be able to put Maryland in her Tourney bracket, I've got to go with somehow find a way to be dancing come March. It's the kind of thing that would really lift the fanbase as a whole right now, too.

AK: The university is so big that it almost seems pompous to waste my only resolution on sports, so I'll go in a more broadly important direction: The university should do all it can to provide a top-flight education at the lowest tuition cost humanly possible. At the end of the day, that helps students and helps the state, which can only be good for Terrapin athletics and everybody who cares about them.

Andrew: There is only one answer: Win the ACC basketball tournament. It would be so freaking delicious going down to Greensboro one last time and leaving with the championship, the ultimate final troll job. If I had to pick between a 2014 ACC tournament title and a Sweet 16 trip I would take the former. I'm giggling just thinking about it. PLEASE DO THIS TERPS I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Pete: Let's do one for each sport and go with make the NCAA Tourney and sign Damian Prince.

FlaTerp: I'm with Pete - I really, really want Prince.

Brendan: Limited injuries for the football team next year. Well, as limited as they can be for football.