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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 10 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Virginia @ Maryland (Monday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Teon Kennedy vs. Chris Martin (Friday 9pm from Las Vegas live on ESPN2); High School Basketball: Franklin @ Perry Hall (Wednesday 6:30pm), Perry Hall @ Catonsville (Friday 7pm)

10. G. Love & Special Sauce (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Bootsy Collins (Wednesday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage), Charm City Devils (Saturday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Smithereens (Friday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Rebelution (Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring)

You can’t pay me to say something negative about G. Love. Unless you pay me with money. I’ll lie about anything for money.

I believe Bootsy Collins is a Cincinnati Bengals fan but I’m willing to look past that. I mean, the man did do this…

Charm City Devils are just…just awesome….

I saw Rebelution at Artscape once. Pretty good…

9. George Lopez (Saturday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); “Contraband” opens in theaters (Friday); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Thursday-Monday)

George Lopez is only sorta funny sometimes and while Contraband might be okay I can’t tell you I’m really looking forward to it.

So let’s talk about Restaurant Week. As you know, Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium is one of my personal favorite spots in Baltimore County. What you might not know is that the breakout star of “Monday Night Live” for the 2011 season was the Santa Fe Fries…

I would have taken a picture of a full plate, but there was never a full plate. Never.

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

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

Posted on 13 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

That’s where the good news ends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 01 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Lucian Bute vs. Glen Johnson (Saturday 9pm from Quebec City, Canada live on Showtime); Golf: World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Thursday & Friday 12am, Friday & Saturday 11pm from Shanghai, China live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup Championship (Thursday-Sunday 4:30pm from San Francisco live on Golf Channel);  Soccer: MLS Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals-Colorado Rapids @ Sporting Kansas City (Wednesday 8pm from Kansas City live on Fox Soccer Channel), Philadelphia Union @ Houston Dynamo (Thursday 8:30pm from Houston live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com); Western Conference Semifinals-Real Salt Lake @ Seattle Sounders (Wednesday 10pm from Seattle live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com), New York Red Bulls @ LA Galaxy (Thursday 11pm from Carson, CA live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com); College Soccer: Wake Forest @ Maryland (Thursday 7:30pm Ludwig Field); America East Tournament Quarterfinal: Hartford @ UMBC (Saturday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park); Tennis: ATP Tour Swiss Indoors Basel (Tuesday 10:30am Wednesday & Thursday 11am Friday 9am Saturday 9:30am Sunday 9am from Basel, Switzerland live on Tennis Channel); New York City Marathon (Sunday 9am from New York live on Universal Sports); Canadian Football League: Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Calgary Stampeders (Saturday 4pm from Calgary live on NFL Network); Exhibition Women’s College Basketball: Messiah @ Maryland (Tuesday 7pm Comcast Center), Holy Family @ Maryland (Sunday 7pm Comcast Center)

10. Jay-Z/Kanye West (Tuesday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena, Thursday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Buddy Guy (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live), Marsha Ambrosius (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live); Misfits (Thursday 6:30pm Recher Theatre); Orgone (Friday 8pm 8×10 Club); BoDeans (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Shelby Lynne (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Willie Nelson (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers (Saturday 6:30pm 9:30 Club), Cold War Kids (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Donald Glover/Childish Gambino (Tuesday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Jamey Johnson (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Soulive (Friday 7pm State Theatre); Florence + The Machine “Ceremonials” & Wale “Ambition” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

There’s nothing I can say about HOV and Ye that you don’t already know. I assume they’ll be going HAM on the Civic Center Tuesday night…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdQ0kueR2DU[/youtube]

Marsha Ambrosius comes off to me as sort of a female version of Maxwell. Am I right?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lgbUptkC28&ob=av2e[/youtube]

I feel like “Sabotage” is the track I’m digging most early from Wale’s new record. Someone ask him to play “Everybody Beats Glenn” against me this week on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz8FltiaPJk[/youtube]

Who was the guy that spent the cash for the new FATM record the MINUTE hit iTunes? That was Glenn Clark. Seriously, this band has TOTALLY avoided the sophomore slump issue.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs&ob=av2e[/youtube]

9. Jeff Dunham (Saturday 8pm Patriot Center); Louis C.K.(Friday 7:30pm & 9:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Carlos Mencia (Tuesday 7pm DC Improv), Jim Breuer (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” out in theaters (Friday)

If you’re a Saturday Night Live mark the way I am, you might be willing to check out Jim Breuer…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUjmGSMGUt4[/youtube]

I don’t know that I’m signing off on the new Harold & Kumar flick, but the first one is STILL funny…

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

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 04 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Frys.com Open (Thursday-Sunday 4pm from San Martin, CA live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour Insperity Championship (Friday-Sunday 8:30pm from The Woodlands, TX live on Golf Channel), LPGA HanaBank Championship (Friday-Sunday 1pm from Incheon, South Korea on Golf Channel); Boxing: ShoBox-Sharif Bogere vs. Francisco Contreras (Friday 11pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime); Canadian Football League: Calgary Stampeders @ BC Lions (Saturday 10pm from Vancouver live on NFL Network); High School Football: Calvert Hall @ Gilman (Friday 2:30pm), Parkville @ Perry Hall (Thursday 6pm)

10. Scream Tour: The Next Generation feat. Mindless Behavior & New Boyz (Friday 5:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Trey Anastasio Band (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Herman’s Hermits (Friday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Ben Harper (Tuesday & Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Robert Randolph and The Family Band (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), Boyce Avenue (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Gourds (Wednesday 7pm Club 66 Edgewood); Wale/Big Sean (Thursday 8pm Murphy Fine Arts Center Morgan State); Chris Tucker (Friday 7:30pm & 10:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Blue Oyster Cult (Sunday 8pm State Theatre); Indigo Girls (Sunday 7pm Strathmore); Spin Doctors (Sunday 7:30pm Birchmere), Stephen Stills (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Big & Rich (Saturday 7pm Taste of DC-Pennsylvania Ave), Styx/Ed Kowalczyk (Sunday 7pm Taste of DC-Pennsylvania Ave), Rusted Root (Monday 7pm Taste of DC-Pennsylvania Ave); Bobby Lee (Friday-Sunday DC Improv)

