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Maryland-Duke Notebook: Terps defense again bends, doesn’t break

Posted on 02 October 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If you subscribe to the “bend, but don’t break philosophy,” the Maryland defense might be the Gumby of the ACC. Despite surrendering 399 yards of offense and 351 passing yards to Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, the Terps held the Blue Devils to three field goals and a single touchdown in their 21-16 victory on Saturday night.

Duke kicked field goals on their first three possessions in the first half and were threatening to score again late in the second quarter before safety Antwine Perez picked off a Renfree pass in the end zone, changing the momentum and leading to Maryland’s first touchdown on the ensuing possession.

Perez was also instrumental late in the fourth quarter with Duke driving to the Maryland 38-yard line. Faced with defending a fourth-and-15, Perez broke up a pass intended for Austin Kelly with 1:55 remaining, sealing the deal for the Terps as they improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play.

“It’s only fitting that he broke up the last pass,” head coach Ralph Friedgen said after the game.

Not to be outdone by Perez, fellow safety Kenny Tate was in Renfree’s face throughout the game, picking up 1 1/2 sacks and narrowly missing two others. The 6-foot-4 safety showed far more aggression on blitzes than he previously had, according to Friedgen.

“That’s how [aggressive] he is in practice,” said Friedgen, who thought the junior safety was too cautious when blitzing in earlier games.

While the defense struggled in the first half and made it interesting at the end, Friedgen is noticing a major difference in this year’s team compared to the 2009 squad.

“We’re learning how to finish a game,” said Friedgen

Logan strikes again

For the second straight week, returner Tony Logan made a game-changing impact with an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the third quarter to put the Terps ahead for good at 14-9.

Logan returned a punt 85 yards for a score a week ago against Florida International and can now expect to receive the same treatment that Torrey Smith sees on kickoffs.

Plenty of kicks out of bounds.

Of course, Logan’s brilliant touchdown was soured by a senseless unsportsmanlike penalty after throwing the football against the brick facade beyond the end zone after his dynamic return. Friedgen would like to see his young players make better choices in terms of celebrating big plays.

“I love the emotion and the celebration, but do it on the sideline and do it as a team,” Friegen said.

The junior returner now has 415 punt-return yards in 15 attempts this season and is averaging 27.7 yards per return this season. His 415 return yards are already third on the single-season list despite having played just five games this season.

His 564 career punt return yards move him into fifth on the all-time list at Maryland.

O’Brien struggles in second start

Danny O’Brien received his second career start but struggled to live up to the success he enjoyed against Florida International. The redshirt freshman finished just 9 of 26 for 170 yards.

His 71-yard touchdown pass to Da’Rel Scott was a bigger product of the running back’s ability to break a few tackles and turn on his speed than the actual throw, but Friedgen credited O’Brien for managing the game well. Maryland did not turn it over against the Blue Devils defense.

“I think he’ll grow from this experience, and I think he’ll play better,” Friedgen said.

Speculation persisted the entire week over who would be the starting quarterback for the Terrapins against Duke, but it turned out to be a very simple decision with Jamarr Robinson not practicing until Thursday. Robinson, who started the first three games of the season before injuring his shoulder, was available if needed, but Friedgen preferred resting the junior with the Terps having a bye next weekend.

Pressed whether O’Brien had wrested the starting job from the more-experienced Robinson, Friedgen insisted both quarterbacks will continue to play. He did not, however, rule out O’Brien being the starter when Robinson is back to being 100 percent.

Injury notes

Linebacker Adrian Moten injured his ankle in the game and would have an x-ray following the game.

Tight end Dave Stinebaugh injured his knee and defensive back Eric Franklin went off with an injured hamstring in Saturday’s win. The extent of either injury was unknown following the game.

Odds & ends

Maryland picked up its 200th win at Byrd Stadium, having moved into the stadium in 1950. This year marks the 61st season for the Terps at Byrd. … The Terps are now 4-1 despite being outgained in four of the five games they have played (399-294 against Duke). … After struggling in the turnover department during a disastrous 2-10 season a year ago, the Terps enjoy a +8 turnover ratio after playing turnover-free football for the second straight week.

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Terps 4-1, But Record Could Be Deceptive

Posted on 02 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Maryland Terrapins (4-1) are probably not as good as their record might indicate.

A 4-1 record can’t really reflect the fact that the Terps have played three of their five games (all wins) at Byrd Stadium against lesser opponents, including the Duke team they beat 21-16 Saturday night. It also can’t reflect the fact that the other win was a season opener in-state against a Navy team who has clearly not lived up to their preseason hype (they lost 14-6 at Air Force Saturday to fall to 2-2). The 4-1 record also can’t reflect that in their only marquee contest of the season (a showdown with West Virginia in Morgantown), the Terps were hammered 31-17.

Sometimes a record alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

Maryland’s win over Duke didn’t tell us too much more about the Terps than we already knew. QB Danny O’Brien didn’t match the effectiveness of his first career start seven days earlier against Florida International; but he certainly didn’t hurt his team at any point either. O’Brien finished the game a less than impressive 9/26 for 170 yards and a TD. His only TD came on a short swing pass that RB Da’Rel Scott turned upfield for a 71 yard score. Without that play, O’Brien would have finished the game 8/25 for 99 yards and no TD’s.

Defensively, Maryland wasn’t particularly impressive either. The Terps allowed the Blue Devils to march inside the 25 yard line on each of their first four offensive possessions. Maryland was fortunate to find themselves trailing just 9-0 after that stretch; as three possessions ended in field goals from Devils kicker Will Snyderwine, while the fourth ended thanks to a diving interception by Maryland safety Antwine Perez. Duke QB Sean Renfree seemed mostly unfazed by the Maryland defense, throwing for 351 yards in a losing effort.

Maryland’s victory Saturday had much more to do with a couple of big plays (including an 84 yard punt return TD from Tony Logan), some poor decisions by their opponent (Renfree ended up throwing two INT’s on the day), and a big stop in a crucial situation late in the fourth quarter (Duke had the ball in Maryland territory with 2 minutes to play). It reads almost as a repeat of their season-opening win over the Midshipmen.

It also makes you wonder just how much the Terps have grown since that time.

Maryland is certainly much better off at 4-1 (1-0 ACC) than they were last season, when they were 2-3 through five games. It would be stupid to suggest that there is anything wrong with starting the season 4-1.

At this point, it might be best that only 39,106 fans attended Saturday’s game and significantly fewer watched at home (the game was not seen on TV but instead streamed on ESPN3.com). Without having seen the game, fans might know only that the game was a win; and that the team improved to 4-1 overall.

Terps Head Coach Ralph Friedgen knew things weren’t pretty Saturday night, wrapping the game up by saying “it wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.” He’s said something along those lines after three of the team’s four victories this season.

Friedgen also knows that the team may not be quite as good as their record might indicate. “We’ve got our work cut out for us the last half of the year” said the coach. “We’re going to have to get better.”

