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November 14, 2013

Know Your Enemy: Maryland

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Each game, we'll get the inside look at Virginia Tech's opponent by talking with the opposing team's beat writer. This week, we spoke with TerrapinSportsReport.com managing editor Scott Greene to get the inside look at Maryland.

1)How different is the Maryland offense without Stefon Diggs and Deon Long?

Greene: Diggs is arguably one of the top four or five playmakers in the country when healthy. With that said, Maryland's offense is simply not the same without him. With Diggs in the lineup, assistant coach Mike Locksley can draw up a quick bubble screens or short slant and Diggs is a guy that is elusive enough to break a few tackles and take it to the house. There simply aren't many guys, period, that are capable of making such plays.

Long is another receiver with excellent hands and is not affraid to catch the ball in traffic. The Terps have had some issues with drops over the last few weeks and it has caused the offense to stall on more than a few occasions.

2)After C.J. Brown had three turnovers in his return, against Syracuse, is it rust or is he still a long way from being a solid quarterback?

Greene: With Brown, regardless of what it is that's ailing him, coach Randy Edsall is sure that he's the guy that gives the team the best chance to win on Saturday. Is it rust? Maybe. But one thing we do know is this: Brown has simply not been the same player since he took a huge hit from Florida State's Jacobbi McDaniel which left him with a concussion. Prior to that play, Brown was having a pretty good season. The issues on the offensive line have only exacerbated things.

3) It's been two years in a row that the Terps have had a rash of injuries. Is it just bad luck?

Greene: Are the Terps' injuries simply due to bad luck? That's the million dollar question. Honestly, I've heard so many theories, it's hard to know who or what to believe. Some say it's the turf monster. Others say it's gotta be the shoes. Some blame the current strength and conditioning coaches. And others still just say it's karma from letting Ralph Friedgen go after winning ACC Coach of the Year. I'll just say it's probably a little bit of all of those things.

4) Injuries aside, what's the morale like with Maryland having lost four of its last five?

Greene: Following the Syracuse game last Saturday, almost every player that spoke with the media, to a man, said that they are going into every game the rest of the way expecting to win. These are big-time college athletes, most of whom are accustomed to winning. I fully expect each player to go out and fight as hard as they can on Saturday.

5) Who is the one player on either side of the ball that has to have a big game for Maryland to beat VT?

Greene: The one player that I would say needs to have a big game for Maryland to have a chance to beat VT is new starting left tackle, Moise Larose. He was put in a nearly impossible spot when previous starting left tackle Mike Madaras decided two weeks ago that he no longer had the desire to play college football. Maryland's quarterbacks got absolutely pounded versus Syracuse, and it's likely not going to get much better against defensive coordinator Bud Foster's stingy defense. As we all know, usually as the quarterback goes, so goes the team. And Larose is now the guy in charge of making sure the quarterback is able to thrive.

FEARLESS PREDICTION: Maryland has struggled mightily on the road this season versus ACC opponents, most recently falling to Wake Forest. During that game and since, they have lost their two best wideouts and starting left tackle. Lane Stadium is also one of the toughest places in the country to come into and pull out a victory, regardless of how good you are. I expect the Hokies' defense to come out and suffocate Maryland's offense whether they decide to blitz or not. Maryland's offensive line is simply overmatched in this game. Maryland's defense is capable of slowing down quarterback Logan Thomas and VT's offense, but they seem to have come back to life of late. The Terps compete early but the Hokies run away late.


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