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Edsall Must Change On Field And Off In Maryland Future

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Edsall Must Change On Field And Off In Maryland Future

Posted on 01 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

As Drew Forrester has said here at WNST.net, Randy Edsall is going to be the football coach at the University of Maryland in 2012.

The #FIREEDSALL trend on Twitter is certainly alive and John Feinstein absolutely shredded the coach this week in the Washington Post, but neither will have an effect on his job status.

Despite a 2-10 record in Edsall’s first season with the Terrapins, Athletic Director Kevin Anderson has every intention to stick with the man he hired after firing 10 year head coach and Maryland alum Ralph Friedgen nearly a year ago.

He’ll be doing that for a few reasons.

The first of those reasons is because no one is fairly considering how significant a role injuries played in the team’s downfall. The team was decimated by injuries throughout the season, forcing defensive coordinator Todd Bradford to turn to a number of redshirt and even true freshmen throughout the season. Competing for an ACC Championship was a tough task to begin with, but nearly impossible as injuries mounted.

It of course doesn’t forgive the nature of how the team finished with just one win over an opponent at the FBS level (their season opening Labor Day victory over a depleted Miami squad), but it has to be considered.

Another of the reasons why Edsall will return is well known. Maryland is in a LOT of financial trouble at the moment. The athletic department is on the verge of cutting eight varsity teams due to financial issues and has admitted that the football program must generate more money to sustain the 17 programs that will remain. With Edsall only one year into a six year deal worth $12 million, Maryland does not have the financial ability to get out from under such a costly deal.

The notion that Under Armour CEO/Maryland alum Kevin Plank could pony up the $10 million necessary to buy out Edsall is preposterous. Plank has become one of the most successful businessmen on the face of the planet buy making good decisions. Giving away $10 million wouldn’t qualify as such a thing.

(Just to inject here. There have been some rumors that Edsall would be a candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars opening after the team fired Jack Del Rio. I think we can move on from those rumors about as quickly as they appeared.)

But money and injuries are not the only reasons why Randy Edsall will remain as the school’s football coach. The more significant reason why Edsall will not be let go by the school is because coaches who receive six year deals just aren’t dismissed after one season.

When Anderson hired Edsall away from the University of Connecticut, he absolutely did not tell him “if you leave the Huskies, you’ll have one year to make things work in College Park.”

Had Anderson done such a thing, Edsall’s response would have been something along the lines of “I would never leave UConn. UConn is my dream job.”

It’s safe to say that when hiring Edsall, Anderson made it clear the former Connecticut coach would be able to build his program as necessary, despite the success the team celebrated (nine wins including a Military Bowl victory, ACC Rookie of the Year in QB Danny O’Brien) the season before his arrival.

As Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant pointed out this week, there were reasons to believe Edsall’s reputation in Storrs exceeded his actual accomplishments. During an appearance on “The Reality Check” Wednesday on AM1570 WNST.net, Jacobs referred to something he had written in January just after Edsall’s departure from the area…

There was something unnervingly self-serving in Randy Edsall’s words in the month leading up to his BCS Bowl spanking. As he talked about all the milestones the program has reached since the days of working out of the trailers, Edsall wondered if there were any more notches in the belt he could cut at UConn.

The answer to Edsall’s question about notches in the belt, of course, was there were plenty left. And we’re not talking pie-in-the-sky national title. For starters, how about an outright Big East championship? Or how about getting to a BCS Bowl game where you aren’t automatically penciled in as a hopeless underdog the moment you qualify for it.”

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Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

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Take A Good Look At The 15-7-0, It’s On A Boat!

Posted on 14 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship? The Towson University football team is a win away from a CAA Championship.

Terrance West ran for 265 freaking yards as the Tigers beat the New Hampshire Wildcats Saturday. They’re now a win over Rhode Island next week away from claiming the CAA title…

This can’t be right, can it?

2. Tom Brady hasn’t lost three straight games since 2002. Holy hell.

I don’t know what’s more embarrassing for New York Jets fans-the fact that Mark Sanchez was eaten alive by some dude named Rob Nankovich or that Deion Branch owned Fireman Ed after catching a touchdown…

Rob effing Nankovich. A dude named Rob Nankovich just played hero for the New England Patriots. Maybe Bill Belichick really is better than the rest of us.

3. Still think the San Francisco 49ers haven’t proved themselves?

It’s crazy how much the Niners are different under Jim Harbaugh. Justin Smith is playing like a Defensive Player of the Year, Carlos Rogers is playing like a capable National Football League cornerback and Alex Smith…wait, Alex Smith is still playing semi-respectable football? No way…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfX7gbCnlRg

I’m trying to put a Ravens-related spin on some of the things in the 15-7-0 this week. For example, the 49ers are a GOOD team, so when they play the Ravens on Thanksgiving we can be certain the Ravens will win, right?

4. Brandon Weeden was brilliant and Kansas State/Texas A&M was incredible. Ladies and gentleman, your weekend in the Big 12.

After a big performance in Oklahoma State’s rout of Texas Tech Saturday, Weeden’s Cowboys are now two wins away from the BCS Championship Game…

The Wildcats and Aggies played a four overtime thriller IN Manhattan. It was way more fun to watch than the game I was at Saturday night…

5. After a disastrous week for everyone at Penn State, almost everything that happened Saturday in Happy Valley was positive.

