Tag Archive | "Maryland Terrapins"

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Friday Mud is better than a day at the beach

Posted on 21 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Now what?

No more football, or at the least, no more football that we REALLY care about.  There are supposedly two games this weekend, but I couldn’t care less who wins.

Actually, I take that back.  I DO care who wins.  Back in August when Glenn and I did our pre-season picks, I predicted the Green Bay Packers would win the Super Bowl (over some team from…ummm…Baltimore).  I’d love nothing more than for Green Bay to follow through and win the Super Bowl so I can cash in on that huge wager I made in the pre-season.

Oh, that’s right.  I didn’t actually make a wager.

Well, I bet you one thing right now:  You’re gonna love this edition of Friday Mud.

It’s such a slam-dunk bet that Vegas won’t even take odds on it.

Just for fun…I’ll bet you $100 you get a kick out of it.


>  This past Tuesday night I had a little fun at the expense of Philadelphia Flyers fans.  I went to Philly to see the Caps and Flyers play at the beautiful Wells Fargo Center.  I took THIS RIGHT HERE and dropped it in the men’s urinal during the second period, then proceeded to “do my business” on the card.  I zipped up and hustled out.  At last glance, the card was floating comfortably in a urinal of …well, you get the picture.  Anyway, I playfully tweeted about my little moment of fun the next day. I thought it was funny. Evidently, Stephanie Fawcett didn’t think it was funny.  Because I want you all to see that I do, in fact, respond to my critics, here’s our e-mail exchange from Wednesday.


I was appalled at your admission that you took a Bobby Clarke hockey card and urinated on it while you were at a hockey game in Philadelphia last (Tuesday) night.  I don’t see how you possibly find any humor in doing something like that.  I was driving my 13 year old son to school when I heard you gleefully explain the story and how proud you were of this “feat”.  So please, Drew, explain to me why you would urinate on a hockey card of Bobby Clarke on Tuesday night so I can then explain it to my son.

Thank you.

I look forward to your reply.

Stephanie Fawcett, Bel Air, MD


I can explain very easily why I peed on a hockey card of Bobby Clarke on Tuesday night. Because I couldn’t find a card of Ken Linseman.



>  Our WNST staff photographer was dispatched to chase the Ray Lewis “supplement spray” story on Thursday.  He flew to Florida and started a late afternoon stake-out of Ray’s house in South Florida.  Around 6:00 pm, I got a text from our photographer.  It read:  “Didn’t see Ray today but snuck over the gated fence and took a picture of his backyard before security chased me away.  Will forward the pic soon.”  About one hour later, THIS PHOTO arrived on my phone.  Looks like Ray’s backyard to me.

>  NFL referees are very particular about being interviewed by the media.  In fact, last Saturday after the Ravens/Steelers game, I wanted to spend a minute asking head referee Jeff Triplette a few questions but he wouldn’t allow it.  I asked if I could take a picture of him for the web-site and he refused that as well.  Hey, I’m a man who doesn’t take “no” for an answer, so I waited around the corner and got THIS GREAT SNAPSHOT of Triplette as he left Heinz Field.

>  I’m not a big sports memorabilia buff, but I couldn’t help notice this ad in a local sports collectibles magazine last week. Here’s what it read:  “NFL player auctioning off authentic game jersey from 2010 season.  Worn in all 16 games plus playoffs.  In brand new condition.  No dirt marks, no sweat stains, no tears or discolorations.  Team equipment manager never had to wash the jersey.  Still in pristine condition.  $1,000 or best offer.” CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO. Yep, it sure does look brand new to me.

>  The sign that ruined Jen Royle’s entire 2010 is RIGHT HERE.

>   Never let it be said that the Orioles don’t listen to their fans.  A large number of people publicly lashed out at the team after their recent announcement that adults would have to pay $15 for autographs at FanFest next Saturday.  The Orioles issued the following statement:  “In response to the large reaction from our adult fans, we’re pleased to provide everyone with a free picture of a Mike Boddicker signed baseball.  Simply CLICK HERE and print the picture out for display in your memorabilia room or collectibles cabinet.  There is NO charge for this photo of the autographed item, courtesy of Esskay Hot Dogs.”

>  Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of not necessarily treating women very well, but then we find out he’s actually engaged to be married in 2011.  Turns out Big Ben is a bit of a romantic.  Our WNST staff photographer caught Ben walking with his fiancee on the beach down in Florida right after Pittsburgh’s regular season ended and the Steelers had a few days off before beginning playoff preparations.  As you can see RIGHT HERE, her tan is a little darker than his.

>  Song #7 on my all-time-favorite CD actually ISN’T my favorite song from this artist.  In fact, I can probably think of 3-4 songs I like better.  But for some reason, if I could only put 16 songs on a CD and play it for the rest of my life, this is the song from LED ZEPPELIN that I’d put on the CD.  Not only would it remind me of growing up in Glen Burnie, but it would always remind me of “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” when Damone tells Ratner, “Always play side 2 of Led Zeppelin 4” and Ratner screws up and plays Physical Graffiti instead.

> Styx is our Friday Featured Artist today on The Morning Reaction.  Anyone who has been to Heinz Field has grown sick of hearing them blare “Renegade” over the speakers at some critical point during the 4th quarter.  That got to me thinking. Shouldn’t the Orioles pump in a “team song” during the games this upcoming season?  Wouldn’t that be cool?  A song all the fans can identify with in Baltimore, like the folks in Pittsburgh latch on to Renegade by Styx.  It took me a few days of sifting through iTunes, but I found the perfect song.  Really, they should just play THIS SONG in the middle of the 4th inning at all home games at Camden Yards.

