Tag Archive | "Maryland Terrapins"

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Crab Bowl: One Major step forward for Maryland? One major step backwards for Navy?

Posted on 06 September 2010 by Shawn Credle

Crab Bowl: One Major step forward for Maryland! one major step backwards for Navy?

34 seconds left. All Navy had to do is cross the goal line that was inches away. It was all over. After watching the season Maryland had last year, scoring this touchdown should have been easy. However, Kenny Tate, the Maryland safety, who is as big as a linebacker, did the unthinkable and stopped Navy’s Quarterback Ricky Dobbs at the goal line, to preserve the 17-14 victory on Labor Day Monday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Why unthinkable? Because Dobbs is the man who, last year, broke the single season college football record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 27. Dobbs ran one in for a touchdown in the 3rd Quarter. But the Maryland defense really stepped up when they had to. Give them credit. Especially after you realize that they were on the field for over 39 minutes.

Maryland was lucky. But sometimes, it’s better to be lucky instead of good. The Terps were up early 14-0 in the 1st quarter. But then, the old Terrapins began to reappear. Maryland was outgained by more than 200 yards, and gave up over 400 yards rushing to the Midshipmen. That’s unbelievable. Maryland could not stop the run.

The game was sloppy also. Bad penalties and multiple turnovers marred the game. But, in the end, watching the Maryland team come together for that goal-line stance was amazing. They got the job done. And, in the process, managed to win their first game since October 3, 2009. One more win, and they will match their win total from a year ago, when they went 2-10 (the first double-digit loss season ever for Maryland).

But what about Navy? Navy was a touchdown favorite. They finished last year with a 10-4 record, and beat Missouri to win the Texas Bowl on New Year’s Eve. They had all of the momentum (and high expectations) going into this game. Now, Coach Ken Niumatalolo and company have to figure out a way to fix all of the problems before they face Georgia Southern on September 11th. Maybe next time, if they find themselves in that situation again at the goal line, they will go for the tie instead on the win. Better to take your chances in overtime, than to wonder “What if?”.

Next for Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen and the team, the Morgan State Bears on September 11th. Let’s hope Maryland rides the wave from this victory and takes this upcoming game seriously. Otherwise, Morgan State could be this year’s Middle Tennessee State for the Terps.

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What do you expect from the Terps’ football team in 2010?

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

On Labor Day, we’ll get our first look at the Maryland Terrapins’ football team this year when they take on Navy at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. As we unfortunately remember, the Terps posted their worst finish under Ralph Friedgen in 2009 with a 2-10 record. However it is worth noting that quarterback Chris Turner was injured towards the end of the season, but also suffered injury problems through most of the year. As is the case with any football team at any level, it all begins and ends with the quarterback position. Much like a lead off hitter in baseball, a quarterback streamlines the entire offense and in many cases the entire team. This year junior Jamarr Robinson will be the starting quarterback for Maryland, who we saw fill in for the injured Turner in the final two games of last season.

So given that the Maryland offense struggled for most of the year in 2009, what makes anyone think that won’t be the status quo in 2010? First off, there’s a big difference in terms of preparation between being the starting quarterback and being a backup. Friedgen is on record as saying that he’s seen a sizable change in Robinson in terms of being a vocal team leader, as well as improving upon his reads and timing with his receivers. At the wideout position Robinson will be complimented on either side by Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon, both of whom figured into the offense last season. The offensive line will return three of five starters, and Robinson will also have tailbacks Davin Meggett and Da’Rel Scott at his disposal. However as I said, everything begins and ends with the quarterback position in football; the success or failure in Maryland’s season will bank on the play of Robinson. From what Coach Friedgen has said, Robinson appears ready to take the reins as the Terps’ next quarterback. I suppose you could look at Robinson’s two starts at the tail end of last season (both losses) similar to preseason games in the NFL. Luckily for him he was able to gain some in-game experience under center, and now he needs to build upon that going into 2010.

On the defensive side of the ball the Terps are only returning five players from last year’s group, however one of them is (linebacker) All-American candidate Alex Wujciak. The defense struggled last season in that they couldn’t make key stops in a lot of close games, and in a few others they allowed Maryland to simply be blown out (the loss to Va Tech comes to mind). So in that sense perhaps heavy turnover isn’t such a bad thing, however the starting defense will be very young this season. In Maryland’s final seven games of the season (all losses), four of them were by seven points or less. Many of those games featured Maryland having the lead, and having the opposing team drive down the field at the end of the game for a winning score. Consistency on the defensive side of the football might well be as important to this team as the play of Jamarr Robinson on offense.