The Nittany Lions fell short against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but this pre-game moment will probably be more memorable…

Elsewhere in the Big Ten…you know there wasn’t all that much going on elsewhere in the Big Ten. Well, Goldy Gopher DID attempt to frog splash Bucky Badger through a table; but not much else.

bigten

6. The Dallas Cowboys might have just put more points on the Buffalo Bills.

Let me get this straight. The Cowboys beat the Bills 44-7 and after the game the only thing anyone was talking about was the ONE Bills TD???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6WvmOGoZ2E

The story is that Bills WR David Nelson caught a TD and then gave the ball to his girlfriend Kelsi Reich, who is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. This is a fantastic reason for me to post a picture of Kelsi Reich…

kelsir

7. The Chicago Bears defense scored more fantasy points than a number of quarterbacks this weekend. 

Included in the Bears’ huge NFC North win was (inexplicably) ANOTHER punt return TD for Devin Hester…

What’s the worse idea? Predicting the Orioles will sign a significant free agent or kicking the ball to Devin Hester?

With things clearly not going their way, the Detroit Lions started fighting with the Bears. It’s weird because nothing about the team made me think they’d do something like that for no reason.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqyyZDR1kxA

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Insult, Injury, Embarrassment to Go Around After Notre Dame Crushes Maryland

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Insult, Injury, Embarrassment to Go Around After Notre Dame Crushes Maryland

Posted on 13 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

LANDOVER, Md. — The University of Maryland Terrapins went through the motions lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 45-21 Saturday night at FedEx Field.

The good news (for me) is that I won’t be attending another Maryland football game this season.

That’s where the good news ends.

This isn’t the final game on the schedule for the Terps (2-8, 1-5) this season, but I’ll guess it will be the final time I offer more than a handful of words to discuss them. I’ll imagine most of you can understand.

I remember back in August I had a thought that the team’s visit to North Carolina State November 26 could have ACC Championship implications. I remember thinking that with the Baltimore Ravens set to host the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night I would have my weekend free and perhaps a trip to Raleigh would be in order.

As you’d assume, I have no travel plans for my Turkey Day weekend.

I’ve paid my dues. I’ve showed up for every game the Terps have played this season in the state of Maryland. The first game (Miami) was fun. The second half of the second game (West Virginia) was fun too. There was no more fun to be had this season.

I don’t write this in hopes to illicit sympathy from anyone. I write it because I know I’m not the only one who has suffered through the misery of Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park.

There’s no way of polishing this. No lipstick here can make this not look like a pig. Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park has been an unparalleled mess.

That would probably be an appropriate way to describe Maryland’s effort against the Irish (7-3) Saturday night as well.

“We’ve got to tackle better, get off on third down, (we’ve) got to make third downs, we can’t drop the ball” Edsall said after the loss, but even that probably couldn’t fully describe the effort.

After inheriting a team that finished with nine wins (including a Military Bowl triumph) a season ago, Edsall’s Terrapins (with aide of significant injury) have been unthinkably impossible to watch in 2011. Not only has the team struggled to win games, they’ve failed to maintain relevance. Not even the return to the buzzworthy Under Armour “PRIDE” uniforms could generate interest Saturday night, as the 70,251 fans who packed the home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins Saturday night overwhelmingly backed the home team.

The home team wasn’t Maryland. The team from South Bend, Indiana played that role Saturday night.

It isn’t so far-fetched to have thought Maryland would struggle after their transition from former coach Ralph Friedgen to Edsall. Many first year coaches are forced to establish roots before they can find future success. There was hope Maryland wouldn’t experience those types of growing pains as they returned the ACC Rookie of the Year (QB Danny O’Brien) and many of the players who experienced a victorious postseason one year earlier.

The best the Terrapins can hope for at this point would be a 4-8 finish (3-5 ACC), but a 2-10 (1-7 ACC) finish appears more likely with trips to Wake Forest and NC State left on the season.

Making things worse for a team that has been awful is the unwatchable nature of the games they’ve played in the past month. Instead of growing as a team during the course of the season, this team appears to have taken significant steps in the opposite direction.

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O’Brien Not Thinking About Future After Another Maryland Loss

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O’Brien Not Thinking About Future After Another Maryland Loss

Posted on 05 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In case you missed it (and I have a hunch that says many of you did), the University of Maryland football team lost 31-13 to to the University of Virginia Saturday at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The Terrapins (2-7, 1-5 ACC) appeared out of sync and lacked composure while the Cavaliers (6-3, 3-2 ACC) were opportunistic and balanced.

There were a number of empty seats throughout the stadium despite the Senior Day festivities, fans in attendance were heard booing and some even began chants of “Fire Edsall.” Those fans were voicing their displeasure at the fact that the loss eliminated the team’s chances of reaching bowl eligibility in their first season under new head coach Randy Edsall.

It was another brutal Saturday in a season of brutal Saturdays for this Terps team, decimated by injuries and lackluster play after a 9-4 campaign a season ago and the firing of popular long-term head coach Ralph Friedgen.

In the certain of the season-long disappointment has been sophomore quarterback Danny O’Brien, the reigning ACC Rookie of the Year. O’Brien came into the season with lofty expectations, labeled by some as a potential dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate. Instead of performing at that level, O’Brien has struggled to fit new Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton’s scheme, dealt with drops from receivers and has been forced to split time with fellow sophomore CJ Brown.

In Saturday’s loss, O’Brien started the game before giving way to Brown in the second quarter. The two then (mostly) alternated playing time the rest of the way with little effectiveness. O’Brien finished the day 16/36 for 241 yards and two interceptions. (Brown was 4/7 for 28 yards with a touchdown and a pick, along with 24 yards on the ground.)

