For this weekly column, the Minnesota Daily will interview someone knowledgeable about Minnesota’s next opponent. Kyle Stackpole, the sports editor for Maryland’s student newspaper the Diamondback, was interviewed this week.
Stackpole covers football for the Diamondback.
Q: What are some things the Terrapins have done well and what are some things they need to improve on?
A: Things they’ve done well: They’ve ran the ball really well so far. [Head coach] D.J. Durkin [is] using a bunch of different running backs. There are actually six running backs on the depth chart and he uses all of them. They rushed for 400 yards against Purdue and it’s been a pretty common theme. They’ve liked to run the ball. Perry Hills, their quarterback, can also use his legs pretty effectively. Another strong point, the first couple games, was probably their pass defense. Through the first four games, their defense had been great because frankly they hadn’t played anyone who was that good. But against Penn State, their rush defense got exposed. They had trouble containing Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley, so I would say rush defense has been a weakness. I think another weakness might be establishing the passing game because they have run so well [that] they haven’t had to pass much.
Q: Going off those six running backs, which of the six has been a standout so far?
A: I think the most effective guy has probably been Lorenzo Harrison. He’s a freshman from DeMatha, which is right down the road from the University of Maryland. When he gets the ball, he’s so shifty. He has the most carries and the most rushing yards right now but they’re still rotating everyone in. It just seems like when he gets the ball he can do a lot more than what other running backs have shown.
Q: How different did this Maryland team look when Perry Hills went out against Penn State?
A: It wasn’t too much of a different look just because, Perry Hills and [quarterback] Tyrrell Pigrome, they pretty much do the same thing. They both like to run and they both don’t rely on the pass too much. I think it was more about where the game was than Tyrell being in. I think Maryland being down by 17, they kind of let off the gas and it showed. I think that happened with both Hills and Pigrome, so I didn’t see too much of a difference.
Q: With Hills being listed as day-to-day, how much of factor do you think that will play for the Gophers game?
A: I think if he doesn’t [play], Pigrome has looked good at times. It’s just that it’s a Big Ten game against a Big Ten defense. It will be interesting to see how he performs. With Hills being a redshirt senior and Pigrome being a freshman, I definitely think there will be some kind of a drop off, if Hills didn’t play. How much a drop off? I’m not sure. We’ll see what happens.
Q: Running back Trey Edmunds fractured his foot and will miss several weeks. How Edmunds, to this offense?
A: He was one of the six running backs. He had a good game against Howard. He’s more of a power back so Maryland is definitely going to lose that aspect of it. It’s just one less running back Maryland has to use and one less look Maryland gets to use. So yeah, that’s what I would say, one less look. It weakens Maryland rush offense as a whole.
Q: This is an offense that has seen success scoring at times. What does this team need to do to have offensive success against the Gophers?
A: I think they got to run the ball early and often. Their rushing attack has been so good and I feel like they might’ve gotten away from it a little bit against Penn State just because they were down and they weren’t on the field as much. Their defense was always on the field. So I think they need to establish the run. Try to go down the field a little bit. Perry Hills, he’s been digging and dunking the ball off to his receivers, which is good to keep the quarterback in-sync. They need to throw the ball down the field to [wide receiver] D.J. Moore.
Q: Where do you see Maryland going the rest of the way this year?
A: I predicted in the preseason that Maryland would make a bowl game and they’re two wins away from that. I thought they would have put up a better showing against Penn State so that was disappointing for them. I think a bowl game still, 6-6 or 7-5 is definitely a realistic possibility. It’s going to be hard against Michigan State, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State. Minnesota [is] without their QB, I think that helps Maryland a lot, trying to pick up that win. Coming down to Rutgers and Indiana, seeing where they can get wins there. I think bottom line is still 6-6, something like that. To get to a bowl game in Durkin’s first year after going 3-0 will definitely be a building block for this program.
Speed Round Questions
Q: Final record for Maryland this season?
Q: Perry Hills on a scale of 1-10?
A: Probably like six.
Q: Maryland’s best offensive player?
A: Right I'd say Lorenzo Harrison.
Q: Maryland’s best defensive player?
A: Will Likely.
Q: Who rushes for more yards: Lorenzo Harrison or Ty Johnson?
Q: Who will win the Big Ten this year?
Q: Big Ten Player of the Year?
A: Jabrill Peppers.
Q: Heisman winner?
A: Lamar Jackson.
Q: National Championship winner?
Q: Score prediction?
A: 24-17 Maryland.