As is the case every year, the schedule itself will play into how Maryland finishes the year. The Terps start things off with the above-mentioned game against Navy in Baltimore. That should be a great day for local college football fans, with the best of the Old Line State on display in the heart and soul of the state of Maryland, the city of Baltimore. Maryland then heads to Byrd Stadium in week two for it’s official home opener, before hitting the road for a tough game at West Virginia in week three. Speaking for myself, I don’t get into the whole thing of teasing WVU fans about burning sofas and so forth, however…can I just state my complete and utter disdain for the West Virginia Mountaineers?! Throw the Virginia Tech Hokies into that mix as well. Maryland will also host Florida International in week four prior to starting the ACC schedule, which will ultimately tell the tale of the season. The Terps went 1-7 in conference play last year, so in my opinion a reasonable goal would be to go .500 in 2010. While this was a very bad team last year, keep in mind that you only need six wins to in theory qualify for a bowl game. So that makes the WVU game that much bigger seeing that if the Terps finish the year at 6-6, they’d be on the bubble in theory. A big win at a quality opponent always looks good. That aside, this team lost a lot of close games last season, so perhaps given those experiences the contingent of players that remain from that injury-plauged roster can help them to win some close ones in 2010.

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Gary Williams to be inducted into the Hall of Legends

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

My parents met at the University of Maryland in the early 1970’s; I came along four years after they got married. That’s good family planning, huh?! Nevertheless, I spent a lot of autumn afternoons at Byrd Stadium, and many winter days and nights at Cole Field House rooting on the Terps. I have only a few memories of the final years of Lefty Drisell, however the coach that I’ve known and loved for most of my life has been Gary Williams. I’ve been involved in sports in various capacities since I was a small child in that I’ve played, coached, and most importantly been a fan. I’ve met my share of sports figures (current and retired), but there are few that would literally make me get nervous when I met them. Coach Gary Williams falls into that category, as probably do Cal Ripken Jr, and Coach Joe Gibbs. On September 30th Gary Williams will be honored by being inducted into the Hall of Legends in Baltimore, joining such notable figures such as Johnny Unitas, Art Modell, and Brooks Robinson.

There’s no question that this is an honor that is well-deserved on Gary’s part. We all know his story, so I won’t bore you with the specific details. However needless to say he’s won 649 career games as a head coach (American University, Boston College, Ohio State, and Maryland), a national title, and an ACC crown. But perhaps more importantly than that, he picked up a program that was very near and dear to his heart when it was down and forgotten. In 1989 when he took the job, who would have thought that Maryland would be the 2002 National Champions? We all know that Gary’s a big time yeller on the sidelines during the games, and that he takes his team very seriously. How many times have we seen him scream at guys on the bench for something that happened on the court? How many times have we seen him go after officials after a bad call against the Terps? This is all part of the Gary Williams lore, and there’s no question that the program wouldn’t be where it is today if not for all of those aspects.

I don’t know Gary Williams personally, but I have met him twice in my life. The first time he was kind enough to sign my copy of his book, Sweet Redemption. However it was the second time I spoke with him (approximately a year later) that told me a lot about what kind of person he really is. At the time, my father was undergoing chemotherapy during cancer treatments. Gary Williams was doing an appearance at a local restaurant, and I asked if he wouldn’t mind signing a new Terp hat that I had bought; I asked him to make it out to my father, who was getting chemo at the time. I could see his entire demeanor change, and he spoke to me for the better part of five minutes about my Dad, and how he felt bad for our family to have to go through this and so forth. I’ve known for a long time that he was heavily involved in Coaches vs. Cancer and so forth, but I could tell that he was very genuine in his comments about my father, and that meant a lot to me. He finished the conversation by telling me that he’d keep my Dad in his thoughts and that the team would include him in a special prayer that they would do before the Coaches vs. Cancer game that season. I’m not big on public displays of emotion, but I had to go in the bathroom and “compose” myself, because that really meant a lot to me.

Gary Williams has been written off more times than I’d care to mention, and yet he’s always proved his critics wrong. How often was Grevis Vasquez criticized during his stint at Maryland, and thus how often was Gary criticized by extentsion? When most people think back on Gary’s career at Maryland, they’ll probably think about the national title, or perhaps even the ACC title. I think that when it’s all said and done with, I’ll probably remember one specific memory. As we remember in 2008-2009, the Washington Post did a series of articles outlining Gary’s shortcomings as a recruiter. At the time, he was very much on the hot seat. However Maryland rattled off win after win after win (including a Grevis Vasquez-inspirined victory against UNC which will probably always be one of Williams’ biggest wins at Maryland), propelling them into the NCAA tournament. As a result, I firmly believe that the team came back much stronger in 200-2010, and ultimately won a share of the ACC title. That was clinched on the last day of the regular season with a victory at Virginia. I’ll never forget at the end of the game, the cameras caught a shot of Gary Williams calmly walking off the court. And I think that’s how I’ll remember him when it’s over; just sort of walking away, victory in hand.

