Tag Archive | "Jamarr Robinson"

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Terps quarterback O’Brien playing well beyond years

Posted on 30 October 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If you glanced up at the scoreboard Saturday evening, you might have wondered how Ralph Friedgen and the Terps managed to schedule Morgan State for a second time this season.

Maryland (6-2, 3-1 ACC) dominated all facets of the game in a 62-14 victory over a Wake Forest team (2-6, 1-4 ACC) that looked more like an FCS school than an ACC rival. The win makes the Terps bowl-eligible for the first time since 2008 — and after the first 10-loss season in the history of the program.

A soft schedule makes it difficult to figure out how improved the Terps really are — though a 48-point victory over a conference opponent will raise a few eyebrows at least — but the next four weeks will provide a clearer picture with the Terps taking on two teams currently ranked in the Top 25. We have to acknowledge the Terps, at the very least, are winning all the games they’re supposed to, a concept Maryland has struggled with in recent seasons.

Special teams play and and a emphasis on taking better care of the football have been major factors in the turnaround, but there’s no questioning one area in which the Terps have improved dramatically.

The quarterback position, with Danny O’Brien under center.

“He’s very intelligent,” Friedgen said. “He’s like a sponge, wanting to soak up experiences. He doesn’t get rattled if he makes a mistake, which is really quite a quality in a redshirt freshman. I think he’s going to continue to get better. I really do.”

Despite junior Jamarr Robinson beginning the season as the starter, the redshirt freshman O’Brien has seized control of the job more emphatically than any quarterback in College Park since early in the Friedgen era with Shaun Hill and Scott McBrien. He plays the opposite of what you expect from a freshman quarterback, taking care of the football (only three interceptions) and completing the throws the defense gives him (13 touchdowns).

Those three interceptions came in the fourth quarter at Clemson after the Terps had fallen hopelessly behind, eventually falling 31-7 in Death Valley. It was a rare time in which O’Brien looked the part of a freshman quarterback trying to force throws and making mistakes.

Entering Saturday’s game, O’Brien already held the freshman record for touchdown passes (nine) and added to that mark Saturday with four touchdown strikes despite being replaced by Robinson halfway through the third quarter with the game getting out of hand quickly in the second half. It was the most in one game by a Maryland quarterback since Joel Statham — one of several quarterbacks to frustrate the fan base over the last seven years — threw four at Duke on Sept. 25, 2004.

O’Brien finished the day completing 13 of 20 passes for 168 yards with the four passing scores to Torrey Smith, Quintin McCree, Haroon Brown, and LaQuan Williams. The young quarterback completed passes to eight different receivers in what’s becoming a trademark in his performances, diversifying the passing game and using a talented receiving unit that has been underutilized in recent years.

“Just getting into the flow of a game quicker and quicker every week,” O’Brien said. “I’m starting to [play with] more of a rhythm. I’m really confident just because I have playmakers all around me and a line that’s protecting me, so it makes my job pretty easy.”

To say O’Brien has played beyond his years is an understatement, but his performance is not as surprising to those who have watched him closely, especially Friedgen, who considered burning his redshirt eligibility late last season but decided against it. Offensive coordinator James Franklin immediately saw the potential in O’Brien by watching him practice a year ago, often looking like the best quarterback on the field.

Interestingly enough, I first watched O’Brien play in a scrimmage at Byrd Stadium in August 2009. For my money, he was the best quarterback on the field. Better than Chris Turner and Robinson despite having only walked on campus a few weeks earlier.

“He really hasn’t exceeded my expectations,” said offensive coordinator James Franklin. “I had very, very high expectations for him and our entire offense and our team. He’s accurate, he’s got good athleticism. He’s got a lot of the ingredients that we looked for when we recruited him, and all those things have held true.”

The freshman oozes confidence and efficiency for a Maryland offense that was plagued by the turnovers of Chris Turner and Robinson a year ago. The Terps offense now stands at plus-10 in turnover margin after Maryland committed an appalling 24 turnovers in 12 games last season.

That growing conviction has even radiated during his conversations with Friedgen, who shared how certain O’Brien was about beating Wake Forest, the college team he cheered for  growing up in Kernersville, N.C.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I get to name a couple new “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.”