But Friedgen was also quick to point right back to the record despite acknowledging the struggles of the team. “I know right know we’re 4-1. We take them one at a time.”

The schedule will be tougher for Maryland moving forward, as they visit Clemson in two weeks following a bye. After the trip to Clemson the Terps will head to Boston College. They won’t play at home again until October 30, when Wake Forest will visit College Park.

Maryland won’t just be able to rely on big plays and poor decisions from their opponents to get bowl eligible or compete for the ACC Atlantic Division title. They’ll have to be more consistent in all fazes of the game.

But at 4-1, they have a chance to do that.

Should Maryland have lost the season opener to Navy or fallen to the Devils Saturday, their goals would not be quite as attainable as they currently are, struggles or not. By struggling and winning, Maryland has the opportunity to both improve and yet still compete.

Thus far, that’s the biggest difference between this year’s team and the team that went on to finish the season 0-7 after their first five games last year.

“We’re learning how to finish a game” said Friedgen. “Whatever the situation is, we’re finding a way to make the play we’ve got to make at the end.”

If Maryland really has learned how to win close games and can match that with overall improvement for 60 minutes, they could still be a threat to reach the ACC Championship Game.

Of course, Maryland might just be a team that has taken advantage of a soft schedule and has a deceptive record. If that’s the case, they might bring back memories of the 2009 team.

-G

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Maryland-Duke: Turtle Power chat LIVE NOW!!!

Posted on 02 October 2010 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Turtle Power chat starting at 6:00 p.m.!!!**

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Duke Blue Devils strolling into College Park in early October may lack the buzz of a February matchup on the hardwood at Comcast Center, but Maryland is eager to kick off its conference schedule on a positive note while potentially doubling its win total from a year ago.

Ralph Friedgen and the Terps are fresh off a high-scoring 42-28 victory over Florida International to conclude the non-conference portion of the schedule at 3-1. Redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O’Brien made quite the claim for the starting job after a two-touchdown, 250-yard performance in his first collegiate start. We await word whether O’Brien or junior Jamarr Robinson will get the nod against the Blue Devils this evening.

While Maryland wrapped its non-conference slate with only one loss, David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils (1-3, 0-1) only have a victory over Elon pinned against losses to Wake Forest, No. 1 Alabama, and Army in the first month of the season. Of course, Duke is playing with young quarterback Sean Renfree after Thaddeus Lewis finished an impressive career in Durham last season.

In addition to playing their ACC opener, the Terps will have revenge on their mind after last season’s 17-13 debacle at Wallace Wade Stadium in which Lewis gashed the Terps for 371 yards and two touchdowns through the air. With Renfree now under center and the Duke defense surrendering 44.5 points per game (118th in the nation), Maryland has to like its chances in this one.

With today’s game only being streamed live on ESPN3.com, join us in the Turtle Power chat as Glenn Clark and I will be providing analysis throughout the evening. As always, you can follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and one-liners from Byrd Stadium.

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ACC Football: Maryland Opens Up Conference Play Against Duke Blue Devils

Posted on 30 September 2010 by Andrew Stewart

The Maryland Terrapins will welcome the Duke Blue Devils to College Park, MD on Sept. 29. Fans are more familiar with the bitter basketball rivalry between the two schools, but the gridiron battle is not exactly a merry affair either.

Maryland enters the game this weekend with a 3-1 record and is coming off of a 42-28 win over Florida International. Whereas, Duke enters Saturday with a 1-3 record and has lost three straight.

Duke has already lost one conference game so far this season, after falling to Wake Forest 54-48 on Sept. 11.

Maryland however has yet to play a conference opponent in 2010 and could get a good head start into conference and division play with a win over Duke.

The Duke Blue Devils are led by the 20th best passing game in the country. Sophomore quarterback Sean Renfree has led the passing game for the Blue Devils.

After slowly being groomed into the position in 2009, Renfree has taken over in 2010 and has thrown for 1,113 yards and nine touchdowns. Renfree threw for over 350 yards in each of his first two games against Elon and Wake Forest, before being held to 144 yards against defending National Champion Alabama.

On Sept. 4 against Elon, Sean Renfree completed 31 of 39 passes for 350 yards and a 79.5% completion percentage. He finished the game with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 171.79 quarterback rating.

Most recently, Renfree is coming off of a 261-yard performance against Army in which he threw two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Fellow sophomore receiver Conner Vernon has become a favorite target of Renfree’s. After reeling in 55 receptions in 2009, Conner has already caught 28 passes for 449 yards and three touchdowns. Conner is projected by ESPN to finish with 1,347 yards and nine touchdowns based upon his first four games.

Conner was nonexistent against Alabama, only catching two passes for ten yards. However, Maryland does not posses as talented a pass defense such as Alabama after giving up 623 yards through the air in the past two games has demonstrated.

Maryland’s pass defense gave up four touchdowns to the Mountaineer’s on Sept. 18 and two more against FIU on Sept. 25.

Maryland enters this weekend’s game with the 102nd in the country in passing yards. Maryland averages 159 yards a game through the air. However, last week the starting job was given to redshirt freshman Danny O’Brien against FIU after starting quarterback Jamarr Robinson was battling arm-soreness.

O’Brien threw for 250 yards against the Golden Panthers including two touchdowns .

Maryland’s quarterback tandem daringly resembles the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation. Danny O’Brien resembles more of Kevin Kolb as a pocket passer whereas, Jamarr Robinson is a mobile quarterback that makes plays with his feet much like Michael Vick. Neither player is as talented or will even amount to the other, but paints a nice picture to the quarterback situation in College Park, MD.

Torrey Smith, the Terps veteran junior receiver, has finally broken out in 2010. After picking up 149 yards on only three catches against the Mountaineers, Smith picked up eight receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. Torrey Smith caught two touchdowns against Morgan State on three receptions for 41 yards and had 60-yard and 80-yard touchdown catches against West Virginia.

Duke’s running game is led by sophomore running back Desmond Scott. Through four games this season, Scott has carried the ball 42 times for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Scott also has 10 catches for 93 yards.

In Desmond Scott’s most recent games against Army and Alabama, Scott has ran the ball for only 15 times for 73 yards and no touchdowns.

Maryland two running back tandem of Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett has combined for 477 yards and five touchdowns on 70 carries. Scott and Meggett have shared the load so far in 2010, last week against FIU, Da’Rel Scott ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Davin Meggett complimented Scott, rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown.

With a win over Duke, Maryland would move to 4-1 and would need only need to win two more games to become bowl eligible. Maryland finished 2-10 in 2009.

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After Leading Terps Through “Adversity”, O’Brien Deserves Chance to Stay Under Center

Posted on 25 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Starting QB Jamarr Robinson (shoulder) was unable to practice at all. WR Tony Logan took the majority of snaps with the first team offense throughout the week.

As Head Coach Ralph Friedgen explained, the Maryland Terrapins were faced with quite a bit of “adversity” in the week leading up to Saturday’s game against the Florida International Panthers.