In my mind, being inducted into the Hall of Legends is well deserved for a coach who hasn’t gotten nearly the accolades that he should. Maryland has always been a program that’s unfortunately had trouble getting out of the shadow of Duke and Carolina, but Gary Williams brought that dream to reality in winning the title in 2002. If there’s one thing you can never do, it’s count out a Gary Williams-led team, or the man himself. His defeated critics line the road down which he’s walked in order to get to where he is today. Also lining that route are the thousands upon thousands of grateful Maryland Terrapin fans.

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Gary Neal

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Gary Neal Traveled Far And Wide To Make NBA

Posted on 30 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Gary Neal
For Gary Neal, at the end of his amateur career in basketball, he was determined to make it to the NBA.

So much so, that he said to himself that being in the NBA’s Developmental League, essentially the minor leagues of the NBA, was not an option.

He took his skills overseas, playing in Turkey, Spain, and Italy in an attempt to garner attention from NBA scouts as they kept an eye on guys to invite to their Summer League teams.

And that is exactly what happened. The San Antonio Spurs saw what Neal, a former standout at Aberdeen and Calvert Hall, and signed Neal to a 3-year guaranteed contract.

“It for me was a dream come true,” Neal told Thyrl Nelson Monday. “It was definitely something that I was grateful for…to be able to play in the NBA.

“This is a dream that you think about when you’re 5 years old, and you’re running around with your brothers and your cousins playing basketball. Everybody just dreams of being in the NBA or the NFL and playing professional sports, and I’m extremely thankful and grateful that I got the opportunity and now I’m trying to just make the most of it.”

This is quite the honor for Neal, who last played his college ball right here in Towson, playing for the Tigers in 2007. That year, Neal, a shooting guard, averaged 25.3 PPG, 3.5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds as he helped Towson reach the second round of the CAA Tournament.

Neal came to Towson after being kicked off the La Salle basketball team for allegedly raping a female basketball player from the University of New Haven, but the charges were dropped after a lack of evidence could not prove that the victim was  drunk as she so claimed and that it was not consensual sex.

Neal was very productive in Summer League play, averaging a team-high 16 PPG, 2.6 rebounds, and shot 50% from the field and from beyond the arc, a statistic in particular that Neal felt made it a done deal.

“I’ve always been known as a 3-point shooter, but that raised a lot of eyebrows in Vegas. For a guy to come in and shoot in five games 50% from the the 3-point line, that really put the nail in the coffin for me as far as being an NBA shooter.”

When Neal left Towson after his senior year, he got a taste of what the NBA had to offer, but his name was not called in the First-Year Draft that year.

“I had a couple NBA workouts, but I didn’t get any serious interests,” Neal said.

After that occurred, Neal decided that he wasn’t going to give up on his dream. But he also had to support himself financially, so the D-league was not an option.

Neal then signed with the Pinar Karsiyaka of the Turkish of the Turkish Basketball League, and in just four months of action, he was leading the league in scoring (26.5 PPG).

Neal learned a lot from playing in Turkey, which he said was a huge culture shock, but yet a confidence-builder on its own.

“My father was in the military, so I had been in Europe before. But Turkey was a different and new experience…definitely a different culture. It was totally different. It helped me get mentally stronger, from being away from my family and being in a social environment like Turkey… it’s so far way from anything you encounter in America.”

But Neal said it was something he knew he had to do to return to America and play in the NBA.

“When I started in Turkey for my European career, I said I want to play in the NBA, so I just have to play my best and produce at a high level so that the NBA will eventually give me a chance.”

FC Barcelona then purchased his contract from Pinar, a team that has had big time NBA players on it such as Pau Gasol. It got even better when the Italian Lega A team, the Benetton Treviso, wanted his services. Widely regarded as one of the top teams in not only Italy, but Europe as a whole, Neal’s name started to be mentioned back in the states, most notably with the San Antonio Spurs.

Neal said that the European experience really was a huge asset for him.

“Ive been doing the overseas thing for the past few years. Ive had a pretty good career over here which allowed me the opportunity and the exposure to have a chance play in the NBA for a team like San Antonio.”

Neal said the Spurs were ecstatic about bringing him into the fold.

“They were following me, they called me this summer to a couple of their mini-camps, and then they invited me on their summer league team, and after that, they offered me a contract.”

And already, Neal said he knows the differences between playing in Europe and America. It’s simple. The game steps up when you hit the hardwood in the NBA.

“As far as the difference between the NBA and the European game, it has to be the athleticism. In the NBA, you have guys who are longer, quicker, and more athletic than you would in Europe. That’s a big difference.”