Have you heard the new Kings of Leon CD “Come Around Sundown”? NO? This is no one’s fault but your own. You’re missing “The End”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B-t-WDRuXQ[/youtube]

And in the “retro” category, TGSOATTW is my current Facebook status (add me as a friend by searching “Glenn Clark” and clicking on the best looking guy you find). It’s the amazing “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjNjJR9jUGo[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather fined $50,000 for hit on Ravens TE Todd Heap

The more you looked at the hit, the more you realized he was very deserving of being HEAVILY fined. Meriweather’s hit was ABSOLUTELY in the “cheap shot” realm-the type of hit that the NFL will be looking to lay out a suspension for moving forward.

With Heap having come back into the game Sunday-it appears as though he’s fine and it seems like we can move forward from Brandon Meriweather-gate.

Now-and a tip of the hat here to KDKA in Pittsburgh-the league IS doing something right in cracking down on hits where a player leads with his helmet. In order to that, it is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE and frankly downright SHAMEFUL that they are currently selling this picture of James Harrison’s fine inducing hit on Mohamed Massquoi…

harrison

In their “NFL Photo Store.”

The league should be absolutely ASHAMED.

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says John Harbaugh thinks “execution” cost Ravens in loss to Pats, not “conservative” play calling

Maybe I should just leave this one alone.

Of course…I won’t.

John Harbaugh is ABSOLUTELY right in this case. The Ravens’ failure to execute on big plays-mixed with New England’s consistent execution-were why the Ravens lost the game Sunday.

Sadly, Cam Cameron had nothing to do with Billy Cundiff kicking the ball out of bounds, or Le’Ron McClain’s personal foul, or Tom Brady finding Rob Gronkowski for 24 yards on 1st and 25, or Chris Carr not catching a Zoltan Mesko punt.

Those plays lost the game Sunday.

But that’s the end of it. As of this moment, I’m not discussing it any more.

I promise.

I think.

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Trent Dilfer, Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Michael McCrary, Rod Woodson amongst those expected in attendance for Super Bowl XXXV anniversary celebration Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium

The shame is that the entire team can’t be there. Brandon Stokley (Seattle Seahawks WR) has a game Sunday and Shannon Sharpe, Brian Billick and Tony Siragusa are broadcasting for CBS and FOX. Unfortunately, the Ravens do not have a home game this season that isn’t on a Sunday, so there really isn’t a game where the schedule would work out better.

And I’d like to take this time to honor these guys as well. To do so, here’s a picture of Petra Silander. Thanks Guyism!

petras

4. Washington Examiner’s Jim Williams says annual Ravens-Redskins game possible if NFL adopts 18 game schedule

Which means I’ll have an annual opportunity to be flamed on Deadspin. Count me in!

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens return to work at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today, and we’ll of course be back out there with full coverage. Ed Reed and Brendon Ayanbadejo are scheduled to return to the practice field; and we’re expecting to hear from Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice and others while we’re out there. Stay tuned to AM1570 WNST, follow us on Twitter @WNST and make sure you’re checking WNST.net throughout the day!

-Did you miss Yahoo! Sports NFL analyst Jason Cole Wednesday with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today here at WNST.net to have a listen. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Rich Dubroff (Carroll County Times)-who talked Ravens with Drew Wednesday morning
  • Jay Jaffe (Baseball Prospectus)-who talked ALCS and NLCS with Drew Wednesday
  • Matt Hendricks (Washington Capitals Forward)-who talked puck with Drew Wednesday morning
  • Jamey Eisenberg (CBSSports.com)-who talked Fantasy Football with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Tuesday afternoon’s edition of “The MLB Report” with Rex and Allen McCallum
  • Mike Goldberg (UFC Play by Play Voice)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday on “The MMA Report” to preview Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez Saturday at UFC 121
  • Othello Henderson (Former UCLA and NFL safety)-who joined Thryl Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” after being named as accepting money from Josh Luchs in last week’s SI story

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so make sure you check it out today. Of course you’ll want to thank me later for planning your day. I accept my Thank You’s in the form of CASH.

5. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish won’t be an option for Orioles

Hear that sound? That’s the sound of me ripping up the World Series tickets I had already purchased for 2011.

Eh. Maybe instead Andy MacPhail and the Birds will spend their money on a real pitcher like Cliff Lee. I mean, I know they won’t-but it’s early and I’m tired. I guess I must be dreaming.