Redshirt freshman QB Danny O’Brien got the first start of his Terps career, and he made the most of it in leading the Terps (3-1) to a 42-28 win over Florida International (0-3) at Byrd Stadium.

It would be disingenuous to label the performance by O’Brien with some sort of overstated term like “brilliant” or “dazzling.” Instead, the performance would be best labeled as “effective.” Of course, “effective” was exactly what Friedgen and Offensive Coordinator James Franklin needed against a tricky Panthers defense that had put together a six sack, four interception performance at Texas A&M just a week earlier.

“Basically, we didn’t have a quarterback to practice with all week” said Friedgen. “(O’Brien) didn’t get many reps, and that’s always my concern. I was very impressed with his poise. He never got rattled. You’d think he’d at least be a little bit nervous, but I never got that from him.”

“We were trying to protect the quarterback, so we were trying to run the ball early” added Franklin. “That wasn’t as going as well as we would have liked, so the quick passing game was another way to move the ball and be able to protect the quarterback.”

They didn’t need “spectacular”, they just needed “effective.” They got it.

O’Brien finished the game a tidy 18-27 for 250 yards with two TD’s and no interceptions. His first touchdown pass to WR LaQuan Williams (Poly) was a particularly impressive nine yard fade to the back left corner of the south endzone. He also connected with WR Torrey Smith-the team’s top playmaker-eight times for 159 yards, including a 68 yard pitch and catch TD. He handled FIU pressure very well and effectively used his checkdown options instead of forcing passes into dangerous spots on the football field.

It was an especially effective performance for O’Brien considering how little Maryland was able to do on the ground in the game. Maryland finished the game with 169 net yards rushing, but all but 28 of them came on three big rushing TD plays. RB Da’Rel Scott broke off TD runs of 56 and 9 yards, while RB Davin Meggett capped scoring with a 76 yard TD scamper. But Maryland’s overall inability to establish a consistent running attack allowed FIU to hold a 34:05-25:55 advantage in time of possession and a 98-55 advantage in total offensive plays.

“I think it was a great team victory” said O’Brien. “I feel like I had a pretty good performance, (there were) a few plays I’d like back. We ran the ball and we protected great. I feel like everytime we do that, we have the receivers and running backs to beat everybody.

O’Brien got the start just a week after re-aggravating an ankle injury on his only snap in a 31-17 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown. He said his ankle was “close to” 100%, and wasn’t a factor during the game. Franklin confirmed that Robinson would have been available in an emergency situation, but Friedgen said Logan (who returned a punt 85 yards for a TD in the 2nd quarter) would have been the team’s backup QB.

The only problem for Friedgen and the Terps’ staff is that the performance will do little to settle their overall QB picture. Robinson and O’Brien had both played in all three games before Saturday, but Robinson was the clear starter. In fact, O’Brien saw the field for just one snap in both the Navy and WVU games, with his only snap resulting in a fumble each time. It was only against the FCS-level Morgan State Bears than O’Brien saw significant playing time before getting the start in Saturday’s victory.

“I think both (Robinson and O’Brien) will end up still playing” said Friedgen. “I think both of them have strengths. I think if we’re smart we can utilize both of their talents and we should try to do that. I’ll know that a little bit more when I see what Jamarr’s condition is.”

While Friedgen is likely to continue to work both quarterbacks into games, fans throughout the Old Line State will undoubtedly spend the week leading up to next Saturday’s contest with Duke calling for Friedgen to go with O’Brien exclusively. Fans took to Facebook and Twitter throughout the game Saturday (although only 33,254 were announced in attendance at the game) to make such statements about the QB situation. That controversy is unlikely to die down as the Terrapins face an uphill battle with only ACC games remaining on the regular season schedule.

O’Brien certainly appears to have the mental makeup to be a winner. Friedgen praised O’Brien’s mental makeup after the game, saying “that’s what you need at the quarterback position. You need a guy that can make decisions, put you in the right play and give you a chance to be successful.”

O’Brien is also unquestionably talented, and did not appear rattled by a defense that entered the game with the 28th ranked defense in the nation despite playing their first two games against opponents from BCS automatic qualifying conferences (Rutgers, Texas A&M). That being said, the two solid performances from O’Brien this season have come in emotionally flat environments; as both the Morgan State win and Saturday’s win were played in front of less than full crowds in College Park.

O’Brien has never played against an ACC opponent of any sort, while Robinson started games against bowl-bound teams like Virginia Tech and Florida State last season. O’Brien hasn’t played in electric environment, while Robinson nearly beat the Seminoles in the last game Bobby Bowden would ever coach in Tallahassee. O’Brien is not a particularly mobile QB, while Robinson has already registered a 100 yard rushing game (against the Hokies) in his career.

There are benefits to playing both quarterbacks (if both are healthy), but there appears to be some real need for consistency and leadership at the QB position. Fellow backfield mate Scott said of O’Brien “he’s a very poised young person.”

Friedgen has always remained loyal to his upperclassmen, but perhaps in this instance he would be better served to stick with O’Brien. O’Brien appears to have the better combination of physical and mental skills to win, and Robinson could still be capable of entering games to throw opponents a different look. Maryland tried to employ a similar combo two seasons ago with starter Chris Turner and speedy Florida transfer Josh Portis, but Portis often came onto the field without understanding play calls.

Loyalty is admirable, but for a team that could attract only 35,000 fans on a beautiful day in the Mid-Atlantic area, winning is more important. Incoming Athletic Director Kevin Anderson isn’t likely to value loyalty at the end of the season the same way he would value wins and losses.

In this instance, sticking with the quarterback that stood up in the face of adversity is probably the best way to go.

-G

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Maryland takes care of business, and then some, against Morgan State

Posted on 11 September 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Terps did exactly what was expected of them on paper entering Saturday night’s game against Morgan State, completing a 62-3 thrashing of the Bears in the schools’ first ever meeting.

Even a below-average team in a BCS conference — what Maryland is expected to be this season — should easily handle an inferior FCS opponent or a small conference school every time.

It’s exactly what the Terps, however, have struggled to do in recent history.

In 2008, it was a narrow 14-7 victory over Delaware followed by a shocking 24-14 loss to Middle Tennessee. A season ago, the Terps needed overtime to defeat James Madison 38-35 for its first victory of the season and laid an egg the following week, losing to Middle Tennesse for the second straight year, 32-31.

“It’s a great start,” said defensive end Drew Gloster, who clearly noticed Virginia Tech’s shocking loss to FCS school James Madison earlier on Saturday. “We had something to prove today going out against Morgan State. You see a lot of ACC teams losing today, but we represented our conference well.”

The Terps had little excuse for not blowing out the in-state school from the MEAC, racking up 45 points and 252 total yards in the first half and inserting backups for most of the final 30 minutes.

“We’re still a work in progress,” said receiver Torrey Smith, who caught two touchdowns. “We made a lot of mistakes, but we know we can score. It’s just a matter of us being consistent and going out there and getting it done — all the time.”