> Two longtime Ravens staffers pulled me aside yesterday – independent of one another – and basically asked me the same thing…”Drew, you’ve been here a long time, have you ever seen people (fans) react like this after a successful season?”  My answer to both of them was an emphatic “No, I haven’t.”  I playfully suggested to one staffer that they should buy every season ticket holder a 13-game ticket plan with the Orioles just so they could go to the ballpark and see the other end of the spectrum.  One staffer said, “The last time we tried to work with the baseball team, they stuck us with a bill for 25,000 hats.  I think we’ll pass on working with them.”  I smiled and said, “You just lost your press pass, pal.”

>  Remember in “Major League” when Ricky Vaughn thought he was cut because there was a red tag in his locker?  Sunday, Cam Cameron called John Harbaugh and said, “Am I in?  Or out?”  John said, “Cam, we’re talking about that right now.  I tell you what, I’ll leave a message on the door of your office so when you come in tomorrow you’ll know where you stand with us and we won’t have to talk about it anymore.”  Cameron walked in on Monday and SAW THIS — and now he knows where he stands.

>  You gotta hand it to Gary Williams.  They lost by 17 Thursday night to Virginia Tech.  Afterwards, Gary lamented the team’s inability to score the easy buckets.  “I’m going to find someone who can put those easy ones away and I’m going to find that someone soon.”  The Terps announced early this morning that they’ve signed an African player who can be seen RIGHT HERE.  Well, I bet he’s better than James Padgett.

>  I love these multiple-choice questions.  Is the girl in THIS PICTURE imitating:  A) Jenn Sterger in the Jets locker room  B) Ben Roethlisberger’s girlfriend on the Steelers team bus  C) Just some girl from the internet who wants a marshmallow shot in her mouth

>  And I’ll end it with this.  The Orioles raised ticket prices for 2011.  They tried to slide it past everyone yesterday while the entire city was focused on the Ravens and their state-of-the-team press conference.  How else can you explain that they picked YESTERDAY, of all the days in January, to announce it?  Of course they did it intentionally.  That’s obvious.  That said, I just about peed myself when I read Greg Bader’s quote that “costs” have gone up.  Actually, Greg, over the last six years, if you break them down into two, 3-year segments, the team has spent roughly $30 million LESS on player salaries since Andy MacPhail took over in 2007.  Where’s that $30 million?  What “costs” have gone up, Greg?  These are the questions we’d ask if the Orioles allowed the media to question them.  Alas, you’re not allowed to ask them questions.  Here’s what Bader REALLY wants to say, but he can’t.  “Because we’ve drawn less fans over the last 5 years, we’ve generated less revenue.  We need to try and reclaim some of that lost revenue and the quickest, easiest way to do that is to raise ticket prices.”  Hey, maybe they’re raising these prices so they can store away $150 million for Prince Fielder.  Or maybe they’re just raising the prices so they can put more in their pockets.  Yeah, that’s probably it. Wake me up when the baseball team wins half of their games and they can justify charging the fans more money to see their product.  Nudge me when the baseball team allows the media to ask questions about their organizational decisions.  What a joke…

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Seth Greenberg

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Hokies coach Seth Greenberg and Terps coach Gary Williams dissect Thursday matchup at Comcast Center, ACC struggles

Posted on 20 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Tonight’s game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Maryland Terrapins at the Comcast Center features two teams in very similar situations.

Both have struggled at times to start the season, but ultimately both teams can’t say that they haven’t put together a stack of opponents ready to either increase their tournament resume or say that they aren’t a play or two away from making a run.

Four of Maryland’s six losses this year have come to ranked teams( Villanova, Duke, Illinois, Pittsburgh) with all of the games on the road or on neutral sites.

The Hokies meanwhile have lost three games by a total of nine points.

Seth Greenberg

Hokies basketball coach Seth Greenberg and Maryland Terps coach Gary Williams joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” this week to not only shoot down the rumors that the ACC-at time of circulation has only one team-Duke-in the AP Top 25-is having a down year in basketball, but to also size their respective opponent up in Thursday’s game at the Comcast Center.

“It’s easy to take shots at the ACC because the ACC has been on top for so long,”  Greenberg told Thyrl Nelson. “We’ve got good basketball teams in our league, and it has teams capable of winning night in and night out. I’m not buying what everyone else is selling.”

Williams agreed.

Gary Williams

“The way you build up your tournament resume is you play a bunch of good teams and win, and that’s what’s got to happen here and everywhere else. I get tired of hearing about the Big 12 for instance-they’re talking about Colorado and Nebraska being really good this year.”

“Well, put them in the ACC and see how they do,” Williams said. “Everybody gets happy on certain leagues, and the ACC out there has won five national championships in the last ten years. There’s no league out there-the Big East isn’t even close to that-the ACC has won more NCAA tournament games the last twenty years than any other conference.”

And Thursday will pit Maryland(11-6, 1-2 ACC) versus the Virginia Tech Hokies(11-5, 2-2 ACC) to see how they stack up.

Both teams are in the middle of the pack when it comes to the ACC standings, and both teams feel like they are in desperate need of a win to avoid falling into the cellar of the division here in mid January.

And Greenberg knows that desire to win on the part of Gary Williams is going to be in full force tonight down at College Park. And he is not ready to write off either his team or Maryland just yet.

“You look at the Maryland team, they’ve lost some very close games to some real elite teams, and again it’s a make or miss game,” Greenberg said. “There’s a very small margin between winning and losing.”

Coach Williams said it’s all about fixing one or two issues to get his team-in spite of its youth-playing almost perfect basketball.

“We’ve played four teams ranked in the Top 20, but haven’t beat them. Until you beat them, they’re better than you. Against Duke-then the #1 team in the country last Sunday-we went down there at Cameron where they havent lost in forever and had a chance to get them. We didnt get them. I don’t know if anyone will get them in Cameron this year.”