While we’re on the O’s, I wasn’t NEARLY as worked up about the Robinson Cano home run last night as some fans were. I giggled thinking about Jeffrey Maier, but it certainly didn’t anger me.

I love seeing the New York Yankees lose-TRUST ME on that. I was grinning from ear to ear. But unless it was Tony Torasco standing in Right Field, it wasn’t going to bother me that the Yanks got a questionable call.

If it had been Tony Torasco; I would’ve walked around Perry Hall Middle School completely dejected today just to remember the feeling.

6. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says O’s prospect Ryan Adams named Player of the Week in Arizona Fall League

Unfortunately, Ryan got the bad news today that winning this award in the AFL DOESN’T mean you get a date with Kimbyr Leigha. Thanks The Smoking Jacket!

leigha

7. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Danny O’Brien to start at QB for Maryland again Saturday against Boston College

And it looks like Ralph Friedgen is going to try to get Jamarr Robinson to learn the “Josh Portis Package”, so hopefully Robinson will actually take some time and learn the playbook.

Sticking with O’Brien seems to be the best way to go for the Terps, as he looks like he’ll give them the best chance to win. My guess is that a win won’t come against a tough Eagles defense Saturday in Chestnut Hill; but he might give them a chance to win next Saturday against Wake Forest.

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says new Terrapins AD Kevin Anderson guaranteed more than $400,000 this season

It’s a little bit more than Debbie Yow was making, but I think that was to be expected. The salary might also say something about why they went with Anderson for the top job in College Park instead of one of the rockstar names (UConn’s Jeff Hathaway, Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione) who probably make more money staying where they are.

I feel like if I were putting together a contract for a significant job, it would read more like a concert rider than it would a real contract.

“Mr. Clark requests 4 Vitamin Waters and a table of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in his suite for every game at Byrd Stadium.”

Sure it would probably cost me some cash, but it would be freaking AWESOME.

9. Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Navy will be without kicker Joe Buckley Saturday against Notre Dame

You don’t expect that this will make a difference against the Fighting Irish, but given that the last three games in the series (including two wins for the Midshipmen in South Bend) have all been decided by six points or less, this clearly COULD have an impact.

The bigger issue will be whether Ricky Dobbs and the Mids’ offense is back on track after a big second half against SMU. If so, this is certainly a winnable game in East Rutherford Saturday.

10. CAASports.com says Towson basketball picked to finish 10th (of 12) in CAA

But there’s good news! Despite being picked 10th, the Tigers still get to look at this picture of Melissa Satta…

satta

And finally, I leave you with this.

Hat tip to Deadspin for this one. Somebody is WAAAY too excited about something that happened in Madden 11. (Language is ABSOLUTELY NSFW!!!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P0yfq2wDvU[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Maryland-Clemson: Turtle Power chat at noon

Posted on 16 October 2010 by Luke Jones

Fresh off their bye week, the Terps travel to Clemson on Saturday afternoon with their sights set on improving to 5-1.

The Tigers (2-3, 0-2 ACC) have lost three straight and are desperate to extract revenge against a Maryland team that stunned them, 24-21, in College Park last season, the Terps’ only conference win of 2009. Clemson has lost its first two conference games against Miami and North Carolina.

Coach Ralph Friedgen has not named a starting quarterback for today’s matchup in Death Valley, a good indication that both Danny O’Brien and Jamarr Robinson will see time under center. Robinson’s injured shoulder is again healthy after the bye, but O’Brien has played well in his absence.

We will see if Maryland can improve to 2-0 in the ACC and make a convincing argument that their current 4-1 record is more an indicator of improvement than a product of a weak non-conference schedule.

We’ll have the Turtle Power chat open at 12 p.m. to talk about the happenings in Clemson (the game airing on WJZ-TV 13 in Baltimore) as well as anything else on your mind. See you in the Turtle Power chat!

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

(And Happy Birthday to the boss-Nestor Aparicio-who Drew Forrester so eloquently described this morning as “looking good for 47.”)

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because tomorrow night is Homecoming at Perry Hall High School; and I can’t wait to see the Gators stomp some Franklin ass!

Ahh Homecoming…a chance to dress up and have your parents snap awkward pictures of you after your girlfriend stabs you in the chest with a boutineer. Speaking of boutineers…umm…why the hell did we ever wear boutineers anyway?