With the team struggling and the offense not clicking, much has been made by Terps fans and analysts who cover/follow the team about O’Brien’s future in College Park. Many believe the team’s unwillingness to stick with the sophomore will ultimately lead to him deciding to look elsewhere after the season for a place where he could transfer and become the primary starter in an offense more suited to his abilities.

Those talking about the possibility are most not connected to O’Brien whatsoever.

“I haven’t even (given) that any thought to be honest” O’Brien said following the Terrapins’ setback. “Right now it’s just about beating Notre Dame.”

(The Terps next face the Fighting Irish Saturday, November 12 at FedEx Field in Landover.)

“I feel like if I’m thinking about my future beyond next week I’m kinda cheating my teammates just because they’re counting on me when I’m in there (and not when I’m in there) to make plays” O’Brien added. “I’m not really gonna think about that. I’m here and I’m proud to be here.”

The frustration has been evident for O’Brien this season, as the team entered with hopes of improving upon their 2010 season, which ended with a win over East Carolina in the Military Bowl. The Terrapins have just one victory over a FBS level opponent since defeating the Pirates, their season opening Labor Day win over Miami.

It would be impossible for O’Brien to thrive while still splitting time with Brown no matter what each skill set allows for. Edsall said of the dilemma, ”I would love to just be able to play one guy.” He then went on to explain that both quarterbacks offered valuable skills and could have roles no matter who the future starter would be.

Edsall made another comment that was much more appropriate about the situation.

“It’s just not all on the quarterbacks.”

It certainly isn’t. The struggles of the offense include the receivers, the Offensive Line and probably the coaching staff as well. Edsall should by no means be absolved from blame when it comes to the apparent regression of the starter he inherited. Edsall has gone on and on about doing everything based on giving the team the “best opportunity to win”, but the only thing the team hasn’t done much of is…well…win. It would be safe to say that based on the evidence we’ve seen on the field, Edsall’s argument for playing both quarterbacks just doesn’t hold up.

That said, the offense has lacked rhythm and the quarterback carousel probably hasn’t helped. But even if the offense were more consistent, the inexperience on the defensive side of the ball and the woeful play of many special teams units would probably spell trouble for the Terps in general. The Terrapins have problems that go well beyond the quarterbacks.

But O’Brien was supposed to be the player that could guide this team through all of that.

That clearly hasn’t been the case.

It would be understandable if O’Brien ultimately decided there was another place where his skill set could be better utilized. It would be understandable if O’Brien ultimately decided he didn’t want to go into another season expecting to have to split time with another quarterback.

It would be understandable if O’Brien were wearing a uniform not made by Under Armour in the future.

It would just be disappointing considering all of the other problems facing the program at the time.

-G

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Friday Mud is the *true* Fall Classic

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Drew Forrester

Snow on Saturday?

They’re kidding, right?

Well, I’m heading to the Towson-Delaware game no matter what kind of weather arrives, but I certainly don’t fancy sitting at the stadium battling 35 degrees and a rain/snow mix.  But I wouldn’t miss this game, as Towson looks to continue their amazing run through the CAA schedule.  If you’re going out, “tweet me” (@WNST) and maybe I’ll let you buy me a hot chocolate.  Or maybe I’ll just stay in the press box where it’s warm.

Either way, I’ll be at Towson on Saturday night for the big showdown with the Blue Hens.

And, of course, I’ll be at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday to see if the Ravens can rebound from Monday night’s crusher in Jacksonville.

Just like you can count on Friday Mud, you can count on me to be somewhere in Baltimore watching and reporting on sports this weekend.  It’s what we do.  Better than anyone else in town.

Happy Friday.

Enjoy your Mud.  You don’t have to shovel it, either.

—————————————————————————–

>  I can’t keep track of all these Presidential candidates who are coming out of the woodwork and putting their names in the hat.  My guess is I’ll wind up not voting for any of them when the time comes, but that’s neither here nor there.  I figured I’d see what you all thought about another man who is thinking about running for office.  He’s been a leader in the past, so experience is on his side.  He’s worked under duress, which is an obvious strength for anyone who lives in The White House. Like any great leader, he’s able to delegate — he’s had as many as 25 men working under him at any given time.  What would you think, Baltimore, if THIS MAN wanted your vote next November?

>  By now I’m sure you’ve heard that LSU football coach Les Miles brought back three of his players who recently tested positive for synthetic marijuana.  I know, it’s an outrage, I’m with you.  It’s a complete joke.  The day the kids returned to practice, Miles went up to each one and slipped THIS in their pants pocket as they were entering the locker room.  How appropriate.  My guess is Miles has a desk full of those for any other miscreants on his team who break the rules.  Jerk.

>  Lost in the excitement of playoff baseball has been MLB’s annual “Miss Baseball” pageant, which gives every team in the majors the opportunity to put one of their fans in the contest that combines looks, their knowledge of baseball, and their individual ticket-buying support of their favorite team.  The three finalists are in for 2011 and here they are:  ”Miss Atlanta Braves” is a 25-year old PR professional who has owned Braves season tickets for the last 4 years.  I’d say THIS GIRL right here is definitely worthy of your vote.  ”Miss San Diego Padres” certainly has that west coast look going for her, as you can see RIGHT HERE.  Then there’s “Miss Boston Red Sox” — give THIS WOMAN a haircut and clean her up a bit and she might have a chance, too.  I’d say it’s a dead heat.

