The Maryland football team has been pretty underwhelming this year, and things only get tougher from here. They are extreme underdogs on the road at Georgia Tech this week. The yellow Jackets have the exact type of offense that could give to the Terps' defense fits. To see if that's how it will play out, we asked Winfield Featherston of From The Rumble Seat a few questions about his squad. Here are his answers.
(Also see: Testudo Times' Q&A with From The Rumble Seat).
SB Nation DC: Maryland has been very strong on the ground this year. How is the Georgia Tech rush defense and do you envision Maryland having any success there?
Winfield Featherston: Defensive questions about Georgia Tech are toss-ups this year. Have we improved since last year? Darn right. Are we a strong, shutdown defense? No, we're not quite there yet. In the two ACC games the Yellow Jackets have played, they've allowed 128 yards (North Carolina) and 195 yards (NC State) respectively. Not horrible but not great either. Memory seems to tell that the big burly backs who lower their head and aren't afraid to lower their head have the best success against the Tech D.
SB Nation DC: The Georgia Tech offense has always been strong, but this year it's on another level. What has coach Paul Johnson done differently this year to make the offense so effective?
Winfield Featherston: Nothing, really. I've said recently that in his fourth year as head coach, he finally has his system and his players. The previous years' successes and failures were really accomplished with players from the Chan Gailey era. So success is coming from guys recruited for the system with years of experience under the belt. Y'all better watch out.
SB Nation DC: Maryland has not been strong against the run this year. Is Georgia Tech as good rushing the ball as I remember? Or has new success in the passing game affected their ability to run the ball?
Winfield Featherston: I'd venture to say that Georgia Tech is better than you remember. Here's why:
In the Paul Johnson era, the following points have been scored in the first 5 games total:
2010:: 148 points (losing record year BTW)
2011: 258 !!!!
This "new success" only makes it harder to defend the Yellow Jackets. Running is our bread and butter and will continue to be so. We're only going to pass the ball 10 times or so a game. Y'all just perceive us throwing the ball more because we are catching the ball more.
SB Nation DC: You have a pretty good idea of Coach Randy Edsall from his time with Tech, is there anything you're expecting Maryland to do that will give Georgia Tech any trouble?
Winfield Featherston: Honestly. Not really. Only thing I remember about 1998 is Joe Hamilton.
SB Nation DC: On paper Maryland looks overmatched. Do you see the game playing out that way?
Winfield Featherston: Of course I do! I'm drunk off the Kool-Aid! For Maryland to stay in the game, the Terrapins need to guard the flats and keep the A-backs neutralized, and hope for some luck that Tevin Washington can't get the ball to Stephen Hill or Orwin Smith. On the offensive side of the ball, Maryland needs to take advantage of the opportunities and when they're inside they 20, they need to score (unlike the Miami game) because Tech is going to move the ball regardless.
Thanks again to Winfield for taking part. We'll have much more on Maryland vs. Georgia Tech in this StoryStream. For more on the Terps, visit Testudo Times. For more on the Yellow Jackets, visit From the Rumble Seat and SB Nation Atlanta.