I remember my 12th grade Homecoming…

glennhomecoming

I couldn’t decide what to do with my hair that day-so I just shaved it off. When the girl I was dating at the time (she was a very nice girl named Kristen who-as you can tell-was MUCH too pretty to be dating a clown like me) saw what I had done, I think it would be fair to say she wasn’t exactly thrilled.

How awesome was I though? STX lanyard sticking out of my pocket to show some love for my lacrosse friends…NICE.

I don’t care what you say. 10 years later-that was a sharp look. I hope the PHHS class of 2011 will say the same thing when I’m working for them in ten years.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens not concerned with “Tom Brady Rule” against New England Patriots Sunday

While I have a funny feeling that at some point Sunday in Foxborough there’s going to be a close call that goes Brady’s way-this is OF COURSE the most appropriate response for Ravens defenders to have.

They obviously cannot head up to Gillette Stadium worrying about whether or not officials will be protecting Tom Brady too much. It might happen-but they cannot alter the way they play based on that. As Jarret Johnson said yesterday, players must simply be aware of where they are on the field; and what the appropriate way is for them to make a hit.

But…for snitzengiggles…here’s the “Tom Brady in a dress” picture from my friends at B-More Birds’ Nest that everyone enjoys so bad…

bradydress

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says John Harbaugh ‘still hopeful’ Ed Reed will return next week

Which makes two of us. Probably more than two of us in fact.

While I still wouldn’t be stunned if Reed (and Brendon Ayanbadejo) are held off until after the Bye Week just to get them some more time to prepare; especially considering that the Ravens are playing the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium next Sunday-maybe not the most imposing of opponents.

This would buy the Ravens some more time to make some tough roster decisions-including Jared Gaither of course.

As far as Matt Lawrence is concerned, I have a bad feeling-which was SEMI-confirmed by Harbaugh yesterday-that Matt’s time in Charm City might be coming to a close in the next few weeks.

If so, he’ll always be my second favorite Matt Lawrence, right behind my man “Jack Hunter”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv9VJWh4FOg[/youtube]

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Haloti Ngata (knee), Ray Rice (knee), Le’Ron McClain (shoulder) missed practice Wednesday

Please everyone calm down. As of this moment, there’s no reason for us to think that any of these guys won’t be on the field Sunday. This is the 6th week of the season. Clearly guys are beat up. Sometimes they need a day off.

But if for some reason one of these guys were to miss the game, I’d consider picking up Jessica Jane-Clement if I were Ozzie Newsome. (Thanks Guyism!)

janeclement

4. CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg says Pats not out for ‘revenge’ Sunday

And as Eisenberg rightly points out, some Ravens players are skeptical-including Ray Rice and Chris Carr.

Of COURSE the Patriots will want revenge Sunday. They would want to win against ANY team they’d be playing, but there will something a little more special about playing the team that embarrassed them so badly in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs last year.

This is where the Ravens want to be. They want to be the team that others are measuring themselves against, and are just a bit more excited to face. Speaking of which…

5. ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss says Ravens ‘measuring stick’ for Patriots

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

-We’ll be out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills again today as the Ravens get back on the practice field; coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media before practice. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST), tuned in to AM1570 WNST and checking in at WNST.net for updates.

-Did you miss Ravens OL Scott Kooistra on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester Thursday on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out! Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Plenty of audio from Owings Mills Wednesday-including Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Rice, Ray Lewis, Fabian Washington, Derrick Mason and Johnson
  • Sean Salisbury (“Sean Unfiltered”-Voice America Sports Radio)-who went around the NFL with Drew Thursday
  • Andrew Brandt (National Football Post/Former Green Bay Packers Executive)-who talked Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, etc. with Drew Thursday
  • Pete Caringi (UMBC Soccer Coach)-who previewed the Retrievers’ big Friday night game (which will be seen on Fox Soccer Channel) with Drew Thursday
  • Paul Cantabene (Mustangs Lacrosse Coach)-who joined Drew Thursday for the Stevenson Coaches’ Report
  • Our Thursday Morning “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”-as Drew sent high school athletics a low blow, and Glenn Clark sent a low blow to the end of “Midnight Madness”
  • Joseph Gannascoli (“Vito” from The Sopranos)-who joined Rex Snider Wednesday on “The Afternoon Drive” to talk New York Yankees and MLB playoffs
  • Steve Martin (ACC Network)-who previewed Maryland-Clemson with Rex Thursday
  • Al Seamonson (Maryland LB Coach)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Wednesday for “The Terrapins Coaches’ Report”
  • Howard Stevens (Former Baltimore Colts RB)-who joined Thyrl on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Wednesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so make sure you check it out today…then of course thank me later. (Like Drake said!)

6. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says ‘don’t expect’ Orioles to sign Cliff Lee

Sadly, Cliff Lee costs money.

If he didn’t, maybe he could have a future with the O’s.

That’s not a low blow. It’s just a fact. Thanks Ian Eagle.

7. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says Cesar Izturis has ‘good chance’ of returning to Birds

Hear that? That’s the sound of me POUNDING MY HEAD AGAINST A TABLE!

Instead of getting a Japanese SS, Andy MacPhail should consider Anna Semenovich. I know I would. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

annas

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Ralph Friedgen told media on ACC Conference call that Terps haven’t decided between Danny O’Brien, Jamarr Robinson as starter Saturday at Clemson

At this point I feel like I might end up in the QB rotation Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Ralph is sticking to this “we’re playing both guys” thing, and that’s fine. But someone has to be “THE” quarterback. It’s much less about who is starting to me-much more about who is going to play if the game is hanging in the balance in the 4th quarter.

It’s too easy to say “whoever has the hot hand.”

I’ll say it probably needs to be Danny O’Brien if the Terps are going to win.

9. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Travis Baltz will kick for Terrapins again Saturday against Tigers

And before I move on from Maryland, a reminder that we will be at Comcast Center in College Park this afternoon for Maryland basketball Media Day. We’ll have audio from Gary Williams, Sean Mosley, Jordan Williams and more, so again-make sure you’re following us on Twitter, checking WNST.net and staying tuned to AM1570 WNST!

10. Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Dick Vermeil to present Frank Gansz Trophy to Navy-SMU winner Saturday

And if I played for the Midshipmen or the Stangs, I’d think that was cool.

Of course, I’d probably think it was cooler if it was Taylor Momsen. (Thanks Drunken Stepfather!)

taylormomsen

And finally, I leave you with this.

Dave Matthews Band did a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”? How did I possibly never know?!?!?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i4YyiUHuoM[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because once again I get to name two new “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” The first addition is the “new” addition to the list…”Grenade” by Bruno Mars…he played it on Saturday Night Live and it kicked a little ass…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kfkTJCv4j8[/youtube]

The “retro” version of TGSOATTW? It’s also Lesson 3 for “Boomer Sooner” as I prepare her for her first Dave Matthews Band show in November. It’s “#41″…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEbb621s_GI[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. National Football Post’s Matt Bowen says Ravens, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers all playing better football than any NFC team

At this point, that’s probably true.

My hunch tells me that the only NFC teams that could end up being TRUE Super Bowl contenders would be the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.

The Saints don’t look like Super Bowl contenders right now, but that’s mostly because they can’t run the ball. They’ll get Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush back, and they should be able to run again. The Green Bay Packers can get back on that list should they figure out a way to run the ball-but I don’t see that happening if Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn are the primary backs.

The point is-those three aforementioned teams are the only teams that look like they can stand up next to the three premiere AFC teams-at least the three that have stood out thus far.

The good news for the Ravens is that as of right now-this season is shaping up to be a season about “balance.” In recent years, teams that have won have tended to have the most powerful offenses or simply the best quarterbacks.

Early on this year, the teams that have had the most success appear to be the teams that are the most balanced. If it remains that way, the Ravens should be in good shape.

Of course, we know damn well that things can change quickly in the NFL.

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s John Eisenberg says 4-1 start doesn’t ‘guarantee’ anything for rest of season

Of course not. But if it guarantees that Jamie Edmondson takes more pictures in Ravens gear, than 4-1 was PLENTY WORTH IT! (Thanks SI with tip from Derek Arnold!)

jamieedmondson

3. Boston Globe’s Monique Walker says New England Patriots still remember AFC Wild Card playoff loss to Ravens last season

This was a topic I discussed yesterday during Ravens Reports on AM1570 WNST. There will almost definitely be some level of a “revenge” factor when it comes to the Patriots Sunday. Bill Belichick is a proud man. Tom Brady is a proud man. These are men who will CERTAINLY remember the embarrassing fashion in which they were dismissed at Gillette Stadium in January.