>  Good Joe Flacco and Good Cam Cameron show up this Sunday in Baltimore.  Make it 29 – 10 — Ravens over Arizona.  The only way I’d get excited at all about the Cardinals playing well is if Larry Fitzgerald has some sort of monster day with 115 yards receiving and 3 TD’s.  He’s on my fantasy team.  I’m always looking for a silver lining, ya know?

>  I got into a great pub debate a week ago with a few friends.  The question was:  ”If you could take one coach in the history of the University of Maryland sports and have that person coach one championship game – winner take all – who would you pick to coach the game?”  I didn’t hesitate.  I said, “Come on guys, you’d take the championship winning basketball coach…the best coach Maryland’s ever had.”  They disagreed with me, but I knew then I was right and I know now I was right.  You tell me. Wouldn’t you want THIS COACH RIGHT HERE on your bench?  Right.  Me too.

>  Poor Tim Tebow.  The dude has two wins under his belt this season and no one wants to say “well done”.  He’s so frustrated, he just got a personalized Colorado license plate.  Don’t believe me?  Well, HERE IT IS.  Believe me now?

>  This “Top 10 winners in team sports over the last 20 years” project has taken on a life of its own.  I started with a list of about 25, narrowed it down to 14, picked 10, then went back and thought of a few more…moved a guy out of the top 10, put someone else in, and now I just added another winner yesterday and had to remove someone else.  It’s tough.  So far, my #10 was Drew Brees and last week’s #9 was Greg Maddux.  Remember, there’s a difference between being a great player and “a winner”.  Alex Rodriguez will likely be in the Hall of Fame someday, but very few people would classify him as a winner.  I’m not 100% sure I’d classify Brett Favre as “a winner” but he’ll be in Canton someday too.  Winners are players you could remove from their team and put them in another city, on another team, and they’d help that new team win games.  Sifting through the names to come up with TRUE winners is more difficult than you might think.  But here we are…up to #8.  I thought long and hard where to put this next athlete.  Because his position isn’t over-analyzed with statistics, it’s not as easy to quantify his greatness, the way you might be able to with a quarterback or a pitcher.  But there’s no denying this man’s greatness and there’s absolutely no way you could ever say he was anything BUT a winner.  He’s the epitome of being a winner.  If you took him from his current team – in his prime – and dropped him off in 6-8 other cities, he’d immediately make them championship contenders.  Some will question his position in the rankings at #8, saying he belongs much higher, but this is where he ranks in my mind, fairly.  Take a look RIGHT HERE at one of the greatest winners of the last 20 years.

>  A bunch of Philadelphia Flyers season ticket holders have signed on to work part-time at McDonald’s.  Why, you ask?  Easy answer.  Good marketing on behalf of McD’s, as you can see ON THIS SIGN.

>  As you know, I’m a big fan of typing random phrases into Google search just to see what comes up.  So I typed in the words, “Are you freakin’ kidding me with this idiot coach of mine?” and THIS PHOTO APPEARED.

>  The Shoot Section (where I tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…)

Starting next Monday, October 31, we’ll be starting our 2011 Holiday Charity Drive at WNST.  We’re calling it “Coats and Cans in memory of Fergy”.  Many of you who are longtime WNST listeners and supporters remember our friend Fergy Commodari from his countless calls to the show (“Fergy in White Marsh”).  He was not only an active caller/participant on the various WNST shows, but he was a major contributor to any of our charity fund-raising efforts.  Last December, for example, he brought 100 cans of food to our event at the Fullerton Pub.  Anytime we needed Fergy, he was there.  Sadly, Fergy was killed in a car accident back on July 5, 2011.  We at WNST have pledged to put this year’s holiday charity drive together in his memory.  There are THREE ways you can help us this holiday season.  From Monday, October 31 through Friday, November 18, we’ll be collecting canned food and non-perishable food items at WNST Radio (1550 Hart Road, Towson, MD 21286).  Those foods will be donated to the Canton Baptist Church for distribution to their network of food pantries in downtown Baltimore that feed the homeless — and to the Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving Day dinner.  Last year, we collected 2,400 cans of food.  This year, we’re hoping to do 5,000 cans and food items.  For those of you who can’t make it to the station to donate food, we’re asking you to pledge “a penny per can” (with a limit of 5,000…our goal) to a scholarship fund that has been set up for Fergy’s two young children.  If we reach 5,000 cans and you can spare $50.00 to go to their scholarship fund, we’d greatly appreciate it.  Then, from Monday, November 21 through Friday, December 16, we’ll once again be collecting coats and winter apparel that we’ll donate to the Helping Up Mission in downtown Batlimore, a facility that works with adult men who have encountered problems in their lives and are working their way back to their families through a wonderful program that is run completely by the men who are living in the facility. Last year, our listeners donated 400 coats and winter apparel items that were delivered to men at Helping Up just prior to Christmas.  We will take all of the items donated this year to the facility on Tuesday, December 20.  If you can donate canned food, coats and winter apparel this holiday season, we promise you they will all be put to great use.  And if for some reason you can’t donate any items but you’d like to help with the scholarship fund for Fergy’s children, we greatly appreciate ANY amount you can donate.  For more information or to have any questions answered, just email me (drew@wnst.net) or Glenn Clark (glenn@wnst.net) and we’ll get you all the details you need.  A special thanks goes out to Joe Enoch and his staff at Enoch Office Equipment for helping us with transportation for our canned food and coats/winter apparel delivery.  And thank you in advance to any of you can help us with our various charitable efforts this winter.  We can’t do it without you.

