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The 15-7-0 > The BCS

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The 15-7-0 > The BCS

Posted on 05 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

15 Positive Observations…

1. Oklahoma State looked REALLY good Saturday night. It’s a shame it didn’t really matter at all.

I tried explaining to everyone it wouldn’t matter if the Cowboys blew out Oklahoma Saturday night in Stillwater. Every time someone asked a question like “what if the Pokes win by a score of 50-0?” I responded with a simple “it won’t matter.”

I was right. Louisiana State will face Alabama again in the BCS Championship Game and OSU will get to watch after playing Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.

It’s a shame, as Oklahoma State certainly looked like a team capable of making things interesting in New Orleans on Saturday night. The shame is that their Bedlam rivalry win was marred by 13 fans being injured when they rushed the Boone Pickens Stadium field. It’s also a shame the Big 12 Champs aren’t Bayou bound because we’d all like to see more of Mike Gundy dancing…

2. With that in mind, does anyone think LSU is losing in the BCS title game?

It’s not that I don’t think highly of Oklahoma State (or Alabama), it’s just that the Tigers have been pretty dominant. See Badger, Honey.

It appears as though Tyrann Mathieu’s punt return TD shouldn’t have counted, and he actually had another return later in the game that didn’t result in a TD that was more impressive. But this was still a lot of fun to watch him run all over the Georgia Dome field in the SEC Championship Game.

It’s awfully early, but I’ll go ahead and call a Tigers win over the Crimson Tide in the title game. Just going out on a limb without having to at all. All balls, that Glenn Clark. At least that’s what my 4th grade teacher always said.

3. Tim Tebow is in first place. Since he won’t say it, I will. “Suck it, haters.

I picked the Denver Broncos to beat the Minnesota Vikings on “The Friday Football Frenzy” this week; but I gave myself an out. “If Von Miller doesn’t play the Broncos lose” I said.

What I didn’t know is that the great Tim Tebow had the “throw a 41 yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas while running out of bounds” in his repertoire…

Tim Tebow is better than you. And thanks to an Oakland Raiders loss we’ll get back to later in the game, he’s in first place in the AFC West.

Some Tim Tebow haters won’t give it up, including Merrill Hoge. He told the New York Post that Tim Tebow hasn’t proven anything because he hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Yep. That’s solid analysis. Well done sir.

Since we’re here, here’s this humorous picture of Matt Willis and Willis McGahee.

And also, this is apparently a photo of a fetus (or unborn child if you will) Tebowing. If you don’t want to look at it, don’t. I have no idea what I’m looking at myself.

4. Through one week, everyone who said “TJ Yates will be fine because he has Arian Foster” is right.

Of course, I was not in that camp so I feel like a bit of a silly goose.

The Atlanta Falcons had a great chance to make a move in the NFC Wild Card race, but they couldn’t contain Arian Foster in a loss to the Houston Texans.

I don’t have any (legitimate) highlights of the Texans’ win, but I DO have a video of Tommy Lasorda dropping a TON of F-Bombs in an old interview. Does that interest you???

5. I believe the pythagorean theorem somehow helped deliver West Virginia to the Orange Bowl. Clemson got there the old fashioned way.

The Mountaineers barely held on to beat South Florida Thursday night in Tampa Bay, claiming part of the Big East title-apparently the part that gets you to Miami.

Clemson on the other hand finished a season sweep of Virginia Tech (we’ll get back to them) in the ACC Championship Game. They totally earned their spot in the BCS. It’s a neat change of pace.

The Tigers and ‘Eers will get together in an Orange Bowl showdown that absolutely no one will be interested in. Except maybe this girl…

But I don’t really think of her as much of a sports expert when you think about it.

Oh-and apparently the appropriate way to celebrate a Clemson ACC title is to “fromble.” I had a lot of beers when I was in college. I didn’t know a damn thing about this…

6. Perhaps Chris Johnson really was worth a ton of money after all?

CJ2K has gone over 100 yards three times in his last four games, a feat he accomplished just once in in his first eight games.

That would be better if you were confused while playing along at home.