I love Ben Harper and I miss the Innocent Criminals…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saOoA0hCzqY[/youtube]

My friend Robert Randolph has a new disc dropping soon called “Live In Concert.” I believe it’s worth the purchase…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3UOE9Sa6dw[/youtube]

Boyce Avenue doesn’t do many original songs. Instead they regularly do other peoples’ songs better than they can…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5paQ9BwFAgI[/youtube]

If it makes me a chick that I enjoy the tune “Holy Water” by Big & Rich, just help me pick out my lipstick already…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI5e69fg4Cs[/youtube]

9. Maryland Brewer’s Association Oktoberfest (Saturday 11am Timonium Fairgrounds); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds Crownsville); Second City: Charmed & Dangerous (Tuesday-Sunday Center Stage); Pulp Fiction” & “Jackie Brown” available on Blu-Ray (Tuesday); “Real Steel” opens in theaters (Friday), “The League” season premiere (Thursday 10:30pm FX)

Many of the above things excite me.

I’ve already shared my thoughts on RennFest and Second City. I haven’t shared my thoughts on Oktoberfest, but I know it involves these things…

beerbrats

Beer and Brats are two of my favorite things on the face of the planet. Oh…and this too…

wench

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And In Week 4, Maryland Football Reverted Right Back to Maryland Football

Posted on 24 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It was a fun couple of weeks for the University of Maryland football team, wasn’t it?

At one point, everyone in the country was talking about them. They had spiffy new uniforms thanks to the full support of one of the world’s biggest apparel companies in Under Armour.

Coming off a season where they won nine games (including the Military Bowl), they introduced a fun to watch new offense under new Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton. It helped them claim an impressive Labor Day victory over the University of Miami in a game seen by much of the country on ESPN.

Even in a Week 3 defeat at the hands of the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Terrapins mounted an impressive 2nd half comeback that made fans believe they were capable of playing alongside the best teams in the country.

They did it all under new head coach Randy Edsall, just a year removed from leading UConn to a Big East title and Fiesta Bowl appearance. Edsall had done and said the right at every turn since his arrival in College Park, allowing him to receive immediate popularity from the Maryland faithful. Edsall kept the momentum of the new uniforms going by taking to Twitter to announce the teams’ weekly duds. A mostly apathetic fan base was invigorated, with Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium sold out for the first two games of the season.

It was certainly fun while it lasted.

Maryland’s exciting start took a painful turn Saturday, as they were crushed 38-7 by Temple University in front of a less than enthusiastic announced crowd of 39,102. An “announced” crowd of 39,102 if you missed it the first time.

After looking like a “team on the rise”, a “budding national power” or a “program at a turning point” for the first three weeks of the season (which included an early bye following their Monday night win over the Hurricanes), the Terps’ display Saturday could only be fairly described as piss poor.

The team was outgained 425 to 240 by their MAC opponent, including a 285 to 45 advantage for Temple on the ground. The Terps could not have purchased an answer for Temple RB Bernard Pierce, who gauged the Terps for 149 yards and 5 TD’s on 32 carries.  Maryland managed just 14 first downs on the day compared to Temple’s 21. The Owls held the ball for 41:01 while Maryland managed just 18:59 of possession.

Sometimes a game is closer than a final score might indicate. In no ways was Saturday’s thumping any closer for Maryland than the final score indicated. The Terps indeed suffered a good old-fashioned ass kicking at the hands of a Temple program which clearly IS on the rise under the guidance of new head coach Steve Addazio

Just in case I hadn’t yet done a fair job of describing Maryland’s ineptitude in defeat, here are some individual numbers. QB Danny O’Brien completed just 17 of 33 passes for 153 yards and an interception. The Terps’ leading rusher was backup quarterback CJ Brown, who managed 29 yards on the ground after making a late game blowout cameo (he also guided the team’s only scoring drive).

The Terps were equally awful on both offense and defense.

“There’s nowhere to point the finger” OL Andrew Gonnella said after the game. “It’s a team failure and we just have to come back fierce.”

The outcome alone wasn’t the worst part about the game though.

The worst part about Saturday’s game was that for all of the progress it appeared the program had made early in the season, the scene Saturday reeked of familiarity.

Plenty of empty seats? Check. No national interest? Check. Little local or regional interest? Check. Uninspired effort against what was believed to be an inferior opponent? Check. Disastrous result to leave a team 1-2 despite having not played a road game yet on the season? Check.

Yes, Saturday’s game had the stench of Maryland football all over it.

At every turn during Maryland Football’s “rebranding” period, I have stated that nothing they are doing will matter if it isn’t paired with winning.

Without allowing too much publicity to Charlie Sheen, Saturday’s debacle was about as far from “winning” as a team can be.

Edsall went into full coach-speak mode again after the defeat, saying things like “we’ll get better and we’ll move forward”, “nobody said it was gonna be easy”, “we’re not gonna use any excuses” and “it’s their duty and their obligation to go out there and play as hard as they can for 60 minutes.”

But it will take much more than coach-speak to truly change the culture of a program that has simply failed to find relevance for the better part of its history.

The coaching staff and the uniforms are different, but nothing has truly changed yet in College Park.

Edsall was right in describing Saturday’s loss as “embarrassing.” It was absolutely was.

And for a program hoping to make strides and truly find themselves “on the rise”, the embarrassment proved Maryland football still has an incredible amount of work to be done.

-G

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

Posted on 17 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

It’s a fairly well known story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They just needed something a little more “Reich.”

-G

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

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All Eyes on Terps in Season Opening Win Over Miami

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All Eyes on Terps in Season Opening Win Over Miami

Posted on 06 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — “You know while the Yankees always win, Frank?”

“‘Cause they have Mickey Mantle?”

“No, it’s ’cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes.”