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Edsall, O’Brien & Terps at an Early Crossroads

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Edsall, O’Brien & Terps at an Early Crossroads

Posted on 18 October 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

It seems tough to fathom, but it appears that just 6 games in to his career as head coach of the Terps football team Randy Edsall has already reached a crossroads. After debuting on national television with a new look and an apparently new attitude to the tune of a win over the undermanned Miami Hurricanes, the Terps have dropped 4 of 5 since and appear to be scrambling on a number of fronts.

Edsall was sure to get his fair share of criticism if things didn’t break well for the Terps this season as many are still put off by the manner in which Ralph Friedgen was shown the door (including Friedgen himself). But as things have slowly devolved in this his inaugural season the coach himself has done little to win favor with the fans, as his “no I in team” mentality is somehow lost in the translation as he publicly berates his players and singles them out for their mistakes.

 

What happened against #8 Clemson on Saturday was encouraging for sure, but may ultimately represent one step forward and two steps back for the Terps if it winds up costing them quarterback Danny O’Brien going forward. It’s worth mentioning as well that encouragement is relative as we are still talking about another loss

 

There’s no doubt that CJ Brown has given the offense a spark in his limited playing opportunities this year. That Edsall gave him the start against a Clemson team that had proven strong on both sides of the ball seemed a relatively safe proposition in the grand scheme of things, as O’Brien likely didn’t need the beating that he’d be taking from the Tigers and as it didn’t seem likely that Brown would have much success against them either. Instead Brown baffled the Clemson defense with his feet and authored one side of arguably the best offensive showdown in college football this season (my money is still on Baylor & TCU but call this one a close second).

 

Having performed as well as he did in the loss would certainly seem to position Brown as the starter going forward, and if his improbable success continues would likely position O’Brien to look for the proverbial door at his next opportunity.

 

Once the dust on the coaching search had settled on Edsall last winter, priority #1 it seemed was making sure that his ACC rookie of the Year winning quarterback would indeed be his. And while O’Brien ultimately did commit himself to Edsall and the Terps it seems that Edsall’s commitment to O’Brien is waning at best.

 

There’s little or no argument for benching Brown now, but as real quarterbacking skills go however there’s little or no argument that O’Brien isn’t the better commodity. The question now seems to be who is the better fit in Edsall’s offense / program?

 

For O’Brien supporters, the next question is how much of Brown’s success against Clemson was based on the fact that his feet make his skill set so disparate to O’Brien’s and that in preparing for O’Brien the Tigers were left flat footed in the first half. We’ll see if Brown looks as good going forward as defenses begin to prepare for his running and force him to be a quarterback. If he passes that test that might be all she wrote for O’Brien and the Terps.

 

As Edsall is embarking on an outright cultural makeover, maybe it stands to reason that he’d have to get more of his own guys in there before expecting to be successful on the field. Lord knows that winning with the previous regime’s players was more of a knock against Friedgen than a feather in his cap. Still, Edsall doesn’t seem to be doing himself many favors in the meantime.

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Terps Exciting, But Loss to Clemson More Troubling

Posted on 16 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A close loss at the hands of a Top 10 opponent wouldn’t usually be so frustrating for a young team in their first season under a new head coach.

That’s not the case for the University of Maryland.

The Terrapins (2-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) suffered a 56-45 setback at the hands of the eighth ranked Clemson University Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC) in front of a Homecoming crowd of 47,961 at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The Terps lead throughout much of the game, holding a 35-17 advantage early in the second half.

Yet even when they held such an advantage, there was never a comfortable feeling amongst fans in attendance and watching at home.

After pulling reigning ACC Rookie of the Year the previous week in a loss at Georgia Tech, head coach Randy Edsall stuck with previous backup CJ Brown Saturday night, claiming the choice was a “gametime decision” between the two.

Brown provided plenty of offense, throwing for 177 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 162 yards and another TD. Brown was plagued however by accuracy issues for a second straight week, completing just 17 of 35 passes. He was on multiple occasions betrayed by his wide receivers, whose inability to catch the football has become a season-long theme. Brown was intercepted just once, although Tigers defenders suffered from the same inabilities that have been so familiar for Terps receivers.

Edsall offered little analysis of Brown’s effort (or much of anything else) after the game.

“I gotta really look at the film and take a look at everything, but quickly when you just look at the numbers-CJ did a lot of good things out there.”

Edsall also declined to discuss Brown’s future as the team’s starting quarterback, instead deferring to the depth chart that will be released Tuesday. It would seem likely though for Brown to remain under center when the team travels to Tallahassee to face Florida State next Saturday.

Brown was disappointed to have lost his first career start and took full responsibility for his accuracy issues postgame.

“I gotta make those throws” said the quarterback. “Me and Danny have been practicing all week and we’ve known these (receivers) since I’ve been here. I missed a couple throws.”

There is a possibility that even if Boomer Esiason had played quarterback for Maryland Saturday night the Terps would not have been able to do enough offensively to outscore Clemson.

The Tigers received a school-record 345 all-purpose yards from WR/KR Sammy Watkins, including three touchdowns. RB Andre Ellington tallied 212 yards on 24 carries including two more touchdowns. The Tigers scored six straight times they touched the ball in the second half, including an 89 yard kickoff return TD from thetrue freshman Watkins.

A full-strength team would have been hard-pressed to slow down the Tiger assault. A Maryland unit playing without LB’s Kenny Tate, Darin Drakeford and Demetrius Hartfield; DL’s Isaiah Ross and Andre Monroe and S Matt Robinson faced a nearly impossible task.