“I like the way our guys competed and then we had to get back down there to play Wake Forest on Wednesday, and we did okay there and got the win. And then with Villanova in Philly-the seventh ranked team in the country-they were a very experienced team and you get up by 12 in the second half, you would like to win that thing. We missed some shots and some free-throws, and didn’t get the win. It really hurts to not get those wins, but we’re tough. We know we can play with those teams we’ve faced. We’ve proven that.  Now what we have to prove is we can beat those teams.”

Virginia Tech could be that team that might be the bearer of Williams’ effort to turn things around and get things back on a good note the same way the Terps rebounded after the loss to Duke by punishing Wake, 74-55.

“I know how we felt after the game in terms of getting beat up a little bit,  …It’s very difficult to come out and play the next game, and that’s why I was proud of the team,” Williams noted. ” We went down to Wake Forest and got them on their home court because we were both physically and mentally hurting going into that  game. I’m really proud of this team, and hopefully people understand what we’re doing here and we’re looking forward to getting started this week.

Greenberg is hoping Williams doesn’t take out his frustrations from Saturday’s disappointing collapse against #7 Villanova against his Hokies squad.

Gary’s best wins come when his back is against the wall, let’s face it,” Greenberg added.  “I think he lives in a cause. We’ve lost three games by a total of nine points…When you play a home game in league, you’ve really got to defend your home court. Maryland is as efficient an offensive team as we’ve played against all year.”

Greenberg likes what he sees out of Maryland’s youth, of course led by Wooden Award finalist Jordan Williams.

“They pass and catch, they cut extremely hard, and obviously Jordan is playing at an extremely high level. The development of Gregory, the development of Bowie, with Tucker-the way he’s carrying himself-he’s kind of their X-factor the way he’s playing. And with the two freshman point guards-with them being surrounded by the veteran players, they are playing with such confidence. We expect Maryland to play at a very high level like they have all year,” Greenberg said.

Williams had just as much respect for what the Hokies throw out on the court, most notably led by two former Maryland-area prep stars in Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney(18.6ppg, 4.3apg, .433% 3-pt range)-also a finalist for ACC Player of the Year in 2009.

Malcolm Delaney

Malcolm Delaney’s a great player,” Gary Williams said. “One of the things he has is a great release on his shot and he can shoot way behind the three-point line. He’s very comfortable with the NBA line. He’s a guy that looked at the draft last year, and decided to come back just like Greivis Vasquez did.

“But he’s not the only guy they have-a guy like Jeff Allen is a proven player-a very quick 6’8”, 6’9” strong guy who shoots it good. He is a very tough guy inside for them. They don’t play a lot of guys, but they’re well balanced and a very good basketball team.”

Greenberg had to agree with Williams.

“Malcolm’s had just a tremendous career, and he’s been the face of our program,” Greenberg said. “He’s as complete a guard as there is in the country. He can make shots, he plays hard, he’s a model student athlete. He’s helped maintain a winning culture here.”

“He’s been a huge part of this program, and we hope he comes in and relaxes and enjoys the experience tonight and makes some buckets.”

Like every game in and out of the the ACC this year that the Terps and the Hokies expect this one to be just like the double-overtime thriller last year on February 26th in Blacksburg-a game in which Greivis Vasquez finished with 41 points.

“It’s unfortunate we’re going to beat each other up, but you just try and get on a run. It’s very hard to win any game on the road, and it’s hard to string a whole bunch of wins together because there is such a fine line between winning and losing. I’m not worried about people’s perception. I’m only worried about the friendly confines of the Comcast Center right now.”

WNST has you covered tonight at the Comcast Center! Luke Jones has you covered in the Turtle Power chat starting at 9! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Randy Edsall

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New Maryland coach Randy Edsall: “What we’re doing is we’re not building a team. We’re building a program”

Posted on 13 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Randy Edsall had a plan in place when he came to the University of Conneticut being named the head football coach of the Huskies in 1998.

He helped build a struggling, 1-AA program with no fan or school support under it from the ground up to a Big East contender that made four straight bowl appearances, including this year’s BCS Fiesta Bowl.

Randy Edsall

The University of Maryland recently hired Edsall-a two-time Big East co-champ and 2010 Big East Coach of the Year– to work that same magic on their program, and he joined Thyrl Nelson of the “Mobtown Sports Beat” Wednesday to introduce not only himself to the Terps faithful but to also indiciate his plans for the Maryland football program.

“It’s all about the plan we have in place,” Edsall said. “We just stuck to it and did what we felt was necessary.”

Edsall was hired by AD Kevin Anderson and Maryland President Dr. Wallace Loh to re-energize a displaced Terps fanbase and get the program back to national prominence, and he sees a similar approach on how to fix this situation placed in his hands based on what he did in the Big East with UConn.

“Just like coming here, I have a plan in place on what I want to accomplish, and how we’re going to go about doing that,” Edsall said. “What we’re going to do is build around teammwork.”

Edsall took the job on Janurary 2nd, 2011 to replace Maryland alum Ralph Friedgen as the next football coach of the Maryland Terrapins following Friedgen’s dismissal before the school’s 51-20 victory over ECU in the Military Bowl.

He was hired at that date to get he and his staff in place ready for recruiting and to prepare for the 2011 college football season. So far, his job has been as hectic as can be, and he has fit right into the grind of making the Terps important again the same way he made UConn football relevant for the first time.

“It’s been very hectic,” Edsall told Nelson. “There’s not enough hours in the day, but you just prioritize yourself on the things you need to do…and right now, it’s the recruiting and the finalization of the coaching staff.”