While I will spare you from going into the details of two mice falling into a bucket of cream, I will tell you that the above line (from the movie Catch Me If You Can) rang in my head over and over during the University of Maryland’s season opening 32-24 win over the University of Miami Monday night at a sold out Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

The exchange between Frank Abignale Sr. and Frank Abignale Jr. set the tone for the son to use elaborate distractions while committing major international check fraud crimes.

The only thing fraudulent about the Terrapins’ victory was their red zone offense, but I’ll save those crimes for another day.

After unveiling some 32 new Under Armour uniform schemes at an elaborate campus event a few weeks ago, the Terps managed to cause a bit of an internet firestorm. The attention (and the positive and negative feedback that came with it) served as great publicity for UA founder Kevin Plank (a former Terps special teams ace) and for the football team itself. While the attention surrounding Monday night’s season opener was mostly about the fallout from the Nevin Shapiro scandal in Coral Gables, the Terps did manage to generate some interest with the question “what will they wear”?

After warming up in more traditional colors before Monday night’s season opener, the Terps returned to the locker room and (with the help of a number of Under Armour reps) changed into some unique duds.

uni

Not even amongst the 32 prior combos, Under Armour’s “PRIDE” uniform placed the colors of the Maryland state flag quite prominently on the team’s helmets, shoulders, gloves and cleats.

Within moments of the team’s appearance on the ESPN broadcast, Twitter and Facebook were on fire with reactions. Reactions came from far and wide, with even icons like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony sharing thoughts about them.

Certainly not all of the thoughts shared were positive.

The game practically played a supporting role to the uniforms from that point on. While Abignale Sr. believed less focus was on Mantle than the unis the Bronx Bombers donned, I can say with certainly less focus was placed on the debut of new Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall or the performance of quarterback Danny O’Brien (31-44 for 348 yards with a TD and a pick) than the team’s gaudy threads.

The team itself didn’t find out what they would be wearing into the contest until earlier in the day.

“You should have seen today in the team meeting. We came over and had a walkthrough, (then we went) back and had a Special Teams meeting” Edsall said after the game. “I talked to the guys for a little bit, I said ‘I’ve got two things I’ve gotta show you.’ I put a video on, (we) showed them a highlight-type video and then we had a video that had the uniforms, because they hadn’t seen them. You should have been in that room when this video came on that Under Armour did-that they played when we came out. I think we blew the roof off the hotel. Those kids were so excited.”

“It’s about the pride” Edsall added. “They’re playing not only for themselves, but they’re playing for every Maryland player that went through this program. They’re playing for every person in this state. That’s what we’re trying to build.”

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A Final Week of Private Workouts As Draft Season Nears Culmination

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A Final Week of Private Workouts As Draft Season Nears Culmination

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

We’re less than a week away from the kickoff of the NFL Draft (Thursday night-8pm-ESPN & NFL Network), but we’ve already seen the end of Private workout season, as the Ravens hosted their final private workouts this week.

Now GM Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz, Head Coach John Harbaugh, Owner Steve Bisciotti, Team President Dick Cass, VP of Football Administation Pat Moriarty and the entire scouting staff will be involved in the process before the team makes their first pick.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU), Jeremiah Masoli (Ole Miss), Ricky Stanzi (Iowa), Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford), Shaun Chapas (Georgia)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama), Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech), Mikel Leshoure (Illinois), Darren Evans (Virginia Tech), Stevan Ridley (LSU)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska), Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State), DeMarcus Love (Arkansas), James Brewer (Indiana)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor), Will Rackley (Lehigh)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State), Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona), Aldon Smith (Missouri), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Sam Acho (Texas), Ryan Winterswyk (Boise State), Christian Ballard (Iowa), Ricky Elmore (Arizona)
DT-Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State), Alex Wujciak (Maryland), Akeem Dent (Georgia), Justin Houston (Georgia)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida), Will Hill (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami), Ras-I Dowling (Virginia), Richard Sherman (Stanford), Brandon Burton (Utah), Curtis Marsh (Utah State), Chris Culliver (South Carolina), Buster Skrine (Chattanooga)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 456-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indy
Parts 8, 9 & 10-A look at players who participated in early Pro Timing Days
Part 11-Players the Ravens have shown direct interest in

The Baltimore Ravens (obviously) made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects-all of whom have been shown special attention by the Ravens during Draft season. (Reported by WNST.net, National Football Post, Carroll County Times, Baltimore Sun, Pro Football Weekly or others.)

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, NFL.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DT Corey Liuget (Illinois)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlprPUyKL8M[/youtube]

It might have surprised some to see that Liuget had visited Owings Mills for a meeting with the Ravens. The team has PLENTY of depth on the D-Line (with the exception of rush end). Behind Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg and Cory Redding, the team has the likes of Brandon McKinney, Terrence Cody, Arthur Jones, Lamar Divens and Kelly Talavou to play the position.

Liuget remains an intriguing prospect. He’s an outstanding gap filler at 6’2″, 298; and even managed eight sacks during his career with the Fighting Illini-five of those coming in 2010.

Liuget is expected to come off the board as early as the mid-teens in the first round. Should he fall, the Ravens would find themselves with a difficult decision-as it would be hard to imagine they have many players higher on their board than a player with Liuget’s ability.

Liuget has been a steady riser during Draft season. The Ravens have to be impressed by the fact that he’s capable of playing in both the three and the five technique-and his Pro Day workout in Champaign was reportedly quite impressive.

He might not seem to fight an immediate need-but he simply can’t be ruled out as the Ravens’ first round choice.

CB Justin Rogers (Richmond)

justinrogers

If you’ve been following my Draft updates, you should be well aware of the Ravens’ issues at Cornerback.

Josh Wilson, Chris Carr and Fabian Washington are slated to become unrestricted free agents. Cary Williams is an exclusive rights free agent. Domonique Foxworth missed the entire 2010 season due to a torn ACL.

The team is going to have to address the defensive secondary SOMEHOW during the offseason-by retaining their own players or adding new ones (or more likely a combination of both).