Given the evidence already stated, it feels like I should be more positive and upbeat about the Terps’ performance against such an outstanding opponent.

Of course, you already read the headline.

In terms of practicality, Maryland finished Saturday night’s affair with more injuries, as both LB Avery Graham and WR Kevin Dorsey were known to have left the game. Edsall offered no further information (or even confirmation that the injuries even existed) postgame, instead reminding reporters the school would release injury information as necessary later in the week based on ACC requirements.

Also on the practical side, Maryland’s hopes of bowl eligibility fade based on the loss. The Terps now must win four of their final six games to get eligible, with a schedule that does include four games they will be favored to win. After the trip to FSU, Maryland hosts Virginia and Boston College in back to back weeks before a neutral site date with Notre Dame (at FedEx Field in Landover) and visits to Wake Forest and North Carolina State to finish the season. After finishing 9-4 a season ago and returning an impressive quarterback, missing out on bowl eligibility would be disappointing for Maryland even with a new head coach.

Veering away from the world of practicality, the quarterback situation could be the subject of a sequel to Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” After an outstanding freshman campaign, Danny O’Brien is now relegated to backup duties behind a quarterback his same age. While O’Brien was (understandably) not made available to reporters after the game, it would be fair to assume he wouldn’t be thrilled to have been demoted.

His future in the program (or elsewhere) will always be tied to whatever level of success Brown has in new Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton’s system. Edsall and Crowton will be scrutinized by fans and media alike moving forward based on what the two quarterbacks do moving forward.

This is a football program facing a number of issues.

Edsall has preached patience in his first season, which is seemingly fair for a first year coach to request. It is absolutely fair however to question where the program has gone in the last ten months since firing longtime head coach Ralph Friedgen after a successful season and hiring Edsall.

Ten months ago, it did not appear that Maryland has a program in need of being torn down and rebuilt.

We can only hope that after being torn down anyway, the program will end up a finished product worthy of the process.

-G

NOTES: Maryland’s game at Florida State will kick off at 3:30pm (ABC)……Hear from Edsall, Brown and RB Davin Meggett in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net

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There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

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There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

Posted on 10 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I guess it’s safe to say Rob Ambrose made the right decision to not redshirt Terrance West

Especially seeing as how his 4TD’s helped Towson improve to 4-1 on the season with their win over Richmond Saturday night at Unitas Stadium….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT4vlLi_vWo[/youtube]

The Tigers are now 2-0 in the CAA for the first time EVER. Remember when they were picked to finish last in the conference? Nice call there.

(Editor’s note: Spiders QB-and USC transfer-Aaron Corp completed 31 of 34 attempts Saturday night. I still can’t figure out how Towson was ever able to stop them. How does someone go 31 or 34 and win???)

2. When they weren’t fighting, there was a pretty fun football game being played between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers

For some reason, Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins decided to fight about a pretty impressive Steve Smith touchdown from Cam Newton…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq7gVv7I4MA[/youtube]

…Yeah I really have no explanation for that. I will reiterate what I’ve been saying about the Saints all season however. You can tell me all you want about their defense not being great. Based on how good Drew Brees and company are, they’re fine.

3. We want to write the Pittsburgh Steelers off, but Ben Roethlisberger just won’t let us

Sitting on my fantasy football bench, Big Ben managed to toss FIVE touchdowns for the Steelers in the win, pissing off everyone in the world who has no connection to the Steel City. Oh, and Daniel Sepulveda executed a perfect fake punt just to rub it in…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rChOUXR7JyQ[/youtube]

Jonathan Dwyer also ran for over 100 yards as the bad guys beat the Tennessee Titans. That answers the age old question, “who is Jonathan Dwyer?”

4. BCS apologists might get their chance to say LSU-Alabama and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State ARE a playoff system for college football

We’ll start with LSU’s big win over Florida, a blowout that included a would-be touchdown on a fake punt-had it not been for a taunting call that we can all agree was questionable at best…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT_TGuoLdmk[/youtube]

Seriously?

Next, The Crimson Tide started the season with a quarterback controversy. In their big win over Vanderbilt Saturday night, AJ McCarron reminded everyone why that didn’t last very long…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQrJYCbUFK0[/youtube]

Oh yeah. Trent Richardson is still pretty good too.

Elsewhere, Texas came into the Red River Rivalry this year with higher hopes based on the (Case) McCoy-(Jaxson) Shipley Combo Part 2. Landry Jones quickly ruined those hopes…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7BEMeOhYwQ[/youtube]

The path to the BCS Championship Game is also easier for the Sooners this year based on the fact that there is no more Big 12 Big 12 Championship Game.

Which leads us finally to Oklahoma State, who finished on the good end of a 70-28 beatdown of Kansas Saturday…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fgH624Jn-Y[/youtube]

Before you pencil Oklahoma into the national title game, a reminder that the Cowboys host this year’s “Bedlam” game in Stillwater. It’s significant.

5. Kellen Moore remains atop my “Heisman Trophy watch” personally, but I understand why everyone is so hot and bothered by Andrew Luck

Here’s my problem. Everyone always beats up the Boise State QB because the Broncos don’t play top-notch competition. For example, they shredded Fresno State most recently…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moapfuyqut4[/youtube]

…but thus far, the best team Stanford has beaten all season is Duke-and Duke was NOT playing with Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Marshall Plumlee or any other Plumlee anywhere on the planet…that I know of.