It was 153 yards and two TD’s Sunday as the Tennessee Titans topped the Buffalo Bills, a team I SWEAR had been good at some point during their existence…

Things get a BIT more difficult for the Titans next week, as they battle the Saints in Nashville. They find themselves still alive in the AFC South race but also still in the AFC Wild Card mix. AND they’re in the mix for the Cotton Bowl. Or something like that.

7. I don’t think much of the New York Jets, but I enjoy watching anyone beat the Washington Redskins.

The Jets scored 3 TD’s in the final five minutes of Sunday’s game at FedEx Field and got big plays from Aaron Maybin to avoid the upset.

A few things to giggle about here.

One-If the Skins manage to win two of their last four games this season, Mike Shanahan will manage to tie the great Jim Zorn’s record through the first two seasons! Big stuff!

Two-Washington’s Fred Davis and Trent Williams are suspended for the next four games for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. I don’t think the substance has been officially announced, but I think I have a guess…

(Continued on Page 2)

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Terps Football Tanked

Posted on 01 December 2011 by Tom Federline

Tough first year down there at College Park for Randy Edsall. Even tougher on Terp fans. Two wins  – Towson State (it will always be Towson State to me) and “It sucks to be U” (minus 8 players, 4 starters) Miami. Ten losses –  accented buy numerous collapses.  None worse than the last game of the season, 56 – 41 trouncing by NC State. West Virginia and Clemson were busts. The NC State game was deplorable. Outscored 42 – 0 in the last 20 some minutes, during the last game of the year. Ouch! The  Terps may not have had the talent, but to lose those three games the way they did, is lack of leadership and coaching.

Edsall needs to recruit “his type of player”. Forget that out for now. Bottom line – you are not any type of coach, I do not care at what level, to allow your team  and university to be embarrassed. There are going to be tough weeks. There is going to be that game when you are totally dominated. Unfortunately for Maryland fans, except for the Miami game, Terp football was seemingly dominated the entire year. At times, it appeared as if the University of Maryland was fielding a good High School or Division III football team and throwing them out there on a field with professionals. Fourth quarter came, Terps went south, opponents surged. Edsall and his coaching staff looked like they were a deer in the headlights. And unfortunately that tranferred down to the players.

We can’t discount Edsall yet. Remember they are not “his” players. There were many injuries. There were changes off the field. I’m sure his “disciplined ball player” approach was and is a tough sell. Most of those “student athletes” weren’t ready to go to class, maintain grades and wear ball caps with the brim facing forward. The cream will rise to the top and the thugs will fall. There were positives amongst the majority of negatives: Joe Vellano – ACC First team DT , Demetrius Hartfield – ACC Honorable Mention LB, Matt Furstenburg TE and Davin Megget RB - effort.

 

 Joe Vellano – one the reasons to catch Terp Football next year.

Edsall isn’t going anywhere, he has a nice contract and the buy out would evidently crumble 8 more varsity sports at UMCP. Uh-oh don’t get me started on that one – definately a subject for another blog. We should give Edsall some time - change is not always welcomed at first. But yo, Randall – bag the 300 different uniform color combinations, gain the respect of your players and if you’re not going to get in the faces of those youngsters, then get some coaches with guts who will.

For the naysayers and goofballs calling for Edsalls head already, all I have to say are two names: Mark Duffner and Ron Vanderlinden. Their first years record (2-9), second year (2-9 and 3-8), third year (4-7 and 5-6). Ok, I’ll stop, I’m getting bad chills. I hope down the line, I do not cringe when I hear the name Randall Edsall. After that NC State game, I was doing a little more than cringing. The Terp football coach isn’t the only one having a tough first year. How about that new AD? Man, he’s running tops in my book. The new sherif in town takes out 2 coaching icons, watches one program tank, the other on the brink of bottoming out and then eliminates 8 varsity sports programs due to lack of funds. You go Kevin Anderson – what’s your scam? What’s your fix? Bottom out and build up? That is one approach. Was it self-inflicted or did you inherit the mess? Time will tell.

“With change, you will find purpose.” Randy Edsall should purposely get his act together. Because right now he definately does not have the “Moves Like Jagger” – (Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera). He has done failed round 1. I believe he has 4 rounds left. Personally, I’m still wondering what happened with Mike Leach? Now there’s “old school”. I’m not one for the “passive” approach. Was hoping Terps would hire Mr. No Nonsense Texas Tech.