Rogers recently visited 1 Winning Drive, giving the Ravens a chance to take a better look at the CAA prospect. His size (5’11″, 180 pounds) is not exceptional, but his 4.40 Pro Day 40 time certainly is.

His Spiders career was certainly exceptional as well, as he finished his four seasons with 12 interceptions (three of which were returned for touchdowns.) He showed himself plenty capable of being a matchup corner-albeit against FCS competition.

He’s not going to come off the board until Saturday. Most pundits believe the team will have picked a corner before then-but it doesn’t rule out the possibility that the team could still add Rogers.

LB Akeem Ayers (UCLA)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J36hhdBm9QU[/youtube]

The Ravens certainly aren’t the only team that has shown interest in Ayers, as half the league (or more) has hosted the former Bruins backer. But it doesn’t change the fact that the interest in Ayers from General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the team is genuine.

That being said, Ayers isn’t a perfect fit for Chuck Pagano’s defense. While he’s shown an ability to get after quarterbacks (11 sacks during his career in Los Angeles), he can’t be fairly expected to be a true “rush backer.”

Of course, the Ravens already have one of those players in LB Terrell Suggs, so they’re really only in need of a complement to T-Sizzle.

Ayers is a more complete standup backer, as he added 6 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) to his numbers at UCLA. He has mammoth size (6’3″, 254 pounds) and pretty good speed to boot (4.69 40 at his Pro Day).

As the Ravens look to address their rush early in the draft, they’ll have to decide on whether they’re looking for more of a down lineman or a stand-up backer. My guess is that they’re looking for more of a hybrid-as it will allow them to keep LB Jarret Johnson on the field significantly-but slide a rusher back in obvious passing situations.

Ayers likely won’t stick around until the team’s 2nd round choice (at 58). The team will probably have to pull the trigger at 26 or miss out.

(Ayers joined Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST Thursday, that chat can be heard in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)

G/C Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State)

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

If selected by the Ravens, Wisniewski would not be the first Wisniewski to play Pro Football in Charm City.

His father (Leo Wisniewski) was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft. His family tree is rooted in NFL tradition, as his uncle (Steve Wisniewski) was an eight time Pro Bowl guard for the LA/Oakland Raiders and still an assistant O-Line coach for the team.

Clearly football is in his blood.

The Ravens could be well served to add the 6’3″, 313 pound interior lineman to their O-Line. Wisniewski played more Guard in Happy Valley, but many teams believe he will be a Center at the NFL level.

The Ravens have flux at both positions, as G Marshal Yanda is a restricted free agent-but could be asked to return to OT should unrestricted free agent Jared Gaither depart. While C Matt Birk decided to return this season, he is widely expected to be playing in his final NFL season. G/C Chris Chester is also a restricted free agent, but isn’t widely viewed as a “Center of the future” type.

Wisniewski is likely to be a Friday night pick. It would be easy to imagine new Offensive Line coach Andy Moeller rooting to add a player with the bloodlines of a Wisniewski.

DE Robert Quinn (North Carolina)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqJrjwjf55c[/youtube]

The word “interesting” doesn’t even begin to describe Quinn as a NFL Draft prospect.

Quinn is likely better known for his off the field history coming into his pro career than he is for his on field ability. He was suspended for the 2010 season after the NCAA determined he had lied to investigators about receiving improper travel accommodations and jewelry.

When asked how the scandal could affect Quinn (and former UNC teammates Marvin Austin & Greg Little) at the Ravens’ annual Pre-Draft Luncheon, Newsome pointed out the Ravens had an advantage because Pagano was the DC in Chapel Hill back in 2007.

Quinn is widely believed to be a Top 10 talent in this year’s draft class-but the off field trouble has left in doubt where he will end up being selected. That’s where the Ravens come in. Should he continue to fall, the team would have the opportunity to select him at 26th or even consider moving up a few spots to get him.

Quinn has the physique of the type of rush end the Ravens are interested in adding to their defense. He’s 6’4″, 265 pounds and has really good speed (4.59 40 at his Pro Day). In two seasons with the Tar Heels, he tallied 13 sacks-11 of which came in 2009.

As well as addressing the off field trouble, the Ravens have to determine whether or not the year off will also hurt Quinn on the field.

If he slides, it will be awfully difficult decision on whether or not the team should take the chance.

LB Jonathan Cornell (Mississippi)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCO9L3kFDrg[/youtube]

Despite the fact that only a few players in the history of the NFL have even been worthy of being mentioned in the same SENTENCE as future Hall of Fame LB Ray Lewis, the words “heir apparent to Ray Lewis” tend to get thrown around frequently during Draft season.

It ultimately is never fair to any Inside Linebacker the Ravens select, which Tavares Gooden has found out in recent years.

Gooden, Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain have failed to nail down the WILL LB spot next to the perennial Pro Bowler, and Jason Phillips hasn’t been able to work his way on the field regularly. We also know Lewis won’t be around forever…even if it feels like he might be.

At 6’1″, 236 pounds; some scouts are going to label Cornell as “undersized.” Of course, some of those same scouts said the same thing about that former Miami Hurricanes LB in 1996. Cornell certainly showed an ability to make tackles, finishing his Rebels career with 215 tackles and eight sacks. His 4.76 forty time at his Pro Day in Oxford had to be considered at least a bit disappointing.

There’s no guarantee that Cornell gets drafted at all. Ellerbe and McClain both made the team’s roster out of Training Camp after not being selected. The Ravens will be a bit more hamstrung in the late rounds of this year’s Draft, as they will be unable to sign undrafted free agents until the NFL’s labor dispute is resolved.

With that in mind, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company will know that it might be more necessary than ever to not risk exposing a player like Cornell to a prolonged post-Draft free agency period.

DE Jabaal Sheard (Pitt)

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

Sometimes a team finds red flags in a player that concern them as they make a decision in whether or not they should be drafted.

Other times a team finds positive attributes that make the decision to draft the player a true slam dunk.

