1. Welcome to the Big Ten! How are you and other Maryland fans feeling about life in the B1G thus far, leading up to your first conference game in Bloomington this weekend?
Alex: Thanks for the welcome. The university as a whole didn't get the best response when it announced the move almost two years ago, but I've sensed people are coming around. The new league provides some challenges on the field but some great academic, entertainment and financial opportunities. Most understand that, I think, even if leaving the ACC means a bit of an adjustment period.
2. In four games, quarterback CJ Brown has thrown for 833 yards and six touchodwns, and is also the leading rusher for the Terps. How does having a dual threat QB like Brown help to propel Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley's offense?
Alex: Calling Brown a dual threat is easy to do based on his stats, but it's a little misleading. He's not a great passer. He can throw the ball well, but Brown's best approach is to run the ball out of the zone read and complete short passes in the open field to his best playmakers. If he can do that, the Hoosiers will have to juggle a lot of balls at once to stop the Maryland offense.
3. As I look at the stats from last weekend's game against Syracuse, I see that the Orange outgained the Terps by over 200 yards, including almost 300 more rushing yards. What went right in that game to produce an easy 14-point victory in the Carrier Dome, despite easily being outgained?
Alex: For one thing, Maryland had an 88-yard interception return and a blocked punt that set them up with quick points without really having to move the ball. The Terps also had a fumble recovery and a fourth-down stop not far from the Syracuse end zone, so the offense just didn't have to push the ball that far down the field. The Maryland run defense was terrible, though, so Maryland needs to patch that up going forward.
4. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was probably Randy Edsall's first huge get as a five-star recruit. Has he lived up to the hype so far with the Terps? And could we be seeing him in the NFL in the future?
Alex: Diggs has lived up the the hype. He's never had a premier quarterback throwing him the ball, but he's a playmaker in the truest sense of the word. I do expect that you'll see him in the NFL, quite possibly as soon as next year.
5. Speaking of Edsall, how do people Terrapins fans feel about him in his fourth season at the helm? I know the reaction among the fanbase and DC media was mixed when he was hired.
Alex: Edsall is a somewhat divisive figure in College Park. Maryland tanked in his first season, winning only twice, but has gotten incrementally better every year since. He does things his way, even if that means rattling cages and upsetting people, but people can see an upward path for the program under him, too.
6. Obligatory uniform question: How do you feel about the state-flag inspired Maryland uniforms that the Terrapins have rolled out over the past few years? And do you worry that Under Armour will have an inordinate amount of influence in the decisionmaking and direction of Maryland athletics, since founder Kevin Plank is a Maryland alum and large donor?
Alex: On the question about Under Armour's influence, I think it's fair to wonder about. I'm not privy to the athletic department's decision-making processes, but Maryland officials (including Edsall) just brim about Under Armour in a way they don't about anything else in public. The company and the school are intertwined for the long haul, and they mostly march in lockstep. That might turn into a negative at some point, but it seems to be working out these days. On the other hand, I do enjoy the Maryland Pride uniforms. In college football, teams need to either rock a classic look (like Penn State or Notre Dame) or move wholly outside the box (like Maryland or Oregon). The middle ground is just boring. Maryland and Under Armour have picked a path and walked it, and I think that's admirable. It looks cool, too. I'll never understand why people choose to get angry over out-there college football uniforms. (Love Indiana's helmets, by the way.)
7. I often think of Maryland as more of an NFL state, but with the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington [NICKNAME REDACTED] making lots of news for all the wrong reasons, is there room for the Terps to make an imprint in the Old Line State?
Alex: Sure there is. The Terps are the biggest collegiate program in the state, and it's a state that cares a lot about the sport. Success breeds fans, and the Terps haven't had a ton of it recently, which is obviously going to limit fan support. If Maryland becomes a top-tier program in the Big Ten, more fans will follow. The market is there to be tapped, especially given the toxic climate currently surrounding pro football and the Washington franchise.
8. Other than to IU and Bloomington of course, what other B1G road trips are Maryland fans looking forward to taking?
Alex: For my part, I'm excited about the trips to State College and Ann Arbor. Some of my best friends are located in those places, and Beaver Stadium and The Big House have always seemed like such great places to take in a game. I'd like to get out to Memorial Stadium, too, but it was unfortunately not practical for me to get to Bloomington this weekend. I hear from my high school buddy that it's a tremendous town. (Editor's note: Your high school buddy is absolutely right)
9. I generally like to throw in a basketball question to these Q&As, and I will ask one to you guys as well, even though Juan Dixon still haunts Dane Fife's dreams from 2002. Mark Turgeon has faced a very tough task in replacing Maryland legend Gary Williams, but he has yet to reach the NCAA tournament while at College Park, and like IU, the Terps lost several players to transfer last offseason. How warm is Turgeon's seat, and what are expectations like for Maryland hoops this season?
Alex: That's a several million dollar question. Folks were very excited for Turgeon's arrival, but there's no way around the notion that Maryland has badly underachieved under him for at least two of his three years. The Terps lost five players to transfer after last season, most of whom were pretty worthless basketball players, but a few of whom they'll really miss. They have an elite freshman class coming in this year, led by McDonald's All-American point guard Romelo Trimble, so maybe they'll be able to mix a bit of new and old and get into the tournament. There's a stunningly wide range of possible outcomes for the basketball program this year. It wouldn't be surprising if they were a top-eight seed in the tournament, and it wouldn't be surprising if they missed out altogether, again.
10. Prediction time: How do you see Saturday's game going? Can the Terps come into Memorial Stadium and get a victory in their inaugural conference matchup?
Alex: I've picked against Maryland each of the last two weeks, but I think the visitors win this week. The Terps were gashed in the run game against Syracuse, and I think Tevin Coleman is going to have a field day against them on Saturday. But beyond that, Maryland strikes me as a deeper team, and they've still been able to compete even while giving up a lot of rushing yards. Indiana could certainly win, but I'll take Maryland this weekend, 41-37.
Thanks for answering our questions, Alex! The Hoosiers play the Terrapins at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington this weekend. Kickoff time is 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the game can be seen on Big Ten Network.