Tough to be a Terp sports fan at the moment. But let’s end with postives: Womens Field Hockey, Womens Basketball, Mens Wrestling………………. and don’t forget mens/womens swimming, track and field, mens tennis, etc. whoops there’s that subject for another blog again. Terpland in need of help. Come on Turgeon – another uphill battle.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Tough Times for Transitioning Terps

Posted on 01 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

 

It’s simply not easy being a Terps fan these days. From the maiden voyage of the SS Randy Edsall which has been mercifully docked for the season a tattered shell of its modest former self to the cutting of 8 sports to the anticipation of a bumpy road ahead for the basketball team, the fans are up in arms and AD Kevin Anderson is likely beginning to feel a bit of heat with little to redeem his brief tenure thus far yet plenty of fodder to indict with. 

 

That said, the thought that Mark Turgeon would have an easier transition in filling the shoes of the legend Gary Williams than Randy Edsall would have in filling Ralph Friedgen’s old post was all buy unfathomable just 7 or so months ago. Yet that is seemingly just what has happened.

 

Edsall’s win/loss record is one thing, but the fact that he has done little to endear himself to the fans or media stands in stark opposition to the school’s proclamation that Friedgen’s failure to attract ticket buyers was at the heart of his dismissal. To that end, Edsall is failing miserably.

 

Turgeon on the other hand saved Nick Faust, the biggest remaining recruit in the Gary Williams cache and then quickly went about stocking the cupboard for 2012. As the Terps’ devout and astute fan base has taken notice, Turgeon will get a pass this season. Turgeon will get a pass that is; as long as he simply says and does the “right things” to appease a fan base yearning to believe that he can lead this team back to glory.

 

Conceding that notion however, the emotion of a season and the game-to-game action of the schedule can certainly change the tenor and the expectations of the fans in a hurry. Thus far it would seem that the Terps have shown themselves to have scant enough talent to stand much of a chance on most nights against “big 6” competition and therefore as long as their efforts look genuine and their improvement marked throughout the season, fans will be both summarily appeased and encouraged.

 

For me, while acceptable, all of the above became much more painful as I, as a fan, came to grips with the Terps place in the relative basketball universe over the two days of action that was the 2011 ACC/Big 10 Challenge. As the ACC was plodding their way to an 8 games to 4 loss in the challenge, a couple of things became painfully evident.

 

First is that the basketball luster of the once proud ACC is fading quickly (a realization made all the more difficult as fans once proud of the conference’s basketball identity and legacy have been summarily reminded at every turn that football is still way out front in the race to drive inter-collegiate politics). What’s more, this means that our hopes, as fans, for the basketball credibility of the conference now ride on the hated Tarheels and Blue Devils. If pulling for those two are requirements for being a good ACC fan, count me out for now and simply color me disappointed and moderately disgusted.

 

The second realization, one both comforting and disturbing, is that Carolina and Duke are both soft, neither looks much like a safe bet to get past the sweet 16 and it shouldn’t be a shock if someone was able to step up and steal the conference this season. It would be a shock however if that somebody was Maryland, for now I’ll call it anyone’s guess.

 

The ACC though in general is sort of up for grabs, in both football and basketball. The conference expansion that was supposed to bring football credibility to the conference while also bringing basketball credibility to the football powers it imported has been a miserable failure on both fronts. The ACC is still an afterthought in the BCS title picture, the perennial BCS powers it brought in are now fighting it out for the one automatic berth to the BCS that the ACC had already and now from a basketball standpoint the watered down ACC might be the 3rd or 4th best hoops conference in America this season…and it hasn’t happened all at once.

 

As the ACC prepares to absorb Pitt and the recently scandalous Syracuse it seems to indicate their belief that the basketball side of the operation needs a bit of a jump-start too. Recent history suggests the foreseeable outcome isn’t necessarily the likely one.

 

In both football and basketball, the ACC is absolutely ripe for the picking and Maryland has at least acted over the last 10 months or so like they intend to be in on the harvest. Now it’s just a matter of trusting the guys who’ll build the ladders to get it, and hoping they be able to get them high enough.