The biggest news so far with the coaching staff has been Edsall retaining Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown and today reports indicated that LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton will be leaving the Tigers to become Edsall’s OC.

“We want to be aggressive in everything we do,” Edsall commented. “We especially want to be aggressive on defense and I’ve retained Don Brown and so the defense is really going to be the same. And offensively what we want to do is attack the field vertically and horizontally.”

Edsall in his twelve years coaching at the UConn compiled a 74-70 overall record, and that might have Terps fans scratching their heads. Why hire a coach with that record as opposed to Mike Leach, who was 84-43 in ten seasons at Texas Tech?

Edsall may have fit more into what the school’s administration was looking for when it came to getting a program known more for its other athletic teams on everybody’s radar.

“It was a vision that I had to have,” Edsall replied, “because of the fact that no one had a Division-1 mentality when it came to the University of Connecticut.”

Edsall’s Huskies were the first squad to make the successful transition from FCS to FBS. And while they struggled at first going 15-30 over his first four seasons on the UConn sideline, since 2003 his teams have 59-40 and appeared in five bowl games.

“Then in each year, you keep ramping it up. What we did was build a porgram that would stand the test of time and I think that’s important in anything that you do.”

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson said many times in various statements and press conferences that they wanted a guy who was enthusiastic about the job and fully committed to the University of Maryland.

And Anderson said that while Leach may have the better football resume, Edsall showed more passion in his interview than Mike Leach, and you can trace that devotion all the way back to Edsall’s childhood.

“I’m originally 70 miles from here above the border in Pennslyvania off Interstate 83,” Edsall said, a native of Glen Rock. “I came to my first football game here and went to camp here and really this is home to me.”

And the other thing that may have won the job for Edsall?

He says he’s here to stay as long as Maryland will have him, unlike Leach who was widely expected to just use Maryland as a stepping stone to another school in a bigger football conference.

“At my 52 years, I want this to be my last stop of the train,” Edsall said.

But the critics out there will say that UConn was supposed to be his last stop on the train as well. Edsall explained to Nelson that he understands why the Huskies faithful may dissaprove of his decision to leave and how he did it, but he said that he did his best to wish those in Connecticut for giving him his break and standing behind what he was trying to do.

“You know anytime you leave someplace, it might not be the best timing or what transpires,” Edsall said. “You do what you think is best, and there really wasn’t an opportunity for me to address the whole team.”

Edsall said everything happened so fast after Oklahoma’s victory over his team in the Fiesta Bowl, and everything was a blur to him.

“I didn’t know anything when we were in Arizona. I didn’t find out until Sunday night. I wasn’t offered anything until Sunday night. Only half the team left on the charter, while the other half dispersed from Phoenix on their own going home, so there was never going to be a time where you could do it”

“I thought I did the best thing I thought I could do, so I got on a conference call, and got them on there to try and explain to them my feelings, and explain why I took the job. That was the only way I could do it. I don’t apologize for it because I did what I felt was the best thing for the circumstances that took place…and when certain things happen you do what you think you can do best, and that’s what I tried to do.”

And right now, Edsall is really looking forward to getting to know his new group of young men that he’s going to work with to rebuild the football program at College Park.

“This is an eager group,” Edsall said. “The young men I’ve already talked to are ready to go, and like I said once we get recruiting finished, I look forward to really spending as much time as NCAA rules allow us to with our team.”

And Edsall sees even more out of the Maryland fan base being just as hungry to watch them play. And he guarantees that the plan he has in place is going to bring College Park not just a good team, but a program that will stand for the many decades he hopes to be tracking the sidelines for the Terps.

“As long as you lay that foundation and you nurture that foundation, you can build it and it’s got to be strong as it goes up. What we’re doing is we’re not building a team . We’re building a program. A team is year-to-year. A program goes in decades. It goes a lot longer, and that’s really what you want to do.”

WNST has all your Terps news covered! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Torrey Smith

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Maryland WR Torrey Smith on going pro: “Playing in the NFL was never really a goal of mine”

Posted on 06 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Torrey Smith

University of Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith announced his decision to go pro following Maryland’s 51-20 victory over East Carolina in the Military Bowl, and wihile his decision to take his skills to the NFL was kind of pushed under the rug because of the coaching change at Maryland, Smith said it doesn’t bother him and he is ready to move on to the next challenge in his football career.

Plus, Smith left behind a pretty good resume playing football not just at Maryland but in the ACC as a whole.

Smith-a three-time first or second-team All-ACC selection-joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Wednesday to discuss his path to the NFL, leaving Maryland after this his junior year.

Smith-who initally in his Terp career solely made his impact as kick returner-put together two great seasons as wideout for Ralph Friedgen’s offense. He excelled this year in Maryland’s 8-4 season at receiver, grabbing 67 passes for 1,055 yards and a school-record 12 TDs.

He increased his production from his 2009 season, when he grabbed 61 balls for 824 yards and five scores. He also had 51 returns for 1,309 yards( a record that he not only set before but then broke) and two scores, and all together his all-purpose yards were  second in the conference only to Clemson’s C.J. Spiller.

Leading the Terps in catches and receiving yards, his total all-purpose yards had him sixth-best in the nation in that category in 2009.

He developed quite a rapport with  quarterback Danny O’Brien in 2010, and that was most notable in Maryland’s 38-31 victory over N.C. State, where he had 14 catches for 224 yards receiving and a school-record four TDs.

That game could be described as the game that put Smith on the map and had the NFL scouts salavating. Some opposing coaches and scouts have said that Smith could be better than his former teammate, Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was drafed seventh-overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2009 NFL Draft.

He received enough support after the N.C. State victory and Maryland’s bowl game that his NFL Draft status was in good shape, so Smith jumped the gun and made the decision to go pro, signing with super agent Drew Rosenhaus.