In the case of Sheard…well…there’s…both? From the Carroll County Times…

“He was arrested last summer for felony aggravated assault and resisting arrest after an altercation in a bar where he threw a man through a glass door. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, was ordered to apologize and pay medical bills. He was suspended from the team for two weeks as well as internal discipline.

He was awarded a medal for bravery years ago for helping an elderly woman escape from a burning home.”

When not getting arrested or helping elderly women from their homes, Sheard has been a hell of a pass rusher for the Panthers. He’s tallied 19 sacks over the last three seasons, and is viewed as a player who could stand up or put his hand in the dirt at the next level.

Sheard is a beast of a man, measuring in at 6’3″, 264 pounds and clocking in with a 4.68 forty time at the Combine. Scouts have been impressed with his bull rush abilities and the way he handled double teams when teammate Greg Romeus got hurt in 2010.

The Ravens are expected to address DE/OLB early in the Draft. Sheard is unlikely to stick around until the 58th pick and might not be a stretch at all should he come off the board at 26.

WR Greg Little (North Carolina)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHwr7WlO77E[/youtube]

So remember all of those things I said about Quinn? Let’s repeat them for Little.

It’s hard to imagine how the year off will affect him, but we do not it took away an opportunity for him to prove himself as a superior pass-catcher.

Little played just a season and a half at receiver after starting his ACC career at Running Back. He finished his UNC career with 1,774 yards of total offense and 12 combined touchdowns. But the only numbers scouts can really use in considering his potential NFL ability are his 62 catches for 724 yards and five TD’s in 2009.

Ironically, Little has good size (6’3″, 231 pounds) but only decent speed (4.51 forty at the Combine). Unfortunately, he’s never really established himself as an outside or over the top receiver, so teams are hard pressed to determine whether or not he’ll be able to be much more than a slot option.

The Ravens probably have receivers like Little on the roster already. He’s similar to Anquan Boldin, certainly thicker than Derrick Mason. The team will have tough decisions to make with unrestricted free agents T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth, but neither are really expected back in Charm City next season.

The team is more likely to think big and fast when it comes to receiver upgrades, as they desperately need to stretch the field vertically and extend the field horizontally. The team could use more than one receiver in their upgrade process, which could be where Little fits the picture.

If the team doesn’t go receiver early in the Draft, they could certainly consider grabbing Little on Friday night and trying to use free agency (which should be coming…eventually) to add a superior playmaker to their corps.

G/C Mike Pouncey (Florida)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klPDvs5vvAM[/youtube]

One AFC scout said this to me about the predicament the Ravens could find themselves in when it comes to Pouncey at 26.

“Well…they’d have to take him…they couldn’t afford the risk of him joining his brother in Pittsburgh.”

Clearly that doesn’t ACTUALLY mean the Ravens would have to select Pouncey at 26, but it is a tough decision they’d face. The Ravens have struggled to get consistent pressure on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger over the years, which has allowed for Pittsburgh to dominate the AFC North. Every decision they make this offseason must be made knowing the road to the Super Bowl will go directly through the Steel City.

Should Mike Pouncey join his brother Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers’ O-Line would clearly become that much stronger. It would also make the Ravens’ road to Super Bowl XLVI even more difficult.

That being said, the Ravens’ interest in Pouncey isn’t solely based on keeping him out of Pittsburgh. Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron would be well served to add a player of Pouncey’s size (6’5″, 303) and ability to his O-Line. Pouncey is more likely to begin his career at guard than center; and the Ravens could ultimately shift Yanda to tackle should Gaither depart and stick with Pouncey at RG. The move would also give them a potential “center of the future” should Birk retire following the season.

Most scouts believe Pouncey isn’t quite as NFL ready as his brother was, but it’s hard too many rookies being as NFL ready as his brother was. Few scouts doubt the fact that Pouncey is an outstanding talent however, which is why he could go off at the board at 26 or earlier.

Head Coach John Harbaugh spent real time with Pouncey at the NFL Combine. The other head coach Pouncey said he spent real time with in Indy?

Mike Tomlin…of course.

K Kemar Scarlett (Morgan State)

kemarscarlett

Scarlett gained attention in recent weeks after a lengthy ESPN.com profile and an appearance with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST recently. (That interview can be heard in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)

The Ravens visited Scarlett’s Pro Day over on Hillen Road, but make no mistake-they’re very happy with their own kicker (Billy Cundiff) and they have no interest in Scarlett or any other kicker available in this year’s Draft. It’s certainly a refreshing change for Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg after the last two offseasons.

That being said, Scarlett had a nice career for the Bears; connecting on 27 of 34 field goal attempts, including two 47 yard boots during his senior season.

Scarlett will have an opportunity to play football professionally…it just isn’t going to start with him hearing his name called in the NFL Draft.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Auto Racing-NASCAR Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (Sunday 1pm from Martinsville, VA live on FOX); Golf-PGA Tour Shell Houston Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Humble, TX), Champions Tour Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm, Sunday 7pm from Biloxi, MS live on Golf Channel), LPGA Tour Kraft Nabisco Championship (Thursday & Friday 12pm, Saturday & Sunday 4:30pm from Rancho Mirage, CA live on Golf Channel); Horse Racing: Florida Derby (Sunday 5pm from Hallandale Beach, FL live on HRTV); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Henry Lundy vs. Patrick Lopez (Friday 9pm from Mashantucket, CT live on ESPN2); Arena Football: AFL Jacksonville Sharks @ Tampa Bay Storm (Friday 8pm from Tampa Bay live on NFL Network); Women’s College Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Elite 8 (Tuesday from Philadelphia & Dallas live on ESPN), Final Four (Sunday from Indianapolis live on ESPN)