Does that mean that the Ravens will quickly run into a buzzsaw in Foxborough? Not necessarily. But do I think this Patriots team will look at this game with a bit more significance than other games? Sure.

Should I ask another question and follow it up with another quick answer? I think I’ve run the course.

4. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says John Harbaugh, Ravens concerned with Pats returner Brandon Tate

Before we move on from the on-field Ravens, a couple of things…

-Harbaugh apparently reiterated on his radio show last night that CB Josh Wilson’s hamstring injury is not a major concern. I say “apparently” because I didn’t listen to the show personally. How could I? The replay of “The Morning Reaction” was on WNST!

-The Ravens are back in action today at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills. We’ll be out there all day with full coverage; so make sure you’re tuned into AM1570, following us on Twitter (@WNST) and checking back in at WNST.net throughout the day. We’re expected to hear from Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and others before practice.

-And this picture of Ray Rice-which has been passed around Facebook over the last 24 hours (add me by searching “Glenn Clark” and adding the best looking person you find) is kinda awesome…

rayrice

5. SI’s George Dohrmann says former Ravens OT Jonathan Ogden admitted accepting benefits from agent Josh Luchs while at UCLA

The funniest part of the story is Luchs saying that during an entire Janet Jackson concert, J.O. screamed “Janet!” at the stage. Of course, I might do the same thing if she was rocking out a little “All For You”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2KabvvLF7M[/youtube]

For the record, Luchs maintains that he did NOT pay or give benefits to either Ravens TE Todd Heap or LB Terrell Suggs while he was working with Gary Wichard and pursuing them at Arizona State.

Did you miss Josh Luchs with Drew Forrester and Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Wednesday morning on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Dabo Swinney (Clemson Football Coach)-who joined Drew Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” to preview the Tigers’ contest with the Terrapins Saturday
  • Craig Laughlin (Washington Capitals Color Analyst-Comcast SportsNet)-who joined Drew Wednesday to talk some Caps hockey
  • AJ Daulerio (Deadspin Editor)-who joined Drew Wednesday to discuss the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger controversy
  • Ralph Cindrich (Long-time NFL agent)-who joined Drew Wednesday to offer his opinion on the Josh Luchs story
  • Jon Anik (host of ESPN’s “MMA Live”)-who joined Thyrl and John Rallo Tuesday on “The MMA Report”
  • Marcellus Wiley (ESPN)-who went around the NFL with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Dan Wetzel (Yahoo! Sports)-who discussed his new book “Death to the BCS” with Thyrl Tuesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault-so consider today planned. Again. Because I’m awesome like that. Again.

6. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Buck Showalter had surgery Tuesday in Texas, no decisions imminent for Orioles coaching staff

Impossible.

There’s no chance that human injuries could affect a superhuman like Buck Showalter enough that he required knee surgery. I refuse to believe it.

That being said, the handful of folks who are waiting for news about the Birds’ coaching staff will have to keep waiting. In the meantime, MASN passed along that the O’s are apparently interested in Seibu Lions SS Hiroyuki Nakajima.

And you didn’t think Andy MacPhail was going to make the moves necessary to win in 2011. I know you feel stupid now. Hiroyuki Nakajima, babe. What are the dates for the 2011 World Series???

7. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Clemson coach Dabo Swinney prepared to face Maryland QB’s Jamarr Robinson, Danny O’Brien Saturday in Death Valley

Swinney told Drew Forrester this morning that having to prepare for both QB’s makes Maryland particularly tough. Maybe so, but I generally don’t think the Terps can win big games if they try to split reps between two quarterbacks.

They might not do that. They might end up having one real “starter” and a package for the other QB. But it’s totally possible that Robinson and O’Brien could alternate series in James Franklin’s offense. I would prefer the former.

I mean, I would prefer having one REALLY GOOD QB, but sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got.

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terps coach Ralph Friedgen has good recent history at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium

I keep being reminded of Maryland’s win at Clemson two years ago. Maryland probably wasn’t quite as good as their record indicated, but they were able to hang around just long enough to let something goofy happen to help them win. I don’t THINK the same thing will happen Saturday, but it certainly could.