 

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Edsall Must Change On Field And Off In Maryland Future

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Edsall Must Change On Field And Off In Maryland Future

Posted on 01 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

He’ll be doing that for a few reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For better or worse, Maryland’s going with Randy Edsall

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For better or worse, Maryland’s going with Randy Edsall

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Drew Forrester

What a mess they have on their hands down at College Park.

Or do they?

On the outside, it would appear they’re drinking from the fire hose, drenched in the stink of a 2-10 football season and completely unsure of where to go from here, with fans, boosters and the media chasing coach Randy Edsall with a pitchfork and demanding some sort of immediate improvement despite the fact that they season is over with at Maryland.

That’s on the outside.

On the inside, the turmoil might not be percolating nearly as much.

Randy Edsall is already working on next season.  The recruiting window opened this past Sunday and the Terps coach was on the trail, talking to high schoolers about signing on with his program.

While the rest of the DC/Baltimore market continued to stew about the 2-win season, Edsall was too busy worrying about 2012 to spend any time lamenting the woes of 2011.

Frankly, that’s how most coaches are, particularly after a loss and/or a losing season.

They simply move on to the next game or the next season or the next challenge.

I don’t think Randy Edsall can explain what happened to his football team in 2011.  No matter what he says, the majority of people who follow the program will claim he’s making an excuse.

And those folks just want wins…they don’t want to hear about losing and reasons for it.

So that’s why Edsall is off on the recruiting trail.  Sitting around College Park and trying to defend his team’s horrible first season isn’t going to get him more players.  It’s only going to put him further behind.

I’m not going to defend Edsall…and 2-10…and bad attendance…and home butt-whoopings from the likes of Temple and Virginia and Wake Forest.

There IS some defense for it, by the way, because Maryland – already young at some key positions on the field – was shredded by injuries from week #1 until the very last week of the season.  But every team gets injuries along the way and to say Maryland’s first-aid kit was used more than any other ACC team would be excuse-making.

Injuries DO matter, though.  Just ask the Indianapolis Colts.

In Edsall’s case, there’s only one thing that will prove he was the right choice at College Park.

Winning.

Can he do it?  Can Randy Edsall bring the Maryland football program back to life after a 2-win season and player defections and the general apathy and malaise that his team displayed over the season’s final month?

I don’t know the answer to that.

As a Maryland supporter, I’d like to do the rah-rah thing and say, “Sure he can!” but I don’t know if what happened this season is repairable.

There was A LOT of damage done, but nearly all of that damage was done with players that Edsall inherited from the Ralph Friedgen era.

This much I know about Edsall:  His style is unique.  He’s tough.  He’s demanding.  Some of his rules and codes of conduct seem a little too overbearing given the fact that he’s dealing with college athletes.

But those things don’t make him a bad football coach.  They make his style one that you need to be willing to accept if you want to play football for Randy Edsall.

As Jay-Z says at the beginning of the song “Hollywood” — “It ain’t for everybody…”

Edsall’s style certainly “ain’t for everybody”.

And after a few years of Ralph Friedgen’s boy scout camp atmosphere, a lot of the players weren’t ready, willing or able to come to grips with the way Edsall runs his program.

Once the losing started, the majority of the guys who mattered on the field simply bailed on Edsall.  They gave an effort…but as the final Saturday collapse (see next page, please)

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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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Maryland Announces Hoops Recruiting Class

Posted on 09 November 2011 by WNST Staff

Terps Sign Three for Men’s Basketball

Trio puts Maryland 17th in ESPN.com team rankings

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland signed three players to National Letters-of-Intent on Wednesday, with the additions of Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman placing the Terrapins’ class 17th on ESPN.com’s national team ranking.

Allen is a 6-foot-2 guard from Fredericksburg, Va.; Cleare is a 6 -9 center from Houston and Layman is a 6-8 forward from Wrentham, Mass. The quality of the signing class, given the recent arrival of head coach Mark Turgeon and his staff on the Maryland campus, has drawn national attention.