10. Lil’ Wayne (Sunday 7pm Verizon Center); Sara Bareilles (Sunday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Mike Doughty (Friday 9pm IOTA Club & Cafe); Tim Reynolds (Friday 8pm & 10pm Blues Alley DC); Blue Man Group (Wednesday-Sunday Warner Theatre); YES (Monday 8pm Warner Theatre); Judah Friedlander (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Radiohead “The King of Limbs” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I just saw Weezy at 1st Mariner Arena. It was a great time. I especially liked the part when he re-enacted that scene from “Beetlejuice”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7tOAGY59uQ[/youtube]

I used to like Soul Coughing. Now I like Mike Doughty. If you listen to “The Morning Reaction” (and give me one reason why you wouldn’t!), you might be familiar with him…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qktIKYZJYs8[/youtube]

Tim Reynolds is pretty much an unofficial member of Dave Matthews Band at this point. I’m sure you’ll understand why…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf1j1zrnxss[/youtube]

I’m not nearly the Radiohead fan that some folks are. But if the stuff on their new record is as good as this, I might get back on the bus…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKd06s1LNik[/youtube]

9. Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival (Friday & Saturday Timonium Fairgrounds)

The first time I went to Beer Bourbon BBQ I ended up looking like this…

bbb

Yep…that’s me…probably a few pounds ago. I’m the one on the left.

Is there anything else you need to know about the event?

8. NBA: Miami Heat @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Charlotte Bobcats (Sunday 6pm from Charlotte live on Comcast SportsNet)

There’s a LeBron James joke in here somewhere…but I’m much too lowbrow.

So instead…the Wizards suck.

Oh-but the ‘Zards have Javale McGee, who tends to be good for a highlight a night in the midst of his team getting their asses handed to them. Again.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKEoJ1MxEkE[/youtube]

7. Tennis: ATP Tour & WTA Tour Sony Ericsson Open (Tuesday 11am live on Tennis Channel, Wednesday 1pm & 7pm live on ESPN2, Thursday 1pm live on ESPN2, Friday 1pm & 7pm live on ESPN2, Saturday 12:30pm live on CBS 3pm live on Tennis Channel, Sunday 1pm live on CBS)

So…did anyone else see the Top Spin 4 commercial with Serena Williams???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SQjR11L34c[/youtube]

Umm….I….ummm….I think I need a glass of water here.

6. NHL: Carolina Hurricanes @ Washington Capitals (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Columbus Blue Jackets @ Washington Capitals (Thursday 7pm from Verizon Center live on VERSUS & Comcast SportsNet), Buffalo Sabres @ Washington Capitals (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet & NHL Network)

If you care about the Caps, there are two WNST Moosehead Puck Buses this week. I encourage you to hop aboard.

I don’t like Washington and don’t care about the Caps myself, so I have other hockey-related thoughts to share.

I’m headed out to Phoenix this week for a quick vacation. It’s just too cold here. I’m very excited because I get to see the Coyotes Friday night. (They’re playing the Colorado Avalanche.) As I’ve said before, I root for the ‘Yotes because we never had a team in Charm City.

I just found out yesterday that Friday night is Ilya Bryzgalov bobblehead night. I’m FREAKING OUT…

bryz

I actually think I might wear his old mask to the game…

bryz

5. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos” premieres (Wednesday 9pm SpikeTV); Strikeforce Challengers: Justin Wilcox vs. Rodrigo Damm (Friday 11pm from Stockton, CA live on Showtime)

Don’t ask me why-but for some reason Holly Madison’s show “Holly’s World” gets recorded on the DVR at my house.

Like I said, don’t ask.

But the show was on recently (I’m not sure who was watching it-I mean, it couldn’t have been me, right?) and Dana White was sitting with Holly discussing business ideas.

You’re asking yourself “Glenn, why in the hell are you writing about Dana White chatting with Holly Madison in the MMA category of this post?”

It’s simple. There’s a girl on that show named Jayde Nicole. I can now post a picture of her. There had to be a reason…

jayde

4. Soccer: Team USA vs. Paraguay (Tuesday 8pm from Nashville live on Fox Soccer Channel); MLS: DC United @ Colorado Rapids (Sunday 7pm from Commerce City, CO live on Galavision)

I assume we’re going to anoint Juan Agudelo the savior of American soccer because he scored a goal Saturday night against Argentina and he’s only 18 years old.

It’s probably wildly unrealistic.

But ehh…we need something about American soccer to get excited about. Agudelo for savior!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3NFWNjUoE[/youtube]

3. College Lacrosse: Loyola @ Ohio State (Saturday 1pm from Columbus, OH live on AM1570 WNST); Hofstra @ Towson (Saturday 12pm from Unitas Stadium on ABC2 & ESPN3.com); Big City Classic: Johns Hopkins vs. North Carolina (Sunday 4pm from East Rutherford, NJ live on ESPNU); Maryland @ Virginia (Saturday 12pm from Charlottesville live on ESPNU); Navy @ Georgetown (Friday 7pm Kehoe Field); Marymount @ Stevenson (Saturday 4pm Caves Athletic Complex)

The Greyhounds are headed out to face Ohio State, huh? Maybe while they’re in town they can get their picture taken with Jim Tressel!!!

tressel

If they pay an extra 30 or 40 bucks, maybe he’ll even look at the camera! (Thanks Deadspin!)

2. Pro Wrestling: WWE Wrestlemania 27 (Sunday 8pm from Atlanta live on Pay-Per-View)

I don’t care what else happens at Wrestlemania Sunday night. I only care that The Rock will be there. Life is good.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV0bDp8Du2Q[/youtube]

1. College Basketball: NCAA Tournament Final Four-Kentucky vs. UConn (Saturday 6pm from Houston live on CBS), Butler vs. VCU (Saturday 8:45pm from Houston live on CBS); National Championship Game (Monday 9:21pm from Houston live on CBS)

These things we know….

A-The NCAA should be ashamed as they watch Jim Calhoun and John Calipari square off Saturday night.

Absolutely ASHAMED.

B-The entire country will be rooting for whoever wins the Butler-VCU game on Monday night.