“Anything could change,” Smith noted. “But if it was bad, trust me, I’d be back at College Park.”

Smith did say though that playing in the NFL was never a reasonable goal or expectation for him when he first suited up for the Terps. When he came to Maryland, he was there to get his education and football was to to be a supplement to he getting a degree.

“To be honest, playing in the NFL was never really a goal of mine,” he said to Nelson. “When I played as a young kid playing football and basketball in my front yard, you think about it, but it really wasn’t anything I was focused on.”

“And the scholarship to get my degree was the biggest thing, but it really wasn’t till this spring that Coach Friedgen said I had a great chance to play at the next level, and that gave me the confidence.”

It was at that point that his determination took over this season on the football field.

“I’m a person who likes to set goals and I like to reach them. And they told me I had a great shot if I worked hard.”

He also set records that will be hard for others to break down the road for future ACC and Maryland recruits.

He finished his Maryland career as their all-purpose yardage leader, surpassing the 4,960 yard mark set by running back LaMont Jordan. His four TDs in the NC State game were a school record, as were his 12 touchdowns this season. He is also only the second Maryland wide receiver to surpass the 1,000 yard mark in a season.

He also surpassed North Carolina wide receiver Brandon Tate as the conference’s all-time return yardage leader.

And he has had more support behind him than the current Maryland coaching staff.

Former Terps in the NFL right now-guys like Vernon Davis(49ers), Darrius Heyward-Bey(Raiders), and Shawne Merriman(Bills) have been mentoring Smith as well, and Smith said that was the great thing about the football program at College Park. It’s a community that stretches far beyond the Baltimore-Washington area.

“Everyone kind of sticks together around College Park,” Smith explained. “And it gets even better when you’re outside of it.”

So with his decision, many Maryland fans are wondering, especially with the chance that there may not be NFL football next year, when is the next time we’ll see Torrey Smith catching passes on the football field?

“Being that I’m a junior, the next time you guys will see me is at the Combine, because underclassmen can’t go to any of the all-star games,” Smith admitted. “So right now, I’m going to be down here in Miami preparing for the Combine.”

Sometimes leaving as an underclassmen to the NFL can sometimes be seen as selfish and in a negative light in some fans’ eyes, but Maryland fans should respect his decision ultimately based on the fact that he put together three good years at the varsity level for the Terps, he got his diploma, and he said he will still be around supporting Randy Edsall’s Maryland team.

“I’ve definitely been following what’s been going on with the program,” Smith replied. “Just because I’m gone, I’m still a Terp. And those boys look up to me. I love them to death, so definitely I like to know what’s going on.”

And he expects the same out of Randy Edsall as he did with his coach, Ralph Friedgen.

“Everyone’s supportive of the new coach. They all seem to like him. All I know is he inherited a good team and they should expect great things from the Terps next year.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Terps and all your Baltimore sports teams! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Shawne Merriman

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Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman-in town for coat drive-hopes his career and Maryland can be turned back on

Posted on 06 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Shawne Merriman

Former Maryland linebacker Shawne Meriman was present Tuesday night’s Terps basketball game, a 95-40 victory over Colgate, for his annual coat drive, but before that time he also spent a few minutes with Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to reflect on his alma mater’s recent coaching change with the firing of Ralph Friedgen and the hiring of former UConn coach Randy Edsall.

“You know, I’m excited because it’s a step in the right direction,” Merriman said. “I went to a couple of good bowl games when I was in school and there is a lot of talent in the Maryland-D.C area. It’s really important that we embrace a coach who can keep that talent here. So hopefully, we made a step in the right direction.”

Shawne Merriman spent three seasons in College Park as hybrid defensive-end/linebacker in Ralph Friedgen’s defense. The Upper Marlboro native out of Frederick Douglas High School made an immediate impact with the Terps his freshman year in 2003, when he thrived as a situational pass rusher, earning five sacks-third best on the team.

His biggest year and what put Merriman on the map was his performance on the field in 2004, when he became a full-time starter for Maryland, earning 85 tackles and 8.5 sacks. That, along with his exceptional physical skills and his reputation as a “gym rat” earned him the 12th pick in the 2005 Draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Ultimately, he said that the University of Maryland was a big part of his success in eventually getting to the NFL, and while some may disagree with the departure of his former coach in Friedgen, Merriman said the true spirit of Maryland football will live on in Coach Edsall.

“Just from the teams I played with, there are seven or eight guys who are starting defense or offense on some team right now,” Merriman said. “It’s a bunch of talent that comes out of the school. It’s about time we got recognized for it, so as long as we keep the Terps pride, all will be good.”

Merriman’s success at the college level immediately picked right off at the NFL level for the Chargers, as Merriman earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2005 with ten sacks to his credit.

His next year became his ultimate performance of his playing ability, as he sacked the opposing quarterback 17 times while missing four games. He missed out on the Defensive Player of the Year Award to the Dolphins’ Jason Taylor and was behind Broncos CB Champ Bailey, but he did earned his first-ever Pro Bowl selection on top of being named an All-Pro for the only time in his career.

But it was in that same year in 2006 that Merriman tested positive for steroids, which ultimately led to a rule or principle known solely as “The Merriman Rule” where a player found to have used steroids during a season is not eligible for postseason awards or Pro Bowl status.

Those four games he missed that year? A suspension handed down by the NFL Office.

In 2007, he fought through numerous double-teams to register his third straight 10+ sack season, but that is where the Merriman-once known as “Lights Out“-began to flicker off.

He began to suffer greatly from injuries to his shoulder, knees, and feet and he missed significant time due to the injuries.

Over the last three seasons from 2008-2010, he has appeared in only 17 total games while registering only four total sacks.