You know what else could happen? Kayla Collins could call me. I don’t THINK it will happen-but it certainly could. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

smokingjacket

9. Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo expects FB Alexander Teich to be able to start Saturday vs. SMU

And with Vince Murray banged up, the Midshipmen could certainly use Teich on the field; as the Mustangs can score points.

They’ve scored at least 21 points in all six of their games, including 35 against Washington State and 42 against Rice. They’re VERY capable of scoring points in the June Jones offense.

The Mids however have scored 14 points or less in three of their five games thus far. It looks like they’ll need to score to win Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. It won’t be easy.

10. TowsonTigers.com says DT Yaky Ibia named semi-finalist for National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy

This is very cool. Cool enough that even Maggie Q should be interested. (Thanks Guyism!)

maggieq

And finally, I leave you with this…

I know everyone’s already seen it-but here’s the Grover/Sesame Street/Old Spice YouTube gem for the 5 or 6 of you that may have somehow missed…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkd5dJIVjgM[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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

Posted on 02 October 2010 by Luke Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logan strikes again

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

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

Plenty of kicks out of bounds.

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

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

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

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

O’Brien struggles in second start

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

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

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

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

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

Injury notes

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

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

Odds & ends

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

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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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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I get to start the week out with the “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” The NEW version of TGSOATTW goes to Eric Church (the song is called “Guys Like Me”) because I saw the dude play Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion with my girl, you know her as “Boomer Sooner”. (Yes, I went to WPOC’s “Sunday in the Country”, live with it.) He’s pretty freaking good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7CsKVSDIcU[/youtube]

And the retro version is also “Sunday in the Country”-related, as it was covered by headliner Lady Antebellum. While they’re very talented and played a very enjoyable show-including a decent cover-Lady Antebellum certainly isn’t Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lWJXDG2i0A[/youtube]

Before we move on-let it be said that the great Free Fallin’ cover of all time was done by John Mayer…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ov0cDPZy8[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ravens WR Derrick Mason has happiness in own hands

I couldn’t agree more.

This isn’t about Cam Cameron finding a way to get the ball to Derrick Mason more. It isn’t about Joe Flacco making sure the ball ends up in Mason’s hands. It certainly isn’t about whether or not Anquan Boldin is showing the proper respect to Mason as far as leadership in the locker room.

This is entirely up to Derrick Mason.

If Derrick Mason needs to be a #1 receiver for a good NFL team in order to be happy, he’s not going to be happy ever again. That time has come and gone. Frankly, he was only still the #1 receiver in Charm City by default in recent years-as there simply wasn’t anyone else in town.

Derrick has done a VERY good job over the years as the #1 receiver in Baltimore. Fans in this area will always be grateful for that. But he isn’t that guy anymore, nor will he be ever again barring some sort of terribly unfortunate injury.

If being a good receiver on a good team is enough for Derrick to be happy, he’ll be fine. If it isn’t, it could be a terribly long season.

But if Derrick thinks that by being a malcontent he’ll become the team’s top receiver again, he’s out of his mind.

I THINK he’s smarter than that.

2. The AP’s Alan Robinson says Pittsburgh Steelers will start QB Charlie Batch Sunday vs. Ravens at Heinz Field

And as I said yesterday on Twitter (follow us @WNST), if I’m the Ravens-I’m okay with that.

With no offense to Charlie Batch, but there’s nothing about him that would concern me if I was Greg Mattison. That doesn’t mean the Ravens don’t have to play good defense on Sunday, it just means he doesn’t present any sort of dynamic level that Ben Roethlisberger or Dennis Dixon could have.

Of course, Charlie Batch can still win football games-especially for a team as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers. We saw that Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s still capable even if he isn’t necessarily dynamic.

But he’s NOT the type of quarterback that should be beating the Baltimore Ravens. Doesn’t mean he won’t, just means he shouldn’t.

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ray Rice took to Twitter to proclaim knee ‘better’

And since this clarifies absolutely nothing, let’s plan on discussing this again tomorrow.

In the meantime, you know who else has knees that look “better”? Sherri Tiara Lansang. (Thanks F-Listed via Busted Coverage!)

lansang

(Edit from GMC: I’m kidding. Who the hell knows if Sherri Tiara Lansang has any knees?!?!?)

4. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall ‘poses repeat threat’ for Ravens

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens return to the practice field today at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills. We will be out there to report on Ray Rice, Cory Redding and EVERYTHING going on today. We’re expected to hear from John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco for sure; as well as conference calls with Mike Tomlin and Rashard Mendenhall. Make sure you’re tuned in to AM1570, following us on Twitter @WNST and checking WNST.net for updates.

-The Ravens HAVE terminated the contract of Trevor Pryce and re-signed safety Ken Hamlin. Stunning news despite the lack of production from Pryce this season. We’ll have more throughout the day on this developing story.

-Did you miss Jim Nantz (CBS) this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Jim and Phil Simms are calling Ravens/Steelers Sunday; and Jim told us they’ll have Ravens/Patriots in Foxborough as well. Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today if you missed it! Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include:

  • Rob Ambrose (Towson Tigers football coach)-who previewed Saturday’s showdown against UMass with Drew Wednesday morning
  • Mike Bires (Beaver County Times)-who updated Drew on all things black and yellow from the Steel City
  • Leonard Garcia (WEC Fighter)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday
  • Dario Franchitti & Will Power (IndyCar Series drivers)-who previewed Saturday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami with Thryl on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Tuesday
  • Gary Graves (USA Today) and Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly)-who talked Ravens and all things NFL with Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” Tuesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault-so enjoy your afternoon. Don’t ever say I haven’t done anything for you…

5. The AP’s Fred Goodall says David Price masterful as Tampa Bay Rays beat Orioles at Tropicana Field to clinch playoff spot

David Price HAS to win the Cy Young Award, right?

I know some folks are going to say “Felix Hernandez leads the American League in everything”…but I guess those people think 13-12 doesn’t matter. I think Hernandez belongs in the discussion, but I’m pretty sure his record would leave him third on my ballot behind Price and Jon Lester.

As far as the O’s are concerned, they got worked over by a really good pitcher last night. That’s going to happen to a lot of teams. If they win one more game this week they’ll avoid 100 losses. I think they’ll do that. Once they do, who cares what else happens?

By the way-spare me the “maybe it was good for the young players to see the Rays celebrate in front of them” stuff, MASN. Who freaking cares? Every player-old or young-wants to be able to pour champagne on their teammates. They don’t need to see it in front of them to understand that.

6. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Brad Bergesen had been pitching really well for awhile until that last night. 5IP, 5ER, 6H, 3BB, 2K. Not good. Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters doubled; but that was about it. Tough night for Adam Jones-he went 0-4 with a pair of K’s.

You don’t want to look at the numbers. Trust me on that. Instead-look at Ancilla Tilia. We’ll still be here when you get back. (Thanks Macenstein!)

macenstein

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli & Bill Chastain say Andy MacPhail, Buck Showalter visited new Spring Training facility in Sarasota

Before we move on from the Birds, a couple of things…

-The Birds and Rays wrap up their 3 game series tonight in St. Petersburg. First pitch between Kevin Millwood and Jeff Niemann is at 7:10pm, the game can be seen on MASN2.

-Apparently they’re giving away 20,000 tickets at The Trop tonight. I’d settle for just having to ever see Dick Vitale again if I were a fan of the Rays.

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland QB Jamarr Robinson “limited”, Danny O’Brien likely to start against Duke

My gut feeling is that this is for the best. The longer Jamarr Robinson can’t play because he’s still recovering, the easier it is for Ralph Friedgen to move Danny O’Brien into the starting QB role long term.

Really, I don’t care WHO plays quarterback. Just don’t lose to the Blue Devils. Not again anyway…

9. The Sun says Cincinnati Associate AD Mike Waddell to be named Athletic Director at Towson today

Here’s what former Bearcats LB Brad Jackson said about the news when we passed it along on Twitter yesterday…

“Towson will definately be better with Michael Waddell as A.D.! He was huge in taking Cincy to next level!”

I hope he’s right.

10. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Hegarty says 1998 Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner dead at 15

In other horse racing news, former Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra has been retired from racing and will be bred to another great champion in Curlin. Must be a nice life there-Curlin.

In other news that’s much more significant to me-here’s a picture of Selita Ebanks. (Thanks Guyism!)

ebanks

And finally, I leave you with this.

Here’s the Katy Perry SNL “Sesame Street” spoof everyone is talking about. Now I’ve passed it along…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qP81EElmWY[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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

Posted on 25 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G

Hear from Friedgen, O’Brien, Franklin and Scott NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net!

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