The Cardinal’s victim Saturday night was a less than impressive Pac 12 newcomer-Colorado. You only know anything about the game because Tiger Woods took a break from being crappy at golf to show up and watch the thing with John Elway…

tiger

Woods finished tied for 30th this weekend at an event won by some dude named Bryce Molder. Tied for 30th. Bryce Molder. Oh…and some dude threw a hot dog at him while he was playing. REALLY…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMLvYzwNuuA[/youtube]

6. Cincinnati Bengals defense plus AJ Green equals late season games could be more interesting for Ravens than we want them to be

AJ Green was immediately more popular just for NOT being Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens. Now it looks like he’s really good to boot…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-FUlm0MGeI[/youtube]

I don’t think Cincy can stay in the AFC playoff race all season by any stretch of the imagination, but it looks like they’re not going to fall apart either. Marvin Lewis’ team will have two chances to make life miserable in Charm City later this season.

7. Sooo….maybe Jim Harbaugh WAS worth all that money?

Until this point, I have refused to believe in the San Francisco 49ers despite their early season success. After their blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, I might have to start buying stock…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59UTGUCaWo0[/youtube]

I’d say the Josh Morgan injury would hurt them, but they play in the NFC West. I get the feeling they could lose half their roster and still be in the mix.

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Maryland Still Not Particularly Impressive In Win Over Towson

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — I’ve been to more exciting wakes.

I wish that statement wasn’t true, but it absolutely is.

The University of Maryland (2-2, 1-0 ACC) defeated Towson University (3-1, 1-0 CAA) 28-3 Saturday in front of a less than inspired announced crowd of 35,573 at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. It was the first ever contest between the in-state rivals yet somehow doesn’t seem like the most memorable.

The game was probably closer than the 28-3 final score would indicate, but it certainly wasn’t any more entertaining.

Despite wind and rain that made the temperature feel like it was in the 40′s, I’m pretty sure I saw both Terps and Tigers fans napping in the lower bowl of the stadium in the 3rd quarter.

Okay, I’m clearly exaggerating, but I assume you get the point.

After suffering a 38-7 drubbing at the hands of Temple University in their third game of the season, the good will generated by the Terrapins from a high profile victory over Miami, a near defeat at the hands of a quality West Virginia team and the national attention that came along with their new Under Armour uniforms are all gone.

Saturday’s win won’t get the Terps any face time on ESPN. It certainly won’t be discussed by a ton of folks around water coolers this week.

To be fair, the less than impressive nature of the victory means it’s probably for the best that the game will be forgotten quickly. The Terps were outgained by their in-state FCS opponent 378-335, they lost the time of possession battle 35:39 to 24:21 and their new “high powered” offense generated just 137 yards via the air.

Head Coach Randy Edsall admitted after the contest his team is still far from where he wants them to be.

“I think we still have a long way to go” Edsall said. “We’re a young team. We’ve had some younger guys have to play because of injuries. We just have to keep getting better.”

Even Towson coach Rob Ambrose thought the Terps were sluggish in victory, saying “I never thought they had the momentum. They were kind of holding on the whole time. They were up tempo, but it wasn’t like they were doing anything we didn’t know.”

Edsall noted the progress would have to be made quickly, as the Terps now begin a three game stretch that sees them challenge three currently ranked opponents. The Terps will travel to Atlanta next Saturday to face #21 Georgia Tech, with a visit from #13 Clemson and a contest with #23 Florida State in Tallahassee looming in the following weeks.

It’s the type of stretch that is hard to imagine the Maryland team that showed up against Temple and Towson having any success against.

Edsall added another piece to the Terps’ puzzle by inserting backup quarterback C.J. Brown into the third quarter of Saturday’s win. Brown completed two of three attempts for 14 yards before again being replaced by starter Danny O’Brien. After making some questionable decisions in the team’s loss to West Virginia and struggling against the Owls, O’Brien was again underwhelming, completing 14 of 21 attempts for 123 yards and two touchdowns Saturday.

Edsall said the Terps had planned to insert Brown into Saturday’s game.

“We wanted to get CJ (Brown) some work” Edsall said after the game. “Hopefully nothing happens to Danny (O’Brien), but I want to make sure CJ has work in a game. CJ’s a young man who hasn’t played a lot of football since high school. If he would end up having to go in and play for us, I just wanted to make sure that he’s comfortable, he’s ready and he’s in with those guys.”

It’s a logical thought process against a CAA opponent, and could easily be dismissed as just that. Instead, Edsall refused to comment on how much he might consider using Brown in the future as he didn’t want to give away any gameplan ideas to future opponents.

Okay. I guess.

There were a few bright spots for the Terps in the victory, including DL Joe Vellano (1.5 sacks) and freshman RB Justus Pickett, who tallied 82 yards and his first career touchdown on 14 carries to go along with starter Davin Meggett’s  102 yards on 16 carries.

But even with a few bright spots and a victory, this Maryland team is difficult to figure at best through four games.

The answer will come over the next three weeks whether the team is prepared for it or not. The competition is too good for Maryland to get wins without playing at a very high level.

It’s just hard to fathom that coming right now.

-G

NOTES: Kickoff for Maryland/Georgia Tech next Saturday is set for 12pm (ESPNU)……Edsall did not believe TE Matt Furstenburg’s late game injury was serious, saying he thought Furstenburg could have returned to the game if necessary……Edsall’s postgame comments are available in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net……Towson returns to action next Saturday with Richmond coming to Unitas Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30pm on AM1570 WNST.net

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He’ll Do Plenty of Good for Terps, But on Saturday O’Brien Wasn’t Quite “Reich”

Posted on 17 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — When watching a University of Maryland football team attempt to rally from a fairly large deficit, it is rare to have someone ask the question “what’s the greatest comeback in Terps history?”

