Scott Greene of answers questions about Saturday

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Scott Greene covers the Maryland Terrapins for, and we exchanged questions with him concerning the game between his Terrapins and the Clemson Tigers on Saturday. Here are his answers to our questions.

Scott, Ralph Friedgen has a 6-3 overall record against Clemson, and has won three out of the past four games. Why do you think he and Maryland have had so much success against Clemson, even though in a lot of the games Clemson had more talent on the field?

Scott: This is a great question. And I think even a lot of Terp fans find themselves scratching their head trying to figure out how Ralph has been so successful against the Tigers. If you look at the first few years, there really wasn’t much of a disparity in talent and Ralph had some of the best assistant coaches in the country. As of late, the Tigers have had more talent and it has been most noticeable on the offensive and defensive lines. I was on the sideline a few years back when Clemson just ran all over the Terps at Byrd Stadium. To see the disparity in talent on the lines from that close up was really an eye opener. Having said that, I think the thing that has helped Friedgen maintain the edge versus Clemson has been several things. First is the defenses’ ability to keep the Tigers out of the end zone and hold them to field goals. And second is the ability of the defense to create turnovers against the Tigers and the offense capitalizing on those turnovers. These are two things the Terps have really struggled with in the last few years. When you lose the turnover, battle you are usually going to lose the game.

The Terrapins started Jamarr Robinson at quarterback at the beginning of the season, but injured his shoulder at West Virginia. Danny O’Brien has been taking all of the snaps and the Terps went 2-0. Will be see both quarterbacks on Saturday? Who will get the most snaps? And what is the biggest difference between the two?

Scott: According to Ralph, we are going to see both quarterbacks Saturday. Jamarr is useful in that he is a bit more mobile than O’Brien. While being more mobile though, Jamarr simply can’t make all of the throws that O’Brien can. In Danny O’Brien’s first start he looked fantastic, throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns, including a 68-yarder to Torrey Smith on a beautiful deep ball. Against Duke he didn’t look quite so good, with only nine completions and making some erratic throws. This is pretty much what you would expect from a freshman. Having said that, the one stat that should jump out at everyone and the reason I believe we should expect to see him starting Saturday is the fact that he is careful with the ball and does not turn it over. He has yet to throw an interception this season and that’s huge for a team like MD who can struggle a bit on defense at times and needs to really value the ball. He also has excellent presence in the pocket that you are just not accustomed to seeing from a freshman. He has only been sacked twice so far this season. I expect both will get a series or two in the first half, but unless Jamarr really has the hot hand I would expect O’Brien to get the majority of the snaps this week.

You look at LB Alex Wujciak, and wish Clemson had a big, physical playmaker like him in the middle of the defense. What does he mean to the Terp defense, and is he a vocal leader as well?

Scott: Wujciak is one of those throwback linebackers who doesn’t necessarily have the foot speed of some guys, but is an absolute ball hawk and always ready to make the play. He’s not flashy and doesn’t have the ability to make some of the plays that Adrian Moten does, but when you look at the box score each week you can pretty much count on him being the leading tackler. His decision to return to school this year has been absolutely huge for the defense. The Terps have gotten nicked up and have seen some attrition at the LB position and his leadership both on and off the field have been a tremendous advantage. He is absolutely one of the vocal leaders of our defense and he will most certainly be missed when he moves on to the NFL.

If the Terps were to come down and beat Clemson, it would give them a 5-1 start. What would the expectations be for the rest of the season if they get off to that kind of start?

Scott: To this point in the season, I think most MD fans have viewed the 4-1 start with caution. This is to be expected when you are coming off a 2-10 campaign the year before. The wins haven’t been pretty and most fans feel the Terps got flat out lucky against the Mids [Navy Midshipmen] in Baltimore. Having said that, I think if the Terps were to get off to a 2-0 start in the conference with Wake and BC left on the schedule and NC State at home to close out the season you have to start thinking bowl game at the very least and a win next week and you would have to think they would be in the discussion for the division crown and a spot in the championship game. Again, the key to this team winning is going to be as simple as winning the turnover battle, if they can do that they have a chance to be in almost every game they play.

Finally, you watch Maryland week in and week out. We like to do a little predicting on our site – give us your thoughts on a final score and a just a brief analysis of why you think it will end up that way.

Scott: There is no doubt the Tigers are going to be able to run against Maryland’s defense. The key defensively is going to be the ability to create turnovers. Adrian Moten has had an interception in two straight games now and I’m looking for him to keep that streak alive this week. On offense, the Terps need to establish the run early and look for the play action pass down the field to Torrey Smith. The X factor is going to be Tony Logan in the return game. Does Clemson kick to him and risk him taking one to the house? If they kick away from him, the Terps could be looking at excellent field position throughout the game. I’m looking for this one to be close throughout. I think Logan is going to break a punt return and either score or set up the offense within the redzone, and I expect the defense to create a few turnovers. These games in Death Valley always seem to come down to the last possession and being the homer I am, I’m gonna pick the Terps to win, 24-23.

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