Tag Archive | "Davin Meggett"

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Meggett, Chism Amongst Terps Set to Work For Scouts Wednesday

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Thirteen former Terps will work out on campus for the pro scouts

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A number of former Maryland football players will work out for the professional scouts Wednesday on campus.

There will be 13 seniors from last season’s team demonstrating their ability in a number of drills including the vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, 60-yard shuttle and 40-yard dash.

  • Cameron Chism
  • Tim Downs
  • Webb Dulin
  • Anthony Green
  • Maurice Hampton
  • Desmond Haynes
  • Trenton Hughes
  • Tony Logan
  • Quintin McCree
  • Davin Meggett
  • Daniel Thomas
  • Ronnie Tyler
  • Shaquan Virgil

Offensive lineman Andrew Gonnella is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and will not be able to participate in the event.

Meggett has already been under the microscope with the pro scouts. He attended last month’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis and played in the East-West Shrine Game which was held in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Chism attended the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif., but did not play due to an injury.

Senior bios:


Pro Timing Day is closed to the general public.

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Vellano Named Terps MVP At Annual Banquet

Posted on 11 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

Vellano and Gonnella take home the hardware

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland officially capped the 2011 football season Sunday afternoon at Stamp Student Union with its annual banquet.

The Terps said a final goodbye to 16 student-athletes who completed their eligibility in Randy Edsall’s first season as head coach.

Despite having a roster made up of mostly players from the state of Maryland, it was a pair of New York natives who collected the most hardware.

Joe Vellano led the way by taking home three awards. The junior from Rexford, N.Y., was named the Ray Krouse Award winner as team MVP, best defensive player and top lineman.

Vellano racked up 94 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, four pass breakups and two fumble recoveries this season. He was a first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference choice and a second team Walter Camp All-American.

Gonnella, a native of Monroe, N.Y., secured the George C. Cook Memorial Award for the senior with the highest grade-point average and the C.P. “Lefty” McIntosh Public Service Award.

Gonnella’s final season was cut short due to a knee injury suffered against Georgia Tech (Oct. 8).

Seniors Austin Walker (top special teams performer), Tim Downs (Alvin L. Aubinoe Award as the unsung hero) and Trenton Hughes (A.V. Williams Award for Outstanding & Conspicuous Sportsmanship) also picked up awards.

Davin Meggett, who ranks seventh on the Maryland career rushing list (2,411), was named the team’s top offensive player.

Johnny Holliday, who just completed his 33rd year as the play-by-play voice of the Terps, served as master of ceremonies for the event.

2011 Maryland Football – Postseason Team Awards

Top Special Teams Performer – Austin Walker

A.V. Williams Award for Outstanding & Conspicuous Sportsmanship – Trenton Hughes

George C. Cook Memorial Award for the senior with the highest GPA – Andrew Gonnella

George Boutselis Memorial Award for letterman with the highest GPA – Ryan Schlothauer

Alvin L. Aubinoe Award as the unsung hero – Tim Downs

C.P. “Lefty” McIntosh Public Service Award sponsored by Don & Terry Wilson – Andrew Gonnella

James M. Tatum Award for Lineman of the Year – Joe Vellano

Dr. John E. Faber Award for Iron Man – Kevin Dorsey

Most Valuable Offensive Player – Davin Meggett

Most Valuable Defensive Player – Joe Vellano

Ray Krouse Award for Most Valuable Player – Joe Vellano

Distinguished Contributor Award – Larry and Cheryl Grabenstein

Captains Award – Andrew Gonnella, Davin Meggett, Kenny Tate, Joe Vellano

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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.


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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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.


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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Two More Preseason National Award Lists for Terps

Posted on 16 July 2011 by WNST Staff

Meggett placed on Doak Walker watch list; O’Brien on the Davey O’Brien list

DALLAS – Davin Meggett and Danny O’Brien, both expected to be keys for the Maryland offense in the fall, earned spots on preseason national award lists Friday.

Meggett was named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award (top running back in country), while O’Brien was placed on the preseason list for the Davey O’Brien Award (nation’s top quarterback).

A 2011 consensus preseason All-ACC choice, Meggett ranks 20th in school history in career rushing yards (1,515) and his 14 career rushing touchdowns are tied for 17th. The senior from Surrattsville, Md., led the team with a career-high 720 rushing yards in 2010.

Handing off to Meggett in the fall will be O’Brien who was the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and a 2011 consensus preseason first team all-league pick.

The sophomore from Kernersville, N.C., saw action in all 13 games last season, posting a 7-3 mark as a starter. He ranked fifth in the FBS among freshmen in passing efficiency (134.5 rating) and threw for 2,438 yards, the sixth-best effort for a first-year player in ACC history.