In reality, little can be learned from the Terps’ dominating performance other than to conclude the Bears won’t be applying for BCS membership any time soon.The Maryland defense held Morgan State to 3 points and 85 total yards (16 in the first half), the lowest number of yards allowed during the Ralph Friedgen era. The Terps should feel good about a 2-0 start, but no one knows how much better — if very much at all — this team is than it was a year ago.

More than anything, the 62-3 victory may have created a bigger quarterback controversy than already anticipated.

Jamarr Robinson improved his passing totals after an embarrassing effort (11 yards) against Navy, completing 6 of 13 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the first half before being pulled from the game early in the second quarter. However, the first significant playing time for redshirt freshman Danny O’Brien will have more fans clamoring for the strong-armed passer over the fleet-footed Robinson.

O’Brien threw three touchdowns passes on his first three collegiate completions, his first being a beautiful 27-yard dart to tight end Matt Furstenburg before tossing scores to Torrey Smith and Da’Rel Scott. Of course, the Bears’ defense is a far cry from the defenses O’Brien will see during the ACC schedule, but his ability is difficult to overlook when looking at the crop of talented receivers largely being wasted with Robinson under center.

“O’Brien is one of the more advanced freshman that I’ve been around,” offensive coordinator James Franklin said. “When you throw the ball 10 times and three of them are for touchdowns, I mean that’s pretty good. It doesn’t take a genius to see that.”

Robinson’s scrambling ability is an unquestionable asset for Franklin’s offense, but major doubts exist in his ability to produce through the air, something he will need to do starting next week when the Terps travel to a hostile environment in Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. For now, it appears Friedgen will go with the two-quarterback approach as we have seen in the past during his 10-year tenure as the Terps coach.

“We’ve been planning on playing [Robinson] and [O'Brien],” Franklin said. “Felt like all camp we had two [starters], and obviously they are both athletic guys. Danny probably brings a little bit different game than Jamar, but they’re both athletic guys who can do a lot of things. We’ll evaluate the film and go from there.”

It will be a delicate balance that Friedgen and Franklin will have to approach carefully to avoid disruptions of rhythm and flow like we saw last week when O’Brien entered a tie game early in the fourth quarter and promptly fumbled his first hand-off to Davin Meggett, instantly killing a red-zone opportunity. Two-quarterback systems can work at the college level — see the 2007 Florida Gators with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow — but it takes a strong feel for the game by the head coach, a trait many feel Friedgen has lacked in recent seasons in College Park.

Maryland’s first two games have been difficult to use in trying to assess how good this team really is. With Navy’s unconventional triple option racking up significant yardage but self-destructing in the red zone and overmatched Morgan State simply lacking the talent needed to compete with an ACC school, even a bad team may have stolen these two wins.

“I think we’re better than last year, no question about that,” Friedgen said. “I’m interested in how good we are this week [against West Virginia]. But I think this team has a chance to be a very good team. I’ve said that all along.”

The first real test will come next Saturday against rival West Virginia, who will look to rebound after a scary 24-21 overtime victory over Marshall on Friday night. If Maryland goes to Morgantown and knocks off the Mountaineers, they can begin to whisper about the possibility of making some noise in a very average-looking ACC through the first two weeks of the season.

Until then, the Terps can enjoy the 2-0 start — already matching their win total from a season ago — but the first two weeks have been played against unconventional opposition.

Starting next week, we’ll see what Maryland is really made of.

“They’re 2-0, and we’re 2-0,” Gloster said. “There is a good rivalry between us. We are just looking forward to the opportunity to be 3-0.”

INJURY UPDATE: O’Brien suffered a sprained ankle, but the injury is not considered serious, according to Franklin. Freshman quarterback C.J. Brown broke his collarbone and will likely be out eight weeks, per Friedgen. Defensive lineman Marcus Whitfield dislocated his patella and will have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.

NOTES: Maryland is off to its first 2-0 start since 2007 when the Terps opened with victories over Villanova and Florida International. … The Terps’ 17 points in the first quarter was the most in an opening quarter since scoring 24 at home against the Citadel in a 61-0 victory on Sept. 13, 2003. … O’Brien’s first touchdown pass came on the first pass attempt of his collegiate career. His three touchdown passes came in his first four attempts. … Freshman running back D.J. Adams led the Terps in rushing with 70 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. … The last time Maryland scored 60 in a game was the win over the Citadel in 2003.

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Maryland-Navy Notebook: Questions remain at quarterback

Posted on 06 September 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Terps will feel good about their 17-14 victory over the Naval Academy — Maryland’s first win since Oct. 3, 2009 — but a plethora of question marks remain for a team trying to rebound from a 2-10 season in 2009.

Perhaps none looms larger than quarterback Jamarr Robinson, who rushed for 92 yards on 12 attempts but completed only two passes for 11 yards.

Despite showing impressive speed, Robinson has yet to show enough consistency in the passing game to instill much confidence that the Terps can significantly improve after a disastrous 2009. In Monday’s victory over the Midshipmen, Robinson tossed an interception from the Navy 19-yard line as the Terps were threatening to add to a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.

“I felt like I could have thrown the ball better,” Robinson said. “We struggled in the passing game, but we came away with the win and that is all that matters.’

Maryland’s plight at quarterback might not be as frustrating if not for the extensive depth it possesses at the wide receiver position. Junior Torrey Smith, a Biletnikoff Award candidate, touched the ball just three times for a total of 11 yards, as the Midshipmen also kicked away from the dangerous returner throughout the afternoon. Adrian Cannon was held to one catch for five yards while LaQuan Williams, Ronnie Tyler, Kevin Dorsey, and Quintin McCree all failed to register a catch.

Of course, production in the passing game takes a backseat when a team rushes for 261 yards on 34 carries, but Ralph Friedgen’s decision to insert Danny O’Brien early in the fourth quarter during a tie game speaks volumes about the uncertainty the coaching staff feels with Robinson at the helm. Despite the change, O’Brien’s fumbled hand-off to Davin Meggett from the Navy 16 paved the way for Robinson’s return after only one play for the redshirt frosh.

The shuffling of quarterbacks, however, is not foreign to Friedgen, as he split time between Turner and Jordan Steffy as early as two seasons ago. The Maryland coach said it was planned to give O’Brien playing time against Navy and reiterated after the game that both quarterbacks would play this season.

“There was a mix-up on [Robinson's] interception,” said Friedgen when asked to assess Robinson’s play. “We’ve got some weapons out there that I’m sure we’re going to be using, but when you only get 39 snaps, that’s the other thing.”

Red zone, dead zone

Efficiency in the red zone is a must for any good football team, but if Monday was any indication, Maryland and Navy may both be heading toward difficult seasons.

The Terps went 3-for-5 in red zone opportunities with Robinson throwing a second-quarter interception from the Navy 19 and O’Brien fumbling from the Mids’ 16 after Tony Logan had snapped off a 57-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter. Maryland cashed in on its three other opportunities inside the red zone with scoring runs by Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett and the go-ahead 24-yard field goal by Travis Baltz.

