September 15, 2012; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall leads his team against the the Connecticut Huskies at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE
Randy Edsall was cautiously optimistic about playing West Virginia during Tuesday afternoon’s weekly press conference with the media. Despite being the clear underdog heading into the matchup on Saturday in Morgantown, Edsall does believe that the Terrapins will be able to keep the so-called “rivalry” game alive. It started on Sunday following the heartbreaking loss to his former team, the Connecticut Huskies.
“We’ve got a tough one this week, that is for sure…I was pleased with the way guys bounced back Sunday. I thought we had our best Sunday practice of the year,” said Edsall.
They will probably need all the practice they can get for this rivalry, as the Terrapins go into this game having lost the last six games against West Virginia. This team, guided by one of the best offenses in the NCAA, might be the best one the Mountaineers have ever fielded. Edsall still thinks there’s a rivalry, though the Terrapins obviously have to return some favors.
“We have got to do our part to get back on the winning side of the ledger,” Edsall said about the historic rivalry. West Virginia leads the All-Time series, with a record of 25-21-2.
Despite the running back situation becoming slightly more clear, with freshman Wes Brown emerging as the favorite for the starting job, Edsall still believes that all four running backs will see some time on the field this week.
“We have a situation where all four [running backs] could end up playing. We’ll see how it continues to play out.”
The fourth running back Edsall is referring to is Brandon Ross, who is expected back from injury this week after missing the past three games with hamstring issues. Ross won the starting running back job out of training camp, and is expected to be a very big boon for the Terrapins offense which needs to do more running and less passing.
Of course, it all starts with defense; and while Maryland ranks eight in the country in total defense (yielding only 227.3 yards per game), they go up against an offense that has wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. The duo are the only two receivers in the country who average double-digit receptions per game, and Bailey leads all receivers in receiving yards per game. Still, Edsall sees a lot of similarities between Tavon Austin and Stephon Diggs, and he compared the two favorably to one another.
As for the West Virginia defense, Edsall hinted that they may not be as challenging as previous defenses the Terps have faced. “We’ve seen a lot of different defenses in three weeks. This one [West Virginia’s] might be a little more standard,” said Edsall.
Still, that likely won’t make life any easier for the Terrapins offense, who have struggled mightily with both turnovers and excelling at drives. They are going to need to score Saturday for certain, because when West Virginia scores 30 or more points, they are 77-3 (since 2000). Here’s hoping the Terps can become offensive juggernauts as they were against Temple!
Injury Updates: Brandon Ross, RB, is expected to play Saturday.