O’Brien, who is already on the watch list for the Maxwell Award (top player in the nation) is one of three quarterbacks from the ACC on the 38-man Davey O’Brien list, while Meggett is one of five league running backs among the 51 players on the Doak Walker list.

The O’Brien Award list will be narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Oct. 24 and three finalists on Nov. 21. Ten semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award will be announced on Nov. 11.

The winners of both awards will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 8.

To view the complete watch list for the Doak Walker Award go to:


To view the complete watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award go to:


Terp Notes:

Uplifting Athletes Raises Money for Charity: Maryland’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit organization, held its second annual `Lift for Life’ event Tuesday in order to raise money to fight cystic fibrosis, a deadly disease which affects near 30,000 Americans. Almost the entire team participated in a number of strength and conditioning drills with donations totaling nearly $9,000 as of Wednesday, which is almost triple last year’s output. Funds will be donated to the Boomer Esiason Foundation which helps cystic fibrosis research. For more information, go to: http://www.umterps.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/071311aab.html

An Evening with Randy Edsall: The Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards will hold ‘An Evening with Randy Edsall’ on Monday, Aug. 1. The event is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and includes a program surrounding Edsall’s career and his plans for the Maryland football program. For more information, go to: http://www.baberuthmuseum.com/press/homenews/index.html?article_id=218

Upcoming Dates for Maryland Football

· July 24-25 – ACC Media Day in Pinehurst, N.C.

· Aug. 4 – Edsall preseason news conference (time TBA)

· Aug. 8 – Players report to preseason camp

· Aug. 9 – First day of preseason practice

· Aug. 16 – Media Day (time TBA)

· Sept. 5 – Season opener vs. Miami

– Terps –

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Terps Safety Tate Continues to Receive National Attention

Posted on 09 July 2011 by WNST Staff

Senior placed on watch list for Nagurski Trophy Friday; Eight Terps on preseason All-ACC teams

DALLAS – Kenny Tate earned his second honor of the week Friday as he was placed on the watch list for the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is award annually to the nation’s best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

On Tuesday, Tate, a 2010 first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, was placed on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which also honors the top defender in the nation.

The senior, one of 14 ACC players on the 87-man preseason Nagurski list, is expected to key a Maryland defense which has seven starters back from last season, including all-league defensive lineman Joe Vellano and linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who had 88 tackles in 2010 and is a preseason all-conference choice.

Tate, who moved from safety to linebacker in the spring, was among the more productive defenders in the nation a year ago.

He led the ACC and tied for 15th in the FBS in forced fumbles (0.31 per game/four). Tate was also the second-leading tackler in the ACC among defensive backs (7.7 per game) and posted 100 stops on the season, the first Maryland secondary player in 10 years to reach that mark.

Tate, who also had three interceptions and 3.5 sacks in 2010, was on the spring watch list for the Lott Trophy, which honors the top impact defensive player in the country.

Players may be added or deleted from the Bronko Nagurski Watch List during the season. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists on Nov. 17. The annual banquet will be on Dec. 12 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

For more information on the Nagurski Watch List go to:


Terp Notes

Terps Aid Uplifting Athletes: The Maryland Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will hold its second annual “Lift For Life” event Tuesday. The strength and conditioning competition begins at 3:30 p.m. and will feature members of the Terrapin football team. “Lift For Life” will be held on the practice field adjacent to Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The Maryland Chapter of Uplifting Athletes has chosen to help fight cystic fibrosis, a rare disease that affects near 30,000 Americans. The chapter’s goal is to donate any contributions made by spectators and fans at the event to the Boomer Esiason Foundation for cystic fibrosis research. For more information, go to:http://www.umterps.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/063011aaa.html

Eight Terps Earn Preseason Conference Honors: Eight Maryland football players were placed on preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference teams this summer in a variety of publications. Danny O’Brien, Kenny Tate, Joe Vellano and Tony Logan highlight the list as all four were consensus first-team choices. In addition to being a first team All-ACC selection, Lindy’s also had O’Brien as the league’s MVP in 2011. Other Terps receiving preseason All-ACC consideration were Cameron Chism, A.J. Francis, Demetrius Hartsfield and Davin Meggett. The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) preseason all-league team will be announced during the ACC Football Kickoff (July 24-25). A complete list of the Terps’ preseason honors to date, can be found here: http://www.umterps.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/070811aad.html

Upcoming Dates for Maryland Football

· July 24-25 – ACC Media Day in Pinehurst, N.C.

· Aug. 8 – Players report to preseason camp

· Aug. 9 – First day of preseason practice

· Aug. 16 – Media Day

· Sept. 5 – Season opener vs. Miami

– Terps –

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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.


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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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