Navy, however, brought its red zone inefficiency to a new level, going just 2-for-7 inside the 20. The Midshipmen missed a 32-yard field goal, finished three drives with fumbles inside Maryland’s 5-yard line, and sealed their losing fate when quarterback Ricky Dobbs was stuffed by safety Kenny Tate on 4th-and-goal from the Terps’ 1 with 0:34 remaining in the game.

“There’s no consolation in moving the ball,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said after the loss. “The object of the game is to score, and they did a good job keeping us out. We just had some mental lapses. I got out-coached. This is a team loss.”

Double duty for Baltz

Placekicker Nick Ferrara filled in for an injured Baltz last season, so it was only fair for the senior punter to return the favor in the 2010 opener. With Ferrara nursing a groin injury, Baltz handled both punting and kicking duties, making the eventual game-winning 24-yard field goal with 7:50 remaining in the game.

“I tried to mentally prepare myself and when I lined up to kick, I just visualized the ball going in,” Baltz said. “I think my preparation was very helpful for today’s game.”

It was the first field goal of Baltz’s career, and he was also 2-for-2 on PATs. He also averaged 53.0 yards per punt on three tries. Friedgen recognized the senior’s impact by making him a captain for Monday’s game and presenting him with the Crab Bowl trophy after the Terrapins’ win.

Beating Navy

The Terps improved to 7-14 all-time against Navy. Maryland’s last win against Navy had come in the schools’ last meeting, a 23-20 victory at M&T Bank Stadium in 2005.

With Friedgen’s future very much in doubt, Monday’s victory over the Midshipmen may have earned the coach bonus points with newly-appointed athletic director Kevin Anderson. After holding the same position at Army and never beating the Naval Academy during his tenure at West Point, there was little doubt how much satisfaction Anderson took in the Terps’ victory.

“I hope he’s appreciative [of the win],” said Friedgen, earning laughs from reporters in the post-game press conference.

Odds & ends

Meggett’s 67-yard sprint in the first quarter was the longest of the junior’s career. It was also the Terps’ longest run since Darrius Heyward-Bey had a 76-yarder against Clemson on Sept. 27, 2008. Maryland’s longest run last season was a 48-yarder by Scott. … Senior linebacker Alex Wujciak had a career-high 18 tackles and has now recorded double-digit tackles in 18 of his last 23 games. … Tate recorded a career-high 12 tackles, including his stop at the 1 on 4th-and-goal to preserve the victory. … Scott’s 58 rushing yards gave him 1,751 in his career, moving him past Keon Lattimore for 14th on the all-time list at Maryland. … The Terps did not have a pass completion until their first drive of the third quarter. … The announced attendance at M&T Bank Stadium was 69,348.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because they have Moosehead on tap at the new Tilted Kilt in White Marsh, which is about 2 minutes from my house…

beer

They are going to get so sick of seeing me there.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Brendon Ayanbadejo expected to start season on PUP list

Which wouldn’t surprise you at all if you had checked out my “Mocking The 53″ post Tuesday here at WNST.net. I took Brendon Ayanbadejo and Matt Lawrence out of the equation to make the roster, as I expected both to end up either on PUP or off the roster.

I don’t have anything definitive yet on Lawrence, but it remains a safe assumption.

The hope now is that Ayanbadejo can return to play sometime after the first 6 weeks. I’m still not totally convinced of that either, and wouldn’t be stunned if at some point the team was forced to come to an injury settlement with the LB/Special Teams whiz.

Special Teams will be where someone earns a roster spot with Ayanbadejo missing. Jason Phillips’ chances grow significantly; but David Reed, Edgar Jones, Davon Drew, Prescott Burgess, Prince Miller, KJ Gerard and Demetrius Williams could also stand to benefit by separating their special teams abilities.

Defensively, the Ravens will be without a player who had really settled in as a nickel LB and was very good at playing the pass. If you watched Donovan McNabb and Santana Moss Saturday night when the Ravens faced the Washington Redskins; you’d understand why that’s significant.

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says rookie DT Terrence Cody dealing with swelling in knee

And as I mentioned during one of our Ravens reports yesterday, there is no question that a man of Mount Cody’s size would be putting a significant amount of pressure on his knees.

The good news is that it isn’t necessarily structural damage (John Harbaugh pointed out there was a small cartilage issue) and Cody already told us he didn’t expect to miss a game because of the injury.

The bad news is that it is totally possible that the swelling and amount of pain COULD continue for Terrence as the season goes on.

It’s a little concerning, but certainly not frightening. You know what’s frightening? The look on Ray Lewis’ face in this ESPN The Magazine “Faces of the Game” photo…

raylewis

3. Sporting News’ Dennis Dillon says back end of Ravens’ defense ‘shaky’

Anyone interested in arguing this point? Didn’t think so.

You know what DOESN’T look shaky? Karissa Gilham. (Thanks Maxim via The Smoking Jacket!)

gilham

4. The Sun’s Edward Lee says Demetrius Williams, Terrence Cody missed practice again Wednesday

And before we move on from the (on field) Ravens, a couple of things:

-The Ravens return to the practice field at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today, with coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg scheduled to meet with the media. We will have coverage throughout the day on Twitter (@WNST), right here at WNST.net and with Ravens Reports at 12:30 (with Thyrl Nelson) and 4:30 (with Rex Snider) on AM1570 WNST.

-Did you miss Tavares Gooden’s OUTSTANDING chat with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Jason La Canfora (NFL Network)-who went around the league with Drew this morning
  • Andy Behrens (Yahoo! Sports)-who got Drew and I ready for our own Fantasy Football Drafts this morning
  • Our Morning Reaction “Cheap Shots From The Bleachers”-as I took a shot at the new Bud Selig statue in Milwaukee and Drew took a shot at the Dave Trembley interview in The Sun this morning
  • Plenty of Audio from Owings Mills Wednesday-including John Harbaugh, Marc Bulger, Terrence Cody, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Cory Redding, Jarret Johnson and Tony Moll.
  • Frankie Piliere (Fanhouse/Former Texas Rangers scout)-who went around MLB with Thyrl Wednesday
  • Howard Balzer (Sports Xchange)-who checked in with Rex Snider Wednesday from the NFL Owners Meetings in Atlanta

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so once again I’ve planned your day for you. You can send Thank You cards right here at 1550 Hart Rd.

5. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says team introduces “The Baltimore Fight Song” to the tune of old Baltimore Colts song

Here’s the song-as posted by WBAL on YouTube…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55X44bYiXjI[/youtube]

And here are the lyrics to the song…

Baltimore Ravens Let’s go

And put that ball across the line

So fly on with talons spread wide

Go in and strike with Ravens pride

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT

Ravens dark wings take to flight

Dive in and show them your might

For Baltimore and Maryland

You will fly on to victory

It doesn’t come off as the type of song that will inspire a new generation of football fans, but it will CERTAINLY appeal to those who care about the legacy of football in Charm City.