C-We love Jim Nantz around here…but Gus Johnson should ABSOLUTELY be calling these games. Check out his Funny or Die and then this piece of football awesomeness…

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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First Round of Pro Days in Draft Season Books

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First Round of Pro Days in Draft Season Books

Posted on 17 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

No matter what happens in Washington DC or courtrooms in Minnesota or the NFLPA offices; NFL Draft Season is moving forward.

After the Combine, Draft season has now progressed with Pro Timing Days, as players work out in familiar settings on their own college campuses. Some Pro Timing Days have gotten a ton of publicity (like Auburn’s, which aired on ESPN3.com), others have gone virtually unnoticed outside of the local market (Maryland held their Pro Timing Day in College Park Wednesday).

The Baltimore Ravens continue to send scouts to Pro Timing Days during the NFL lockout, a group lead by General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn), Dion Lewis (Pitt)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 4, 5 & 6-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects who have already held their Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

CB Brandon Harris (Miami)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0yjcu9CJvc[/youtube]

Harris has been a bit of a faller ever since the end of the Hurricanes’ regular season.

He struggled in the Canes’ Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame. He measured in an inch shorter (5’10″) than his listed height in Indy. He lost an inch on his vertical between his stop at the combine and his Pro Day in Coral Gables.

That being said, he’s been linked to Charm City by a number of mock drafts-both by fans and experts.

Harris measured in at 5’10″ in Indianapolis, and posted an exceptional 4.46 in the 40 yard dash.

He excelled in man coverage during his time under Randy Shannon, playing much above his height. The Ravens would have to believe he can translate that ability to the next level for him to be a real fit in Chuck Pagano’s defense.

Harris is a borderline 1st/2nd round pick. He could go anywhere between 20 and 40. With the Ravens sitting at 26, there’s no question that he’ll be a legitimate consideration.

LB Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Ckjltk9Ic[/youtube]

The bad news? Sheppard’s disappointing 4.76 40 at his Pro Day in Baton Rouge was particularly troubling for scouts who envisioned him moving to an outside linebacker position at the next level.

The good news? The Ravens would more likely be looking at Sheppard as an inside linebacker prospect given the inability for Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain or Dannell Ellerbe to look down a starting job in the 3-4 scheme and the long-term reality of Ray Lewis’ age. If his time hurts his stock with some teams, it could make him available to a team like the Ravens later in the Draft.

Sheppard measured in at 6’2″, 250 pounds in Indianapolis. His biggest strength is tackling in space (he combined for 228 tackles between his junior and senior seasons), but he progressed during his senior season enough that he was able to record four sacks and force two fumbles for the Tigers.

Sheppard is a late Friday night or early Saturday at this point. He’s a good player who lacks elite speed. He’s roughly the same size as Lewis. And here’s a note from his LSU bio…

“Undisputed team leader for the Tigers as a senior in 2010 … Known for his fiery pre-game speeches to the team”

Sounds like he might be a fit.

DE D’Aundre Reed (Arizona)

dreed

I was chatting with Arizona DE Brooks Reed at the Combine-and it came upon me to ask him what it was like going through the Draft process with a teammate like Ricky Elmore.

His response caught me off guard.

“Yep, it’s great to be able to have Ricky with me…and D’Aundre Reed.”

My head couldn’t quite get around it. D’Aundre Reed was at the Combine?

Sure enough-despite starting just eight games for the Wildcats, Reed has been getting a bunch of attention during Draft season.

It isn’t because of his numbers. During the last two seasons in Tucson, Reed tallied just 54 tackles and four sacks.

That being said, Reed has good size (6’4″, 258 pounds) and managed to shave his 40 time down to 4.75 at his Pro Timing Day.

There’s certainly no guarantee that he’ll be drafted, but he’ll be an intriguing prospect both late Saturday and after the draft is over. He may a bit more like Cory Redding than Trevor Pryce, but could be an interesting developmental prospect for the Ravens.

OT Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HG8AW-S198[/youtube]

With the news that Ravens assistant O-Line coach Todd Washington was closely watching Sherrod at the Bulldogs’ Pro Day, there has been some buzz in town surrounding the 6’5″, 321 pound tackle.

We all know the Ravens have O-Line needs. OT Jared Gaither and G/T Marshal Yanda are unrestricted free agents. Head Coach John Harbaugh has not hid from the fact that he wants to see Yanda return to guard and Gaither back at RT.

That’s all well and good, but there are a number of moving parts involved-not only due to free agency but also due to the health of Gaither. With Andy Moeller set to begin his first season as O-Line coach, the team could do well to obtain another mammoth bookend tackle.

After not running in Indianapolis, Sherrod clocked in at 5.29 at the MSU Pro Day in Starkville. He’s clearly behind Gabe Carimi in terms of being the most sought after tackle in the draft, but he’s in the mix with the likes of Nate Solder and Anthony Costanzo just behind that.

He’ll likely be available at 26. He probably won’t be available a round later when the Ravens pick again. Depending on how the first round plays out, Baltimore could be a destination for the big man.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0xi0eaaP7I[/youtube]

I understand how 40 times can change between the Combine and Pro Day.

I absolutely do NOT understand how a player like Rodgers can go from measuring in at 5’5 7/8″ inches in Indianapolis and then 5’7″ in Corvallis just weeks later.

Even with the extra inch and an eighth, a team interested in Rodgers would be looking simply for a Ray Rice type of back who is capable of producing solid yards per carry on the ground but can be involved in the passing game to a significant extent as well.

That might not make him a fit in Baltimore-as the Ravens already have a Ray Rice (whose name just so happens to be Ray Rice), but might be looking to revamp their backfield with an impending departure of Willis McGahee, and a potential departure in unrestricted free agent FB Le’Ron McClain.

Rodgers is well known for combining with his older brother (WR James Rodgers) to make the Beavers a very explosive offense over the last few seasons. He posted an impressive 1,471 yards of total offense and 17 TD’s in 2010-which was considered a disappointment after 1,962 yards of total offense and 22 TD’s in 2009.

Clearly the season ending injury his brother suffered and the departure of QB Sean Canfield went into the statistical drop Rodgers suffered as a junior before leaving school.