“We’re very pleased with our class for 2012 so far,” said head coach Mark Turgeon, in his first season at Maryland. “We’ve added three quality players with great character who will fit in with our Maryland Basketball family.

“All three are very skilled basketball players who have a great feel for the game. My entire staff and the administration did a fantastic job in helping us secure these kids.”

Cleare and Layman are four-star recruits and part of ESPNU’s Top 100 prospects, according to ESPN.com. Allen is a three-star prospect and has graded at 89 on the same website. Allen was the first recruit to commit to being part of Turgeon’s program.

“I think they’ve gotten some guys who have shown that this staff, from a national perspective, will be very aggressive,” said Dave Telep, a national recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. “Turgeon is an astute evaluator of talent. If you look at this class, it’s a total national class. He’s been able to leverage some relationships he already had.

“When evaluating recruiting, and the way the calendar is now, the second year a staff is at a school is usually the better year. If you look at the class they’ve gotten, this is a very good opening effort.”

SETH ALLEN (6-2, 195, SG, Fredericksburg, Va., Fredericksburg Christian School)

Was Coach Mark Turgeon’s first commitment at Maryland… A combination guard who was ranked by ESPN.com as the sixth-best prospect in the state of Virginia… A three-star recruit who graded at 89 from ESPN… Athletic guard with 40-inch vertical leap… Led Fredericksburg Christian to a 31-2 record and conference title as a junior… Averaged 24 points, four assists, 3.5 steals and hit 92 3-pointers as a junior… Had 23 points against Montrose Christian last season… Turned 17 years old in October… Left-handed shooter… Travel team was Hoop Booth… Chose Maryland over Clemson, Old Dominion, VCU, Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Turgeon on Allen: “Seth is a very explosive athlete and scorer. He has a great feel for the game, is very good in the pick-and-roll and will be a great defender for us. Seth is a local kid with a great family who will represent Maryland the right way.”

Seth Allen: “I feel like it’s a big relief that I don’t have to go through recruitment anymore and I know I found the right school. Maryland fits me best, so it’s a big relief and I’m really happy that I’ve finally signed. My family was a big part of this and Maryland being so close was important. I wanted my family to be able to see me play. I really like Coach Turgeon and the rest of the coaching staff and I get along with the players. When I went on my official visit the coaches really motivated me; they just want everybody to get better. I think I fit in with the offense and defense so well and I think it’s going to be a good year when I get there.”

Joe Allen, father: “We’re very excited for Seth to sign with the University of Maryland and to have the chance to play at such a prestigious school. The academics, the way they have it set up, we know our son will succeed and graduate. The bigger part of it is that the coaching staff, from [Director of Athletics Kevin] Anderson on down is just absolutely, incredibly family-oriented. Seth comes from a strong family background. We can’t speak enough about the family atmosphere, the way they made us feel comfortable. It’s just a good feeling to know that he’s going into that kind of atmosphere. We’re excited about the outcome and the making of the young man that the staff at Maryland is going to build on.”

Coach Darren Berkley, Fredericksburg Christian School: “Seth is a special player… Every game he did something that amazed our coaching staff. Not only is Seth a great scorer, he has great moves and he is mentally tough. Seth’s teammates love him and want to play on his team. He has great leadership qualities and a magnetic personality that people are attracted to… My expectations are high for Seth. I truly believe he will be successful at Maryland.”

Craig Boothe, Hoop Booth Team: “Seth has by far exceeded the skill level of some of the other players in our program who have gone to Division I. I think his going to Maryland is a great fit from the perspective that he’s a family-oriented kid. Having him close will allow some of our local people to have access. He’s a great kid who was under the radar screen a little… I think this is a match made in heaven.”

SHAQUILLE CLEARE (6-9, 270, C, Houston, Texas, The Village School)

Consensus four-star prospect who is ranked as the sixth-best center in the nation by ESPN.com… Ranked 39th overall among the ESPNU Top 100… Graded at 95 by ESPN’s scouts… Has excellent strength and power which leads to solid rebounding at both ends of the floor… “A big body post with off-the-charts upside,” according to ESPN.com… Travel team was the Houston Defenders… Native of the Bahamas… Chose Maryland over Arizona, Texas, Baylor and Miami.

