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Enemy Intel, Pt. 1: Q&A with WVU beat writer Craig Meyer


Enemy Intel, Pt. 1: Q&A with WVU beat writer Craig Meyer

As Maryland prepares for West Virginia, CSN collaborated with Craig Meyer (@CraigMeyerPG), West Virginia beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for a Q&A to get a look Saturday's game from another perspective. The conversation will be in two parts, with Part Two published Friday morning.

CSN: With guys like Clint Trickett, Mario Alford, and Kevin White gone from the team that came to College Park and got a win last season, how is this team the same or different than what Maryland saw last year?

Meyer: There are a lot of similarities between the two, mostly because it's still a Dana Holgorsen-coached offense that's going to want to play at a certain pace and utilize a certain, pass-happy style. The obvious difference is that all of the faces in it, at least from a passing standpoint, are new. While there isn't a wide receiver with a prototypical NFL build like they had with White last season, the Mountaineers seem to have found a promising new tandem in sophomore Shelton Gibson and freshman Jovon Durante. Both players are ranked in the top 40 in FBS in receiving yards per game and though those numbers didn't come against the stiffest competition, that production has been a surprising development from a position that entered the season as a major question mark.

Schematically, the biggest offensive difference is at quarterback with Howard. As opposed to Trickett -- a traditional, drop-back passer -- Howard is more of a running threat, someone who excels when a play breaks down and he can ad lib. It's a Holgorsen offense, so most everything will still center around the passing game, but he clearly has a quarterback who is more mobile than any other starter he's had at West Virginia.


CSN: As far as the perceived rivalry goes, is there anything that Dana Holgorsen or any players have said this week that indicates to you that this still means a lot to that program?

Meyer: They've stressed the importance of this game quite a bit. Part of that could be coach speak -- hyping up any team that you play so it doesn't appear like you're looking past them -- but Maryland is undoubtedly a natural rival for them. The game has taken on a greater importance the past three of four seasons as their series with Pitt has been dormant and though there's going to be a four-year hiatus until Maryland and WVU play again, Holgorsen and others have been vocal about wanting to continue playing the Terps. WVU only has three non-conference games per season, but leadership at the school seems committed to continuing as many regional rivalries as possible, including Maryland.

For the program as a whole, there's also an important recruiting aspect to the game. West Virginia's a state with very little top-flight high school talent, so they have to rely on neighboring states like Maryland to provide that. Six players on WVU's current roster are from Maryland. Two players in its 2016 class, including four-star recruit Steven Smothers, are from there and in the past, the state has given it standouts like Tavon Austin. Playing this game, even if it's just in a small way, gives WVU a presence in Maryland and if it can regularly beat the Terps, they see it as a way to sell themselves to recruits in the state.

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.


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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time.