Rodgers wouldn’t address the Ravens’ backfield needs, but he could be an interesting addition late Friday or early Saturday if Newsome and company believed they could further address the backfield issues later in the offseason (if there is any later in the offseason this year).

WR Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63lbmKiBWl0[/youtube]

Jernigan was a clear beneficiary of participating in drills at the Trojans’ Pro Day last week, with the most significant bump coming in his 40 yard dash.

Jernigan was clocked at 4.46 at the Combine, but shaved that number down to 4.32 at his Pro Day.

Jernigan was a consistent target during his four years in Troy, catching 262 balls for 3,128 yards and 18 touchdowns. Critics will (fairly) point out that those numbers were tallied while playing Sun Belt conference competition, and that can’t really be ignored.

Yet most mock drafts see Jernigan as a Friday night selection; where the Ravens could be looking for wide receiver help if they don’t address the position in Round 1.

Jernigan’s 5’9″, 185 pound frame does not give him ideal size to stand out in a receiving corps that already features average sized receivers like Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. But the team will be looking for a speed receiver option, as Donte’ Stallworth never really found his way into Cam Cameron’s offense a season ago and is a likely departure as an unrestricted free agent.

Getting down to 4.32 at Pro Day could be a big step in proving to scouts (including those in Baltimore) that he has a realistic future as a speed receiver in the NFL.

OG/OT Danny Watkins (Baylor)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVyyt5-S88E[/youtube]

Watkins is a VERY intriguing prospect for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is believed that Watkins is more likely to be a guard at the next level, despite playing LT at a very high level following the departure of former Bears and now St. Louis Rams tackle Jason Smith.

Second, Watkins has a strange story. He grew up in Kelowna (British Columbia), Canada. (He was actually selected by his hometown BC Lions last year in the CFL Draft.) He didn’t play football in high school, instead choosing to play rugby and hockey. He just began playing football three years ago at Butte (junior) College in California and played just two seasons in Waco.

Third, he’s 26 years old. That certainly hurts for some teams who are looking for long term prospects, and his lack of experience might be a detriment to a team who would draft him believing his age made him more pro-ready.

With all of that said, the general consensus is that Watkins is still an early Friday selection. He’d be more valuable to the Ravens as a tackle; but could provide a better option than Chris Chester at guard should the team choose to keep Yanda at RT. The Ravens held a private workout with Watkins in Texas this week, so there’s clearly interest.

And if Watkins becomes a Raven, perhaps his previous career as a firefighter could somehow help? Perhaps?

WR Niles Paul (Nebraska)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmFt10el-m4[/youtube]

Paul shaved his time in the 40 down to 4.42 at his recent Pro Day in Lincoln, .03 seconds faster than the time he posted at the Combine.

But the questions most scouts have about Paul don’t really have much of anything to do with his speed.

The real question is whether or not he’s capable of being an elite receiver at the next level. And it’s certainly a relevant question considering he never posted particularly prolific numbers during his career with the Cornhuskers.

Paul had a good year in 2009, catching 40 passes for 796 yards and four touchdowns; but those numbers fell in his senior season when he grabbed 39 balls for 516 yards and just one score.

Paul’s best value is as a returner, as he tallied nearly 2,500 yards and three TD’s over his last three seasons as the Huskers’ primary return option.

David Reed and Lardarius Webb appeared to get comfortable as the team’s kickoff and punt returners respectively last season, but they certainly haven’t solidified themselves in positions where they couldn’t be unseated.

Paul measured in at 6’1″, 224 pounds at the Combine. His senior season was cut short by a foot injury that will certainly be a concern for any team wanting to consider him.

While not as short as Jernigan, Paul’s size probably wouldn’t allow him to stand out in the Ravens’ receiving corps either-as he’s basically the same size as TJ Houshmandzadeh, who is certainly a question mark to return as an unrestricted free agent.

QB Andy Dalton (TCU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY_J_w4oQfc[/youtube]

If there was any hope that the man who surpassed Sammy Baugh as Texas Christian’s all time winningest QB could somehow slip far enough to be a consideration for the Ravens on Saturday, those hopes have probably been dismissed by his performances thus far during Draft season.

Dalton had an exceptional Pro Day according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, completing 49 of 52 attempts-with two of his incompletions the result of dropped passes.

Dalton is no stranger to the word “exceptional”, as the four year starter finished his career with more than 10,000 passing yards and 71 touchdowns…and a particularly significant Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin.

His 6’2″, 215 pound frame and solid arm will be beneficial to SOMEONE in the NFL…it’s just unlikely to be the Ravens. Joe Flacco is THE quarterback; the team could just be looking for help behind him with Marc Bulger an unrestricted free agent.

RB Mark Ingram (Alabama)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7b6kJwvhN4[/youtube]

If Mark Ingram never played a snap in the NFL, it wouldn’t keep him from being able to write a book about his life to this point.

His father (Mark Ingram Sr.) helped the New York Giants win Super Bowl XXV, but was eventually incarcerated due to charges of bank fraud and money laundering. He remains in prison to this day and is not scheduled to be released until 2014.

The younger Ingram has overcome his father’s troubles in a big way, becoming the Crimson Tide’s first ever Heisman Trophy winner and leading his team to a BCS National Championship Game win over Texas in Pasadena back in January of 2010.

After an incredible 2009 season in which he compiled 1,992 total yards of offense and 20 TD’s, a knee injury delayed the start of his 2010 campaign. A “down” year in 2010 still resulted in 1,157 yards of total offense and 14 TD’s.

Ingram is considered a slam dunk first round pick, especially after getting his 40 time down into the range of 4.5 at his Pro Day in Tuscaloosa following a disappointing 4.62 at the Combine.

The Ravens are unlikely to look to grab a 5’9″ back in the first round, but Ingram’s availability could challenge their “best player available” philosophy. They DO need backfield help even if they have more pressing needs.

There’s also a certain General Manager in Baltimore who has a particular affinity for former Alabama players.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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