There are some folks that would just as well have “I’ve Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas played after the team scored. If it were “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles, I might not be opposed…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UzZDOBWGro[/youtube]

6. The AP says Matusz tossed gem, Brian Roberts homered as Orioles topped Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field

I’d love to sit here and tell you that I was gripped to MASN2 to watch every pitch from the South Side last night, but I wasn’t.

Of course, during the pitches I was poking my head at on the screen in the corner of my eye-I was impressed. Maybe I should have been gripped to the TV.

Former WNST producer Chris Bonetti once printed out a Tweet from Ken Rosenthal (of FOX Sports fame) that still hangs on our bulletin board. It reads…

“A scout who caught his first look at Orioles LHP Brian Matusz: ‘I would trade virtually any guy on our staff for him. Boy, is he good.”

The guy who pitched last night…he was that guy.

7. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of win

Incredibly, you actually DO want to look at these numbers. Matusz went 7 innings, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 5.

Besides B-Rob’s homer, Matt Wieters went 2-3 with a double, 2 RBI and a run scored; and Felix Pie went 2-3 with a run scored.

Good things all around.

Of course, I can’t allow my system to be ruined-so go check out the numbers and then come right back to check out Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrete, who apparently won the Miss Universe pageant. I say “apparently” because there’s no chance in all hell I actually watched the thing. (Thanks Guyism!)

mexico

8. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Mark Buehrle accused Felix Pie of stealing signs during Birds’ win over Pale Hose

And if he is….I DON’T CARE!!!

I just want Felix Pie to keep playing well. If stealing signs is somehow part of that, STEAL AWAY!!!

Obviously I’m just saying that-but in reality I’d take just about anything for Felix Pie to consistently play well. Whether it’s Buck Showalter, sign stealing, steroids or a deal with Rumpelstiltskin like in Shrek Forever After; just do it.

And maybe do it at the beginning of the season when the games still count…if it isn’t asking for too much.

9. Baysox.com says despite Joel Guzman’s 29th home run, Bowie fell to Akron Aeros on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-Adam Jones was held out of last night’s game after being hit by a Gavin Floyd pitch Tuesday night. He’s not expected to miss an extended period of time.

-After a rehab stint in Bowie, pitcher Jim Johnson is expected to rejoin the O’s this weekend when they face the Angels in Los Angeles or Anaheim or Rancho Cucamonga or wherever the hell they play.

-He told me he was going to wait until after the season to talk, but Dave Trembley talked to The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec this morning. Nothing earth shattering, but might be worth the read. I’m sure he’ll talk to us soon…

-The O’s and White Sox play the rubber game of their weekday series tonight in The Windy City; Jake Arrieta faces Edwin Jackson. First pitch is at 8:10pm and the game can be seen on MASN2.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland having TE troubles, as Devonte Campbell now hurt as well

With Will Yeatman and Lansford Watson already hurt this preseason, this is troubling news for Ralph Friedgen’s team.

Of course, it ISN’T necessarily troubling news for Perry Hall High School alums like Glenn Clark, as this could very well pave the way for former Gators TE David Stinebaugh to see the field on Labor Day against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium.

Matt Furstenburg remains ahead of him, and Patrick would point out that walk-on Ryan Schlothauer is probably ahead of him as well-but I don’t care. If Stinebaugh somehow manages to catch a TD in Baltimore, I’m going to get kicked out of the press box for yelling GAAAATOOORRRSSSS!!!!! at the top of my lungs.

11. UMTerps.com says Terrapins RB Da’Rel Scott named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

And if I were Da’Rel Scott, the first thing I would do is call Krystal Forscutt and find out if this was the type of thing that impressed her. (Thanks NextRound.net!)

krystal

And finally, I leave you with this.

Deadspin (via Gawker) posted this yesterday, and it was pretty funny. It’s a horse race at Monmouth Park featuring horses named “My Wife Knows Everything” and “My Wife Doesn’t Know.” It’s a pretty good call…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQRlZw4Rad0[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because myself, the lovely “Boomer Sooner”, “The Luckiest Dang Roommate on the Face of the Planet” and “The Luckiest Dang Roommate’s Girlfriend on the Face of the Planet” all wandered up to Camden, New Jersey (which might be the single WORST place on the face of the planet) to check out the great Jimmy Buffett.

I would sit here and sing the praises of Jimmy Buffett (and/or the multiple Coronas we downed beforehand), but you already know just how great he is. Instead, I’ll let you know that my personal favorite Jimmy Buffett live song is “Southern Cross”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7Ah-Ch8NQ4[/youtube]

And yes, you ARE allowed to pick a cover as your favorite song to see live. Of course, now that I found out that it is ALSO Boomer Sooner’s favorite song; I think I’m going to have to consider another. I mean, this is still relatively new for me. I can’t let her think that I respect/value her opinion, can I? She’s a girl!

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Birds crushed 4 homers against Justin Masterson, bullpen in win over Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?!?!?!?

Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Matt Wieters and Luke Scott all homered last night (Luke Scott did something on the road?); and the team survived a shaky performance from Jake Arrieta to win their 7th in their last 8.

I don’t know what else to say. The fact is it DOESN’T matter as the team has won 7 of 8 but STILL has the worst record in Major League Baseball-although they’re just a half game in front (behind) of the Pittsburgh Pirates in that race. However, it is really nice to have a stretch like this. They’re not going to win 87.5% of their games the rest of the way; but if they can compete to stay around .500 the rest of the way, we’d all be entertained.

But it still wouldn’t REALLY matter.

What matters is what happens this offseason, and what happens next spring.

But if we’re going to have to watch the games, I guess we might as well be entertained. It’s either this or watching YouTube clips “Come On” highlights from Arrested Development and South Park…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5BMQ-xpTog[/youtube]

Okay, that clip was more entertaining. Sorry to the O’s…

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of another win

By the way, Arrieta’s final line last night was 6IP, 6R (5ER), 6H, 2BB, 3K. I feel like I’m going to hear someone describe his start as “gutty” at some point today.

You know the (new) drill here. You actually DO want to look at the numbers now, which is stunning. Do that, then look at this picture of Nikki Mitchell from The Smoking Jacket/Busted Coverage. Win/win I call it!

nikkimitchell

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Mike Gonzalez, Koji Uehara could take save opportunities from Alfredo Simon

I know Buck Showalter is all about winning games (and trust me, I’m GRATEFUL for that); but I don’t think Uehara makes sense.

Uehara’s 2 year, $10 million deal ends in a month and a half; and I just can’t fathom Andy MacPhail having future plans for him in Charm City. Then again, MacPhail was the guy who gave him stupid money and a stupid promised start in the rotation originally.

If Showalter wants to find out whether or not he has a closer on the roster for next season (and I’m guessing he doesn’t), he should go with Simon and Gonzalez. If he’s just hellbent on making sure Steve in Homeland loses his bet with Drew Forrester; maybe it’s worth taking a shot on ol’ “Sideburns.”

4. Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker says former Mariners manager Wakamatsu could join Buck Showalter’s Orioles staff

Apparently these two have a history that dates back to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and this would be a natural fit. I’d be fine with it, but I’d prefer they go out and get an actual PLAYER from the Emerald City. For example, is Ichiro available?

This of course is part of the question surrounding what the Orioles’ staff will look like a season from now. Few in Baltimore would be saddened to see Terry Crowley depart, but baseball minds will tell you he’s still amongst the better true hitting coaches in baseball. There’s an argument that the young pitchers on the Orioles staff would be better suited to have Rick Kranitz stick around for continuity, but there’s also an argument he hasn’t earned that right just yet.

With no offense to Gary Allenson, T-Bone Shelby or Jeff Datz; those jobs really aren’t significant enough to worry about who handles them. Should Buck Showalter have someone from his past (Toronto Blue Jays 3B Coach Brian Butterfield comes to mind) that he wants to fill the role; that’s fine. Should he decide to keep one or more of the current guys in place, that would be fine as well.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Scott Moore homered in Norfolk Tides’ loss to Indianapolis Indians on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things:

-The Birds and Tribe face off again tonight, with first pitch from the Comeback City at 7:05pm on MASN. Brad Bergesen faces Josh Tomlin-whoever that is.

-Did you miss Hall of Famer Earl Weaver with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Drew and Earl talked about Buck Showalter, the anniversary of Cal Ripken’s MLB debut and much more. Head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Chorye Spoone (Bowie Baysox pitcher)-who joined Drew this morning to discuss his season in the O’s system
  • Orlando Alzugary (WQAM Miami)-who previewed the Miami Dolphins as we continue to preview AFC East teams this week in our look at the Baltimore Ravens’ schedule
  • Purple reports from Westminster with Luke Jones; as well as sound from McDaniel College Tuesday with John Harbaugh, Jameel McClain and Tom Zbikowski
  • Chris Chester (Ravens OL)-who joined Thyrl Nelson following practice Tuesday
  • Ken Singleton (YES Network)-who discussed the anniversary of Cal’s debut and some New York Yankees baseball with Rex Tuesday
  • Ryan Couture (Strikeforce fighter, son of Randy Couture) and Reed Harris (WEC General Manager)-who both joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday during “The MMA Report”

It’s all there in the Audio Vault, meaning once again you have your day taken care of for you. As always, you’re welcome.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Chris Carr, Jared Gaither likely to miss Ravens preseason opener tomorrow night vs. Carolina Panthers

We still don’t know about some of the other question marks on the roster, including Fabian Washington-who could be sat to protect him from the M&T Bank Stadium turf.

If Washington & Carr can’t play, it would be likely that Travis Fisher and Cary Williams would start. Wow.

They could still go out and make an acquisition. For example, I believe Paulina Stanek is available. (Thanks Don Chavez!)

stanek

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Domonique Foxworth underwent knee surgery Tuesday performed by Dr. James Andrews

That’s right, the ugliest name in all of sports medicine-which also so happens to be one of the best.

It’s a long road back from an ACL tear-but there’s no question in my mind that Domonique can handle it both mentally and physically. Because of the timing of it, he should be in good shape to be back in time for Training Camp next season.

In the meantime…umm…does he maybe have a cousin who can come play for the Ravens???

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Shayne Graham, Billy Cundiff to alternate kicks tomorrow night

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things:

-Training Camp is CLOSED to the public (and to the media) today, so if you head up to Carroll County-a trip to Chick-Fil-A will be about your only option. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Luke Jones will still be checking in throughout the day with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider today on AM1570 WNST as we prepare for the Ravens’ preseason opener tomorrow night.

-This morning’s “Training Camp Top 5″ was “If you were to get in a fight with Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the upper deck at Heinz Field, which current or former Ravens would you want on your side?”

Here’s my list:

  1. Orlando Brown
  2. Steve McNair
  3. Bart Scott
  4. Tom Zbikowski
  5. Arthur Jones

Here’s Drew’s list:

  1. Rex Ryan
  2. Kelly Gregg
  3. Ray Lewis
  4. Jarret Johnson
  5. Frank Walker

And via Twitter (follow us @WNST), here’s Nestor Aparicio’s list…

  1. Orlando Brown
  2. Bob Sapp
  3. Sam Adams
  4. James Trapp
  5. Ray Lewis

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins De’Onte Arnett, Taylor Watson to miss Training Camp in College Park

The Terps held their football Media Day yesterday at Byrd Stadium, and you will be able to hear from plenty of players (including Jamarr Robinson, Da’Rel Scott, Alex Wujciak, Poly’s LaQuan Williams, Antwine Perez, Torrey Smith and more) via WNSTv in the next few days/weeks.

It was a slightly awkward day at Media Day yesterday, as the cloud of last year’s 2-10 record and the uncertainty surrounding Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin (the man tabbed to be the program’s next head coach) remains. It will remain that way until (unless?) Maryland turns things around this season.

The other news to come out of Media Day was that LB Avery Murray has left the team for personal reasons, and Zach Kerr & Ronnie Tyler are still in summer school.

Patrick and I discuss Maryland’s O-Line, preview North Carolina and North Carolina State; and get into a spirited discussion regarding Navy football in this week’s “D1scast”-which you can hear now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

10. LA Times’ Chris Dufresne names Navy 24th best team in country

What Patrick and I discussed yesterday surrounded the nature that this is CLEARLY the best team in Annapolis since maybe as far back as the Roger Staubach era; but all of the positive feelings could go away should Ken Niumatalolo’s Midshipmen lose just the season opener against Maryland.

Their schedule doesn’t allow for them to make too much noise the rest of the way (they face other ACC bottom-feeders like Duke and Wake Forest as well as a Notre Dame team that may or may not be a factor in the BCS this season). Should they suffer an early costly loss, it will be hard to maintain a Top 25 (or Top 25-range) status.

That being said, this is a FANTASTIC problem for the Mids to have.

You know who won’t have trouble staying in the Top 25 this season? Sophie Reade. (Thanks Guyism!)

sophie

And finally, I leave you with this.

I named “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” earlier this week on Facebook (you can add me as a friend-just search for “Glenn Clark” and add the goofy looking guy sipping Orange Kool-Aid because he lost a bet to Ed in Park Heights). “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison isn’t just A comeback song, it is THE comeback song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because after a weekend in Ocean City, I spent the evening literally BATHING in aloe vera. I’m not kidding, I think I looked like Justin Bartha in “The Hangover”…

justinbartha

The thing is, it doesn’t hurt until you’re sober.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Miguel Tejada singled home winning run to lift O’s to sweep of Nationals

I didn’t think it was possible.

I especially didn’t think it was possible after Julio Lugo doubled with one out in the 8th and then proceded to get picked off 2nd base by Wil Nieves.

Shows what I know.

I’m well aware that it was the Nats, but it’s still a sweep. Around here, that’s almost as good as winning the World Series.