And off the field trouble began to crop up yet again for Merriman, as a domestic abuse charge against his reality star friend, Tila Tequila, caught Merriman in another negative light.

It was all those things adding up: the steroid allegations, the lack of production on the field, not being ON the field, and the unwanted media attention that convinced the Chargers to wash their hands of him earlier this season, placing him on waivers.

At the time, talks of Merriman to the Ravens came swirling up. The Ravens at the time were in the need of help in the pass rushing department and many Ravens fans wanted to bring Merriman to home.

Too bad Buffalo swooped in, signing him to a two-year deal.

And while he didn’t suit up in a single game for the Bills, he does love the new start he is getting the AFC East with the Bills, and hopes that he can re-start the “Lights Out” routine with Buffalo by changing the lightbulb, so to speak.

“I’m happy with the team that claimed me, and I’m happy to be with the Buffalo Bills and go out there and do what I need to do and get us back to being a hell of a team like I know we can.”

Continue to follow WNST for the best sports coverage in town! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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James Franklin

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Former Maryland OC and current Vanderbilt coach James Franklin to WNST and Terps Nation: I didn’t want to walk away”

Posted on 22 December 2010 by Ryan Chell

James Franklin
Former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin meant a lot to the University of Maryland, especially this year in the Terps’  8-4 campaign helping springboard his coach in Ralph Friedgen to ACC Coach of the Year and his quarterback Danny O’Brien to ACC Rookie of the Year for 2010.

His work this season was also enough to garner attention on the national stage, as Franklin-at one point named the coach-in-waiting at College Park-was hired as the Vanderbilt Head Coach last week, the 27th man to do so in the Commodores history.

Franklin joined Thyrl Nelson and Glenn Clark on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” as an opportunity to not only wish the best for the fans cheering him on in Maryland, but to explain how hard his decision to leave an organization he has been a part of for so long in Maryland to take the head coaching position at Vanderbilt.

“I wanted an opportunity to be a head coach and I wanted to have an opportunity to do it at a great school with a great history, great tradition, and one that was in the best conferences in America,” Franklin told Nelson and Clark. “I really had narrowed it down to specific schools, but when I got the call and got a chance to talk to the people here-and in my mind that’s what it’s all about anywhere-it’s about the people.”

The school was won over by Franklin’s interview-he used the same skills in recruiting players to execute Ralph Friedgen’s offense to impress Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics David Williams II.

“The hiring of Coach Franklin represents a new day for Vanderbilt football,” Zeppos said in a press release. “He has my full support and commitment that we will help him create an environment where the successes on the field equal the university’s extraordinary successes off the field. Coach Franklin will have an immediate and positive impact on our students, alumni, faculty, staff and broader Vanderbilt community, and I welcome him to Vanderbilt.”

Ultimately though, Franklin admitted that the school won him over from the spot more than some other high-profile jobs out there that Franklin could have had.

“When I got a chance to sit down and talk to the Chancellor…and he was totally committed to winning at the highest level here.”

I just saw a tremendous commitment to excellence in everything we do, and it was an unbelievable opportunity,” he said. ” To me, it’s not about looking around country and say what jobs would I like, it came down to the people that are on those campuses and the opportunities presented to you.”

Vanderbilt will look to the offensive-minded Franklin to turn around a Commodores team that finished 2-10, and 1-7 in the tough SEC conference.

The school was looking to find a candidate who could supplant themselves as an institution at Vanderbilt-one that could bring stability to a struggling program.

“They’ve been so supportive, and they understand where we’re at, and I think after us sitting down and talking, they know where were going. They’re in this for the long haul, and they want to do this the right way. They want to build something that’s going to be built to last. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

“And they’ve been committed to that from the first time I’ve talked to them. But we have to keep improving, just like we did at Maryland this year. We got better every single game throughout the season, and if we do that, we’ll take that same approach here at Vanderbilt.”

In July, Bobby Johnson stepped down as coach of the program after 8 seasons on the Commodore sidelines, but he finished with a 29-66 record during his time in Nashville. Robbie Caldwell took over for Johnson and led the team this year with the interim title attached to his name, and he resigned after the season was completed.

Franklin-who is the school’s first ever minority candidate-brings with him an impressive resume to the SEC school. Franklin, 38, has been in the coaching ranks since 1995 both at the college and professional levels.

His first big stop at the college level came in 1998 when the was a graduate assistant to Mike Price at Washington State, followed by a stop at Idaho State as their receivers coach the following season.

He came to College Park in 2000 and a little less than a season in, the Terps head coach at the time-Ron Vanderlinden -was relieved of his duties and replaced by(continued…)

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Jimbo Fisher

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Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher sizes up Terps for Saturday’s game

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Ryan Chell

Jimbo Fisher

The Maryland Terrapins football team (7-3, 4-2 ACC) is on its way toward an Atlantic Division championship, and maybe their biggest hurdle toward that goal is the Florida State Seminoles (7-3, 5-2 ACC).

And FSU’s coach, first-year coach Jimbo Fisher, joined “The Morning Reaction” Wednesday to preview the hurdle in front of his squad that Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen is showing right now.

“‘They’re doing a great job,” Fisher said. “Ralph’s a very good football coach, and their staff and him have done a really great job. The kids are really playing well.”

Both teams come in with identical 7-3 records, with Maryland standing at 4-2 in the ACC and the Seminoles with a record of 5-2.

Maryland and the Terps’ next opponent, N.C. State, control their own destinies from this point on.

Maryland may be the benefactor of an easy schedule this year, but for the Seminoles, the team in College Park is another ACC opponent and a big rivalry game on the road that they can’t take for granted.

Maryland has the biggest turnaround in the ACC(+5), and Maryland’s offense has scored 40 or more points four times this year.