It’s of course rare because the answer is fairly common knowledge. On November 10, 1984 the Terrapins trailed the University of Miami 31-0 at halftime before then head coach Bobby Ross pulled starting quarterback Stan Gelbaugh in favor of Frank Reich. Reich went on to throw for three touchdowns (and run for another) as the Terps stunned the Hurricanes 42-40.

It’s a fairly well known story.

The Terps had an opportunity to write another amazing comeback chapter in their football history book Saturday after falling behind 34-10 in the second half to the 18th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Behind quarterback Danny O’Brien, the Terps trimmed the deficit all the way down to three points midway through the fourth quarter (34-31), and got the ball back with 4:36 to play trailing just 37-31.

Needing a touchdown (and of course an extra point) to likely punctuate an incredibly rally, the Terps methodically drove the ball down the WVU 35 yard line with under two minutes to play. Facing 3rd and 8, O’Brien (a redshirt sophomore) was on the cusp of offering a defining moment still early in his career.

Unfortunately for Maryland fans, that moment didn’t come.

O’Brien’s throw found the arms of Mountaineers safety Eain Smith, allowing West Virginia (3-0) to escape College Park with their sixth straight victory of the season. O’Brien (34/52 289 yards, TD, 3INT) and the Terps (1-1, 1-0 ACC) were instead forced to look back on a missed opportunity.

“You can’t turn the ball over three times at the quarterback position and expect to beat a ranked team” O’Brien said after the loss. “That’s really what it comes down to. I felt like the line did great, we ran the ball well, but you just can’t turn the ball over.”

O’Brien’s late interception was particularly tough to swallow because he appeared to have an open running late in front of him. Even if stopped short of a first down, the Terrapins would have had an opportunity to pick up another short 4th down conversion on the drive and continue their path to the end zone.

It wasn’t the first time in the young 2011 season that O’Brien was intercepted on a play where he likely should have decided to run the ball.

In the first quarter of the Terps’ 32-24 win over Miami Week 1, O’Brien dropped back to throw in a “second and goal” situation from the Canes’ one yard line. Instead of taking the open running lane into the endzone, O’Brien forced a throw that was intercepted by Vaughn Telemaque. Instead of taking a 14-0 lead and being able to build on it moving forward, the game remained a one possession differential and ultimately stayed close throughout.

After the loss Saturday, Head Coach Randy Edsall said he’d like to see O’Brien make more decisions to take off with the ball.

“I want to win the ballgame, and I think Danny wants to win the ballgame too” Edsall said. “I think as he sees that, he’s gotta understand that. People are going to drop off in coverage and there’s going to be times for him to be able to run the ball. If he does that, that’s going to open up some more things intermediate (and) long range in terms of the passing game. It’s just something he’ll have to see on film for himself. When he does, he’s gotta understand that. When the quarterback can run, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

O’Brien acknowledged that it was easy to point out the mistake in hindsight, but knew he needed to make a different decision moving forward.

“This offense gives me some opportunities to do that, just because we’re spread out more” O’Brien said. “I feel like I’m never going to make the same mistake twice. It’s kinda easy after the fact to see what you should have done. The game’s just played so fast and I make a lot of split second reactions all the time. That’s just one where looking back, if I get the exact same look I’ll run it.”

It would be irresponsible to place all blame for Saturday’s defeat on the shoulders of the team’s outstanding quarterback. While O’Brien also threw two costly first half interceptions, his guidance was vital in directing the Terrapins out of their mighty hole.

Responsibility for the defeat certainly is shared by the defense, particularly the secondary. The Terrapins allowed three West Virginia receivers (Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Ivan McCartney) to all go over the 100 yard receiving mark and gave up a total of 388 passing yards from ‘Eers QB Geno Smith on the day.

LB Kenny Tate took some of that blame after the defeat. “We didn’t tackle as (well) as we could have” said the Terrapins senior. “Everybody missed tackles.”

Also deserving of blame was Edsall and his coaching staff. The group made a number of decisions (including attempts to convert 4th down scenarios late in the 2nd quarter and early in the 3rd quarter) that came back to haunt the team when the game was no longer in blowout territory. With more points on the board, O’Brien might not have felt the need to try to force a throw in late.

Despite all of that, team had the opportunity to win the game until O’Brien’s final interception.

O’Brien has already done a number of great things as quarterback, taking a team to the postseason and claiming a Military Bowl title in only his freshman campaign. If he stays healthy and continues progressing the way he has, he’ll do plenty more great things before leaving College Park. Some of those things are likely to come in the upcoming weeks and months of the 2011 season, even if the “dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate” talk over the last two weeks was a bit premature.

On Saturday, Maryland didn’t need a Heisman Trophy winning performance.

They just needed something a little more “Reich.”

-G

NOTES: Maryland returns to action Saturday, September 24 against Temple (2-1). Kickoff is set for 12:30pm (ACC Network-WNUV 54 in Baltimore) at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Temple suffered a 14-10 setback to Penn State Saturday in Philadelphia…..Edsall declined comment on reports that Pittsburgh and Syracuse have applied to join the ACC in his postgame press conference……Edsall ended his press conference by making the defiant statement “I guarantee you everyday you’re gonna get the best effort out of this program. ‘Cause that’s what we should be doing and that’s what the people who support this program deserve, and that’s what we’ll get done.” He then abruptly walked off……Hear from Edsall, O’Brien and Tate in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net now

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