The good folks at Testeudo Times took some time to answer some questions about FIU’s upcoming matchup against Maryland? You can check out my answers to their questions here.
Cyrus Smith: Thoughts on DJ Durkin? Were you a fan of the hire? He’s a relative unknown in these parts so what type of offensive and defensive schemes will he be brining to Miami? At times FIU struggled with Indiana’s tempo. Does Maryland incorporate the same tactic?
Testeudo Times: Everyone has nothing but positive things to say about Durkin so far, myself included. He's sincerely a high-energy guy, and he's on his way to signing Maryland's best recruiting class in his first full cycle with the program. It's easy to look good when all you've had to do is play Howard, but, still, he looks very promising. He'll employ an eight-man box and a lot of press coverage, and alternates between 4-3 and 3-4. His offensive coordinator Walt Bell brings a really up-tempo attack, so yeah, this could be trouble for FIU if the Terps execute well.
CS: It’s not often we see a P5 team play a G5 team on the road. Is this something you would like Maryland to continue? Besides visiting one of the best cities in America, what other benefits comes from Maryland playing FlU on the road?
TT: My first thought is that Maryland should stay home when playing G5 teams, but this road trip could be good. DJ Durkin has made recruiting in Florida a priority, and a win down there could only help. Plus, two consecutive road trips to Florida (Maryland plays UCF in Week 3) could be a nice test before the Terps make some tough visits to places like Michigan.
CS: Be honest, do you really like Maryland uniforms?
TT: I actually do! There have certainly been some ugly ones, but I think the team has hit its stride in the uniform department. Gone are the days where Maryland would just paste its flag on one side of a uniform. These editions are more subtle, and I think the team has struck the right balance.
CS: What were positive and negative takeaways from Maryland’s win over Howard?
TT: The takeaways from this game were almost uniformly positive. Maryland ran wild, passed well and played good defense until garbage time. The only negative takeaway is that a game against Howard, an FCS team that finished 1-10 last season, doesn't give you a good barometer with which to measure the team's success.
CS: What players should FIU be on the lookout for on offense? What about defense?
TT: On offense, beware of the Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison at running back. Both have great speed, and are threats to catch the ball out of the backfield too. Wide receiver D.J. Moore could be a menace on screens, and might be the team's best athlete at the position. On defense, watch out for middle linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. and cornerback Will Likely. Carter excels at knifing into the backfield to stop the run, and Likely is a good cover corner with great speed. Likey didn't have an interception last season, but don't expect that to be the case in 2016. If he gets one, he could very well end up in FIU's end zone.
CS: What are your predictions for the game?
TT: I think Maryland wins, 31-24. The Terps will grab a lead by the second quarter, but this game will never be totally out of reach. If the Golden Panthers can play Indiana close for three quarters, that has to scare Maryland fans a bit.