And ultimately, Fisher already knows what the key is to stopping Maryland’s progress. And it all hangs on the play of freshman Terps quarterback Danny O’Brien, who recently threw for 289 yards and two scores in Maryland’s 42-23 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers.

O’Brien currently has 1,571 yards on the season and has averaged 213 ypg in his seven starts.

“I remember him in high school,” Fisher said. “I saw him and liked him a bunch. I really did.”

“He has big arm talent like you said, very accurate, who has the instincts, pocket presence, throws the ball where it’s got to go, in a hurry, is a leader, and he has all the intangibles. He’s made a difference, and they’ve done a great job playing around.”

Fisher said it’s been a difficult look for him to evaluate the Terps, as it seems game-in and game-out Maryland seems to either run all over their opponent or throw the ball over the top.

The inconsistency has challenged Fisher’s defense in practice this week.

“Ralph makes up a lot of different looks, they run the option, and they do a lot of different things. So they will have all the facets they need, but quarterback has really made a big change for them,” Fisher noted.

Fisher said he has his own plans to balance the Seminoles attack against the Terps on Saturday to avoid a Maryland defense capable of grabbing turnovers.

Maryland has 15 interceptions on the season-the most for the Terps since 2002-and eight of them have come from their linebacking corps of Adrian Moten, Alex Wujciak, Demetrius Hartsfield, and Ryan Donohue.

“I’ve always believed in balance,” Fisher replied. “You have to be able to throw it, and you have to be able to run it. If you can’t do both, good teams will eventually shut you down and we’ll watch you go in and play good defense.”

” They do a good job…Maryland creates a lot of turnovers, and I think that’s one of the things they realize they’re doing well. They’re plus-13 in the turnover ratio, and they do a tremendous job of getting turnovers on defense.”

The news Thursday around College Park was that Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen would be returning for an 11th season.

Friedgen joined the elite coaching ranks of the ACC as he recently became only the 13th head coach conference history to amass 70 career wins.

Fisher threw a lot of  respect toward his counterpart, but Forrester also asked Jimbo Fisher what it was like to replace a legend in his own right.

Fisher was the coach in-waiting for the Seminoles (a similar situation with Terps offensive coordinator James Franklin under Friedgen) behind longtime coach Bobby Bowden, who spent 33 years on the sidelines at Florida State.

Jimbo Fisher

Fisher said there has been a lot of pressure on him to perform-which he has so far this year-but still it’s always tough being the first guy to get the coaching gig after a living legend at an institution moves on.

“It’s been really good,” Fisher said. “Bowden was a legend. He was a hero and he was my hero. We were very close, and it’s been very good.”

“When I look at the numbers, when you’re replacing a legend, you don’t want to be the first guy, but when you’re offered a job like that, you don’t go, nah.”

But so far, he has received the full support of the boosters and the fan-base and that’s all he can ask for.

“You’re still getting 70,000-plus fans a game,” Fisher said. “We are, and we had a super crowd last game, and it was a good atmosphere. The more games we win, the more support we will get from the fans.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Terps as we close out the season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Maryland Terrapin commit Nick Faust ready to prove that Gary Williams can recruit Baltimore prep athletes

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Maryland Terrapin commit Nick Faust ready to prove that Gary Williams can recruit Baltimore prep athletes

Posted on 04 November 2010 by Ryan Chell

Over Gary Williams‘ time in College Park, numerous Maryland basketball fans have been quick to point out about the number of Baltimore and Maryland-based basketball players who leave the area to go to other universities and institutions and find success there.

There have been exceptions to that belief over the years-most notably guard Juan Dixon-and last week, Gary Williams and Maryland proved the doubters wrong yet again by landing four-star recruit and the 37th ranked high-school recruit in the nation in guard Nick Faust, who plays his high school ball at City College right around the corner from where Memorial Stadium used to lie.

ESPN U had him ranked the 9th shooting guard overall and has him at a 95-ranking. He also earned a four-star recruit status by Scouts Inc as well as ESPN U.

He had received offers from other schools such as Florida State, Villanova, Marquette and Oregon State, but in the end he chose the hometown school on a live ESPNU broadcast last week.

“It was a long process, but Maryland started recruiting me over the summer time. After that, it just felt like a second home to me, so that’s why I decided to go there,” Faust told Drew Forrester of “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday.

Credit Maryland assistant coaches Keith Booth and the new addition in Bino Ranson with the commitment.

In the end, while some kids want to get away from their current surroundings to go to school, Faust said being close to his family and friends was too much to pass up on.

“I was thinking about other places at first, but then I thought about my family and staying close to home, things like that,” he said.

And much like the former Maryland native who came on to join Gary Williams’ team in Dixon, Faust told Drew Forrester that he models his game after Juan Dixon.

Faust has taken City College to the last two 2A State Championships before transferring from John Carroll. In his junior year last winter, he averaged 19.7 points per game and 5.3 rebounds, which caught the eye of many a Division-1 programs.

The only knock on Faust may be his size. At 6’6”, 175, Faust may need to grow a little more, but the experts are certain that Coach Williams will get him in the weight room and will bulk him up the way he did with Dixon and Lonny Baxter from that National Championship team.

But Faust does know this. He likes Williams’ game-plan when it comes to playing the game of basketball.

“I think I fit very well in the style of play with the flex offense,” he said.

“But he knows that he still needs to improve so that he can live up to his full potential, and when he joins the team in 2011, he knows that he will be ready to compete alongside the likes of former St. Frances guard Sean Mosely.

“Right now, I am just working on my game every day,” Faust said, “getting stronger, just to get ready for the season and get ready for college.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Terps as we prepare for the 2010 season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking!