Turgeon on Cleare: “Shaq will give us a big, physical presence in the paint. He will be a great defender and low-post scorer for us, and for his size, he is a very explosive athlete. He is a great young man who really wanted to be at Maryland and is being very well coached by Don Harvey.”

Shaquille Cleare: “”It’s a strong conference, they have great coaches and they’re good at developing players. When Coach Turgeon left A&M and went to Maryland, it turned out well. It was so shocking to me, it was a big surprise. I think Coach Turgeon will do great things at Maryland.”

Aaron Harrison, Houston Defenders (AAU) Coach: “He’s a little different than most in that now nobody wants to play with their back to the basket. That’s how he plays and he has the best hands that I’ve seen in such a long time. I don’t think there’s a limit to his potential to be honest. If you play him one-on-one, because he’s so big and strong, he puts his body on the defender and scores. Over the summer time, we looked at it and he scored 72 percent of the time we gave him the ball on the box. He’s come a long way. He’s only been in the country for four years and when I first met him he always had good hands and feet, but he’s worked so hard to make himself better. He’s come such a long way.”

Pat Clatchey, Mount Saint Joseph’s HS (Baltimore) Head Coach: “I had the opportunity to coach Shaquille at the NBA top-100 camp. I found him to be a terrific young man on and off the court. He’s very polite and respectful off the court, engaging personality, and all business when he gets on the court. He has a big body, great hands and good footwork. He’s an interior scorer and a pretty good interior passer. I think the thing he’s going to have to develop at the next level is conditioning and getting used to day-in and day-out playing against strong and athletic bodies. But I think he’s a very good acquisition for Maryland basketball.”

Don Harvey, Village School Head Coach: “He was really, really intrigued by Coach [Gary] Williams. That’s what got it started. When Coach Williams left, Shaq was a little down about that. So we had to get him back up. The next school on his list was [Texas] A&M, and then [Mark] Turgeon ended up going to Maryland, so that made it even more [attractive]. … I think he fell in love with Maryland… (Turgeon) is a guy who you can believe is going to do things the right way. He’s going to build your character and your heart. You feel him when you talk to him. He really, and I mean really, likes Coach Turgeon.”

Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “He’s an anchor recruit. He’ll definitely grow within the program and he’s capable enough and has broad enough shoulders that he’s going to be able to be a main guy for a couple years. What is really impressive is he’s got very good touch. He’s a legitimate offensive player in the lane and is tough. He’ll be able to come into the ACC and know his way around.”

JAKE LAYMAN (6-8, 190, SF, Wrentham, Mass., King Philip Regional HS)

Listed by ESPN.com as the top recruit from the state of Massachusetts… Graded at 94 by the website, which has him 11th nationally among small forwards… Ranked 53rd nationally on ESPNU’s Top 100… Long, athletic player with deceptive quickness… Averaged 24.6 points, 15.6 rebounds, 7.1 blocks as a junior at King Philip Regional… Travel team was Boston Amateur Basketball Club under the guidance of Celtics administrator Leo Papile… Chose Maryland over Syracuse, Louisville, Florida, Notre Dame and Providence

Turgeon on Layman: “Jake is a very skilled and explosive athlete who is improving at a big-time rate. Jake has all three phases in his game with the ability to knock down the 3, shoot the mid-range, plus get all the way to the basket. He is also a tremendous defender with great anticipation. Jake comes from a great family, and we are excited about welcoming into our basketball family.”

Jake Layman: “It’s a dream come true for me to sign with Maryland and I couldn’t be happier. The school, Coach Turgeon and all the other coaches, I love them and I get along with the players really well so that was good. The coaching staff is down to earth and easy to talk to so that made me feel comfortable. I know they’re all tough coaches so I think that will help me grow a lot. I’m very excited about the opportunity to play in the best conference in America and play at the Comcast Center.”

Claire Layman, mother: “For my husband and I and our whole family, when we came for the official visit, with Coach Turgeon, Coach Spinelli and the entire coaching staff, we just had such a feeling that this was the right place for Jake. We felt all along that the ACC was a good fit for Jake’s skill set and I think with the University, over the recruiting period, what became clear to us is how important it was for Jake to be able to play where his family could be part of it too… The basketball was really important to Jake but just the University itself I think has everything Jake wants academically and it just was a really good fit. Maryland has so much to offer and it was really just a perfect fit.”

Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “When Jake hit his stride this summer, you were either there to see it or you weren’t. For those who saw it, he immediately became a priority recruit. What not many people will know is he’s a heck of a defensive player. In one tournament where they kept stats, he certainly led everyone in steals per minute.”

Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “Jake has a lot of tools and is just scratching the surface of his potential. He can shoot and score in a lot of ways. He’s also got athleticism and size to go along with his scoring ability. He’s a guy who is going to get better each and every day.”

Leo Papile, Boston Amateur Basketball Club: “He’s a young, developing guy with enormous potential and upside. The best is yet to come… At 6-9, with the ability to guard guys down on the floor, he’s totally unique for American basketball. He’s a wing… You put him on the ball and, in our (full-court) defense, he just wreaks havoc with his mobility. He was bound to just make an enormous impact on the national scene.”

Coach Sean McInnis, King Philip Regional HS: “It’s a fantastic time for Jake and his family. They’re really looking forward to being a part of the Maryland family… I think when you look around the country, he’s probably the only kid who’s 6-8 that plays the point… I think what Maryland was looking for was a student-athlete that’s going to come in, defend, and play a couple positions while at the same time playing in transition, utilizing some size at the guard position.”

THE CLASS OVERALL

Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “This class is well-balanced between guys who can help immediately and guys who can be brought along and will make their mark in the ACC. Mark does a good job of evaluating players and a good job of developing them. He’s put together an all-star recruiting staff there. When they’re not out recruiting, they’re thinking about recruiting.”

Some quotes courtesy The Baltimore Sun.

– Terps –

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Terps C Len Suspended 10 Games But Can Practice

Posted on 02 November 2011 by WNST Staff

Len Practicing, But Suspended for 10 Games

NCAA rules on amateurism status

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland center Alex Len has been cleared to practice with the men’s basketball team and will be eligible to compete with the condition that he must be withheld from 10 regularly scheduled contests.

This decision was rendered by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Staff based on amateurism guidelines.

“We appreciate the NCAA’s cooperative review of Alex’s case,” said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. “However, it has been a difficult situation in light of Alex’s educational pursuits. Alex and his family have been very patient and honest throughout this process, which speaks well of his character.”

“Alex has been working very hard to prepare himself for this opportunity,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “We look forward to having him on the court and to see how he’ll fit into what we want to do offensively and defensively.”

Maryland plays an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 4 against Northwood and is preparing for its season-opener against UNC Wilmington on Sunday, Nov. 13.

– Terps –

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Maryland, Loyola, Navy Report Good News on Graduation Rates

Posted on 25 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Terps’ Graduation Rate Hits Record for Second Straight Year

GSR hits best-ever 82 percent

The University of Maryland posted an all-time high institutional Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 82 percent in figures released today by the National Collegiate Athletics Association. It marks the second time in the seven-year history of the metric that Maryland has been above 80 percent and the second straight year the campus set a school record.

Maryland’s four-year Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) for student-athletes was 75 percent, the second time in the last five years the figure has been above 70 percent.

The Graduation Success Rate is a four-year measure of freshmen who entered Maryland between the fall of 2001 and the fall of 2004. It does not penalize the institution for those student-athletes who transfer from Maryland in good academic standing, as the FGR does. In addition, the GSR includes student-athletes who transfer into the institution and receive athletics aid, unlike the FGR.

Maryland’s previous-best GSR of 80 percent came last year.

“Succeeding academically is of primary importance to everyone in our athletics department,” said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. “This core value is something we take seriously. Although we’re proud of these record-setting numbers, we will strive to continually improve in this area.”

“Kevin made it very clear to me when he brought me here that our student-athletes’ academic success was a top priority for him,” said Chris Uchacz, associate A.D. for academic services and career development. “Our staff has worked very hard over the last year to improve our processes and support. We are starting to see the positive results of these changes manifested in the GSR scores released this week.”

