Questions from the other side: Maryland

This week the Minnesota Daily caught up with Andy Kostka from The Diamondback.

John Miller

Before every home game, The Minnesota Daily chats with a reporter who covers the opponent. This week, the Daily interviewed Andy Kostka from The Diamondback, the student newspaper at the University of Maryland.

Maryland is 3-4 so far on the season, what’s the general vibe of the football team? Is that record indicative how the team really is? Are they worse or better than their record?

Maryland football has a consistency problem, be it with its passing game or defense. In wins, its pass rush is imposing and offensive production explosive. But in those four losses, the Terps don’t bring the quarterback down, allow oodles of yards — they’ve surrendered more than 500 yards three times this season — while struggling to move the ball much on offense. So, 3-4 is a pretty fair place to be at the moment considering how Maryland’s played. And with the meat of its Big Ten schedule coming up, finding three wins for bowl eligibility will be quite a tough task.

Against every Big Ten team this year besides Rutgers, the Maryland defense has given up 30-plus points. How can Maryland stop the potent offense of Minnesota? Or can they?

I truly don’t believe Maryland can contend with Minnesota’s offense, particularly in the passing game against Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson. The Terps have allowed more than 300 passing yards to four opponents so far — Syracuse, Penn State, Purdue and Indiana — and quarterbacks Sean Clifford and Jack Plummer earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after torching Maryland’s secondary. The Terps have dealt with injuries in the secondary, with Tino Ellis out for the year and Marcus Lewis missing two games with a knee injury, forcing freshmen Lavonte Gater and Deonte Banks into larger roles. There’s been a learning curve.

Maryland seemed to land a big fish last December when they lured away Nick Saban’s co-offensive coordinator Michael Locksley to be their head coach, and he was the 2018 Broyles Award winner given to the top assistant coach. How are fans feeling about him in year one? Does he seem to be the right guy for the program?

Despite holding a 3-31 lifetime head coaching record before taking over Maryland on a full-time basis this offseason, there was quite a lot of excitement around Mike Locksley’s hiring, particularly because of his success as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Perhaps some fans’ expectations were a touch too high entering the year, however. He had minimal time to recruit for this season and inherited much of the roster, so I’m not surprised by some of the issues this year. I’ll reserve more judgement on if Locksley is the right one to turn Maryland around until after his second season, when he’s had more time to imprint his style on things.

What does Maryland need to do to upset the No.17 ranked Gophers?

I think it comes down to pass rush and affecting the quarterback. It doesn’t necessarily need to include sacks, but if Tanner Morgan has time to sit back and watch Bateman and Johnson run routes, it’ll be a long day for Maryland’s defense. Of course, the Terps’ offense needs to put together more this week than it has recently, but the potential returns of running back Anthony McFarland Jr. and quarterback Josh Jackson could be a big boost.

Best Offensive Player: Anthony McFarland Jr.

Best Defensive Player: Antoine Brooks Jr.

Under-The-Radar Player: Chance Campbell

End of season record prediction: 4-8

Score Prediction: 42-17, Minnesota