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Jim Grobe

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Wake Forest football coach Jim Grobe hoping RB Josh Harris spearheads Demon Deacon’s confidence boost with win over Maryland

Posted on 29 October 2010 by Ryan Chell

A young football team sometimes hits big slides, and that is certainly is the diagnosis that Wake Forest football coach Jim Grobe gave Thyrl Nelson Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” as his Demon Deacons prepare for the Maryland Terrapins Saturday at 3:30.

Jim Grobe

The Demon Deacons(2-5, 1-3 ACC) are on a five-game slide, and despite the circumstances and a weak schedule for Maryland, Wake knows what they have in front of them with the Terps on Saturday.

“We’re playing a really good Maryland team that’s on a roll right now,” Grobe said. “We’ve played five pretty teams here in a row, and we’re getting ready to play the sixth one.”

Thyrl asked Coach Grobe if beating Maryland-which scheduled Saturday’s contest as their homecoming game(which sometime can be deemed an insult to a visiting squad)-is considered a statement game, but Grobe said a team that is in their position really isn’t in a position to be playing a game that fits that description.

“When you’ve lost five straight, I don’t think you start talking about statement games,” Grobe said. “For us, we’re playing a lot of young guys right now, and at times we haven’t played really well, but at times we’ve played okay.”

Grobe is in his tenth season at the helm of the Demon Deacons, and has a record of 61-56 at Wake Forest. Before moving to coach in Carolina, Grobe had spent six previous seasons coaching the Ohio Bobcats.

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Maryland beats Navy 17-14

Posted on 07 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

My Dad grew up a Baltimore Colt fan, and while as he went through college and started a family he probably lost his “die-hard” tag, to this day he still has a Baltimore Colt trash can in his garage. To this day I think he probably likes Fidel Castro a bit more than Robert Irsay, who moved the Colts to Indianapolis when I was three years old. While when it came to professional football I grew up rooting on the burgundy and gold, I also spent a lot of Saturday afternoons at Byrd Stadium with my Dad and his college buddies. While those are great memories with my father, there was always a certain bitterness that I sensed from him towards the entire football establishment. As I got older (and more and more infatuated with sports), I realized that his team was taken from him by a drunk hack of an owner.

Unfortunately, Irsay was probably well ahead of his time in that the reason he moved the team was due to the fact that the city wouldn’t build him a state-of-the-art stadium with luxury suites. (10-15 years later, it would become commonplace for teams in all sports to hold cities hostage if they balked on a stadium deal.) That aside, my Dad and I went to yesterday’s Maryland Terrapin season opener against Navy at M & T Bank Stadium. It was his first time attending a game at the stadium that’s become the home of Baltimore football. Our seats were on the club level at the 50-yd line (a friend of my Dad’s that came with us bought them off some guy on the street for half price). He was absolutely stunned when he entered the stadium and saw what a great place it was. I don’t think he would ever admitt it, but I think he was somewhat moved by all of the pictures and murals on the walls of the concourse depicting the old Baltimore Colts. Furthermore he was very impressed with the fact that on the Ravens ring of honor they had a banner that said “Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts.”

The game itself was a great defensive battle. The Terps scored on their first two drives of the game (without even having to put the ball in the air), which had me wondering if they might run Navy out of the stadium. However the Mids battled back to tie it at 14 in the third quarter. It was fairly obvious to me that Jamarr Robinson doesn’t have the confidence of Ralph Friedgen. Robinson had six pass attempts in the entire game, completing two for 11 yards. That’s almost unheard of in contemporary college football. The one time he did take a shot down the field the pass was picked off. Midway through the third quarter Ralph Friedgen appeared to lose confidence in Robinson, as he inserted Danny O’Brien in at QB, however that was short lived. Speaking for myself, I’d love to see Maryland with a more balanced attack offensively. In all seriousness, they might not win another game this season if they can’t get downfield through the air.

Defensively the Terps seemed to struggle with Navy’s triple-threat option between the 20’s. When the Mids got inside the red zone the Terrapin defense tightened, and was solid. The Terps got strong efforts from Adrian Moten and Kenny Tate. Moten caused Navy QB Ricky Dobbs to fumble in the third quarter when he “supermaned” over the line to tackle him inside the five yard line. On Navy’s final drive of the game, Moten also got flagged for what I think was a bogus facemask penalty after the Terps had stopped Dobbs on third and eight. Replays appeared to show Moten’s hand brushing across Dobbs’ helmet; definitely what I would call a ticky-tack penalty, especially in the fourth quarter. Furthermore, the officials seemed to let both teams play for the entire game, but started throwing laundry out on the field in the last 15 minutes. To make that call at such a critical juncture of the game is…ticky-tack as I put it. With the Terps having kicked a go-ahead field goal, Maryland led 17-14 on that last drive. Dobbs drove the ball down to the one, where Navy had it fourth and goal with thirty seconds left. Conventional wisdom says you kick a field goal; Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo wanted to win it outright at that moment, so he went for the TD. Long story short, Kenny Tate stopped Dobbs short of the goal line, giving Maryland the victory in one of the best football games I’ve ever seen. While I’m ecstatic that Maryland won, Niumatalolo’s decision should not be second guessed. Going for it on fourth and goal was one of the gutsiest calls I’ve ever seen a coach make, and he should be applauded for trying to win it as opposed to settling.

Overall, it was a great day for football, but more importantly for me I’m glad that I got to be there with my Dad. While he’d shrug it off now as being overly sentimental, I know that the Baltimore Colts meant a lot to him when he was younger, and those memories still resonate with him to this day. To be able to attend a game with him in the stadium that is now the Colts’ legacy was very special. However the real winner was the state of Maryland, who can boast both the Mids and the Terps as great programs.

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