It’s been particularly nice to see the Birds put together some rallies and come back from early deficits in these games-but it would be nicer to see starting pitchers be a bit more effective. We’ll get back to that.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of sweep

Jeremy Guthrie wasn’t bad yesterday. 6 innings, 3 earned runs on 3 hits with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. He certainly wasn’t GREAT, but he wasn’t bad. Compared to some of the other starting efforts we’ve seen at Camden Yards recently, it was really good.

Only Tejada had two hits amongst Orioles players yesterday, but that’s all that was needed. Maybe these guys are hitting better because Nick Markakis called them out publicly. Maybe they’re hitting better because they know the July 31 trade deadline is coming up and this is their chance to get out of Charm City.

I don’t really care why they’re hitting better. I just want them to keep doing it.

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Buck Showalter told ESPN Orioles have ‘some great pieces’

Yeah…like Markakis…and….ummm….Adam Jones for a week?

Clearly having watched the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks win World Series titles AFTER he left has made Showalter badly want another MLB gig. Of course, if he thinks he’s going to reach that level under Peter Angelos, he’ll probably be disappointed.

You know who DOES have some great pieces? Zaira Nara. (Thanks Guyism/Remix Magazine!)

zaira

4. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Andy MacPhail finally cut ties, DFA’ed Garrett Atkins

I’m trying to figure out the right way to say this. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts were here before MacPhail got here. Adam Jones has been marginally successful. Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta all look like they’re talented but haven’t necessarily shown it yet.

As far as a “face” of the MacPhail era is concerned, umm….Atkins is about as good a choice as any.

This was a failure from Day 1. It represented the fact that the team decided to sign a lesser player instead of going out and actually signing a real impact player. That’s the real impact of the MacPhail era.

Maybe the marketing folks at the Warehouse should put together a “Mt. Rushmore”-type photo of Atkins, Rich Hill, Adam Eaton and Koji Uehara (who returned with the Atkins DFA). Could be a hot seller this Christmas. If I was better at Photoshop, I’d do it for them.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Felix Pie 2-4 with RBI, two runs for Frederick Keys on farm

Me, I’d put Felix Pie on the “Mt. Rushmore”, but someone would try to convince me that his 8 hits earlier this season mean he’s a good player. If Jake Fox was an offseason acquisition, he’d make it for sure. In the meantime, a few more things before we move on from the Orioles…

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”, as selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. “Heath” from Dempsey’s Army is no stranger to the AOTM-but this morning he received the award for citing Fangraphs in opining that Juan Samuel was wrong for trying to have Matt Wieters bunt last week. I don’t often credit Drew for being funny, but labeling a group of people as “Fangraph-sexuals” was pretty damn humorous.

-The Orioles are off today, but return to action tomorrow night opening a 3 game series against the Oakland Athletics at OPACY. Matusz, Kevin Millwood and Arrieta take the hill for the Orioles; Dallas Braden, Ben Sheets and Trevor Cahill go for the A’s.

-Thanks to Joe Sheehan from Baseball Prospectus for joining us this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to talk some baseball. If you missed it, head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other guests this morning were SI’s Jon Wertheim (live from Wimbledon) and UMBC soccer coach Pete Caringi (who went around the World Cup). It’s all up in the Audio Vault.

6. National Football Post’s Matt Bowen says Ravens without Ed Reed would be like Pittsburgh Steelers without Polamalu

As a commenter eloquently scribed after Bowen’s piece (why do all of the good commenters post at NFP?), the Ed Reed situation really IS the “elephant in the room.”

If the Ravens are going to be Super Bowl contenders (and I believe they will be), it is hard to imagine them doing it with Dawan Landry and Ken Hamlin at safety. They need Reed to be some sort of difference maker in the secondary.

My assumption remains that Ed does intend to come back, and will sit out the majority of Training Camp-part for health reasons and part because he probably doesn’t have that much interest in spending his August sweating it out in Westminster.

We know Ed WANTS to return. It SEEMS like he’ll be healthy enough to return. Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that he IS.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says new LB coaches Dean Pees, Ted Monachino making impact in offseason

Maybe so, but even the Arizona State connection couldn’t help Monachino get Terrell Suggs to Owings Mills this offseason.

You know who’s REALLY made an impact this offseason? Wendy Braga. (Thanks Don Chavez/Busted Coverage!)

wendy

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens has Maryland 68th in offseason college football rankings

Boy.

I have had a bad feeling about this Terrapins club since the end of last season.

I know that luck played a role in 2-10 last season. I know that they lost close games throughout the season, and certainly had a chance to beat the likes of Middle Tennessee State, Rutgers, Virginia, Duke, etc. That being said, they still have a real lack of talent at crucial spots (namely O-Line and D-Line), and Jamarr Robinson is unproven at best under center.

There is talent on this team. A team with as many decent running backs (Da’Rel Scott, Davin Meggett, Caleb Porzel, D.J. Adams, Gary Douglas) and WR’s (Torrey Smith, Emani Lee-Odai, Tony Logan, Quintin McCree, LaQuan Williams, Ronnie Tyler, Adrian Cannon, Kevin Dorsey, Kerry Boykins) as Maryland does, they should really be better offensively.

If this IS Ralph Friedgen’s last season in College Park-it COULD be a long one.

9. Testudo Times’ Ben Broman says Eric Hayes will join Washington Wizards’ Summer League roster, Landon Milbourne joins Atlanta Hawks’ Summer League roster

And as I passed along yesterday via Twitter (follow us @WNST), Morgan State’s Reggie Holmes will join Greivis Vasquez with the Memphis Grizzlies’ Summer League team in Las Vegas. I should also know about Jermaine Dixon (who graduated at Pitt but is from Baltimore and is the younger brother of Juan Dixon) and his NBA future later today.

I will obviously be rooting for all of these guys this summer, but understand it will be a longshot for any of them to end up on a roster (other than Vasquez of course). The one thing that could help Hayes or Holmes is if their respective squads just simply want a player who can come off the bench and provide deadly accuracy from beyond the arc. I don’t know how those guys would do defending NBA guards, but I certainly know they can shoot against anyone.

And geez-the ‘Zards have Quinton Ross and James Singleton on their roster. You mean to tell me Eric Hayes isn’t better than THEM?

10. The AP’s Samuel Petrequin says Michael Phelps received ‘wakeup call’ at Paris Open meet

I’d personally prefer my own wake-up call in France to come from Emanuelle Chriqui from “Entourage” (Thanks Barstool Sports!)…

chriqui

And finally, I leave you with this.

I know that Team USA’s loss to Ghana in South Africa really limits the excitement fans have about soccer; but I’ll pass along these YouTube clips anyway for the 4 or 5 of you who haven’t already seen them.

Here’s the epic “world reaction” to Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria. ABC used it in the setup for the Ghana match…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbn3rOPmR9w[/youtube]

Now here’s Andres Cantor calling the Donovan goal…

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

Is the awesome Andres Cantor GEICO commercial available on YouTube yet? I could really use it.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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