Nineteen teams at Maryland earned GSRs at or above 80 percent. Women’s swimming and water polo had 100 percent GSRs in the cohort. The wrestling team achieved a 92 percent GSR and was the highest-scoring men’s team at Maryland.

Football, which received contemporaneous penalties for this year due to low Academic Progress Rates, earned a 59 percent GSR for this cohort. Anderson said the football team had made significant academic progress this year and does not anticipate further penalties from the NCAA.

Men’s basketball posted a 46 percent GSR this year, which is up from 31 percent in 2010. Since 2006-07, the basketball program has successfully graduated 15 of 17 student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility. A perfect 11 of 11 student-athletes exhausting eligibility have graduated since the Fall 2007 semester. These numbers will have a significant impact on the coming years’ FGR, GSR and APR.

The GSR and FGR are separate from the NCAA’s Academic Performance Rates, which will be released in Spring 2012.

GSRs and four-year FGRs for freshmen and transfers receiving athletic aid and who entered the University of Maryland between Fall 2001 and Fall 2004:

Men’s Sport

GSR

4-Yr Fed.

Baseball

81

59

Basketball

46

33

CC/Track

90

89

Football

59

56

Golf

90

100

Lacrosse

91

81

Soccer

84

64

Swimming

80

73

Tennis

33

33

Wrestling

92

79

Women’s Sport

GSR

4-Yr Fed.

Basketball

81

71

CC/Track

92

85

Field Hockey

94

94

Golf

88

88

Gymnastics

90

82

Lacrosse

92

83

Soccer

94

100

Softball

94

92

Swimming

100

72

Tennis

88

63

Volleyball

83

77

Water Polo

100

67

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Friedgen’s Comments Were Hurtful, But Let’s Agree to Do Deeper Thinking Here

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

I’ve allowed myself over 30 hours to drink up the comments made by former University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen on my radio show Thursday afternoon.

In that time, I’ve heard from Terrapins fans around the globe. I’ve seen the interview written about by national outlets like ESPN, CBS Sports, USA Today, New York Daily News, Yahoo! Sports, NBC Sports, Washington Times, Washington Post and more. I’ve been told the interview has been discussed on national and local radio shows, TV shows, message boards and more. I thank everyone who passed along the conversation via Facebook, Twitter and more traditional conversation.

The interview, which happened live Thursday on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, can be heard here in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault. I wholly encourage you to listen to the entire interview, as the context can be lost in transcription.

Of course, here’s the part where I share with you the transcription again, courtesy of the Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens…

Clark: I think the one thing everyone wants to know is what are you up to right now?

Friedgen: Well, right now, I’m sitting on my deck looking over the marsh into the — reading a USA Today.

Clark: Not a bad life.

Friedgen: No, I’m enjoying it very much. I do miss our players. I don’t miss all the other stuff, but I do miss the players. I miss the interaction with them. I miss dealing with them. I’m a little bit surprised I don’t miss all the stuff that goes around.

Clark: Well, you did it —

Friedgen: Forty-three years. I may get back into it. I may have a couple other things that pop up. I may be back, so we’ll see.

Clark: Is it tough for you to watch? Have you sat down and watched any Maryland games or is it tough for you to do that. I know you love the kids, but I also know you’re a Maryland alum, and it’s got to be a little painful.

Friedgen: Well, it’s not painful because I watch it for the kids. I could care less about Maryland. I’ve burned my diploma. I’m flying a Georgia Tech flag right now.

Clark: [laughing] That’s hurtful coach. I don’t want to hear that. I’m a Maryland alum.

Friedgen: Well, they talk about Maryland pride. They didn’t show me a whole lot of Maryland pride, either getting the job or getting fired.

Clark: OK.

Friedgen: I had a unique experience. I couldn’t get the game last week so I had to go to a sports bar to watch it. I never knew all that stuff went on, people cheering for all this stuff. It was a whole new experience. My daughter came down this week. I went fishing with her. I’ve never done these things with my kids. She caught a 28-inch redfish. She was ecstatic. I never experienced some of this stuff. It’s like my whole life has changed. I’m kind of catching up on some things I probably should have done a lot earlier in my life but haven’t been able to do it.

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