And already, Neal is building new relationships and maintaining old ones that he had several years ago when he was a promising prospect in this league. One player in particular, and one of his current teammates, is none other than a former Maryland prep star and former Terp in James Gist, who the Spurs drafted in the second round in 2008 and like Neal decided to play overseas to build his NBA resume.

James Gist

“He’s a guy that as soon as we both saw that we were going to San Antonio in the airport when we were going down to the mini-camp,  a guy I connected with, and linked up, and a guy that I got along with great.”

And despite Gist breaking his wrist in Summer League action, he heard some good news from the higher-ups in the organization that the Spurs intend to keep him around or at least keep him in mind when he is on the mend.

“San Antonio is a first class organization. He’s still going to be down there, and they’re still going to give him an opportunity to make the team and to get signed. I wish James the best, and hopefully he can sign that contract, and become great friends as San Antonio Spurs together.”

Also during Summer League play, one of his games was against the Memphis Grizzlies, who have Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez on the team. Neal liked what he saw out of Greivis and said he has the stuff to be great in the NBA.

He’s a very good player,” Neal told Nelson. “He has great size for the point-guard position, especially in the NBA. And I just think a guy like that, who plays with a lot of enthusiasm, he has a great future.”

And Neal already has an idea of how his future with the Spurs panned out.

“Its definitely a situation where I’ll have to earn the spot because San Antonio drafted another shooting guard from Oklahoma State in James Anderson. It’s realistic I could be coming off the bench getting between 12-18 minutes behind Manu Ginobli at the shooting guard spot if I play well in training camp and the exhibition games.”

“There’s definitely a lot of opportunities in San Antonio for me, and that was one of the major reasons why I decided to sign with San Antonio because there is opportunity for me.”

And even though he is ready to hit it big time in the NBA, he still keeps in contact with the Towson staff and still considers himself part of the Tigers community. And Towson has embraced him right back.

“Ive been talking, working out, and playing with Kurk Lee[former Towson and Western Kentucky Standout] for the last five years. I’m down there all the time. He’s a great guy and he’s a very positive guy. As far as with the Towson program, they’ve been very open to me when I come home in the summertime. I can always get in the gym and work out.”

“The Towson University athletic staff and the program and the basketball community has always been open with me and great with me. I’m going to continue and try and stay involved and active in the Towson basketball program.”

So much so that when he’s done with his NBA career, he wants to be a part of the Tigers coaching staff. And I’m sure Pat Kennedy or whoever is the coach at the time will surely save Neal a seat on the bench.

“When I’m done running up and down the court, I would love to be a coach with Towson, an assistant or something like that.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to track Gary Neal’s career in the NBA. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Len Elmore

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Len Elmore On What New Maryland AD Needs: “The Ability…To Make A Decision That’s Best For the University”

Posted on 16 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Len Elmore
Len Elmore is a big part of the University of Maryland‘s athletic past.

During his playing days at College Park as a member of the men’s basketball team, Elmore was a three-time All-ACC selection, and was named to the 50th Anniversary team of the conference. He is the school’s all-time leading rebounder. He was an All-Star selection in last year at Maryland in 1974, and he went on to become a first round selection by the Bullets that same year.

He then took his talents to a 10-year NBA career, but even after his career ended he stayed close to basketball. In 1992, he founded a sports management company, called Precept Sports and Entertainment. And in 1997, he began the job that most people nowadays know him for-broadcasting games for ESPN.

But now Elmore has a new job on his already busy plate-picking a new athletic director after the departure of Debbie Yow to North Carolina State. But he did have enough time to spend with Drew Forrester earlier this week talking about the search committee that he is a member of to hand pick a new captain steering Maryland’s athletic program.

Elmore told Forrester that actually this 13-man board was actually already prepared for this job, because over the years, the University heard rumors that Yow was on the move out.

“There had been some rumblings over the last couple of years that Debbie has looking to move on,” Elmore said. “There is a point of understanding sometimes that you can stay in one place too long.”

But Elmore did give Yow credit for making sure everything was in working order instead of just driving down to Raleigh in a flash.

“To her credit, the athletic department is in pretty good shape. She left it in a manner and position where her successor won’t be filled with anxt coming into the job. There will be some tough decisions, but all in all its in better position than most athletic departments at other major colleges.”

Elmore did say though that while Yow had problems communicating with most of the coaches on campus; ironically, who are members of the committee to find a successor, Yow did a great job in her 16 years at College Park.

“I’m sure this is telling any secrets, but there was some difficulty in developing relationships and maintaining relationships among some of her key coaches. Other than that, I can’t really point to any real weaknesses. She did a terrific job under her watch. Maryland regained national prominence.”

Elmore did say that Yow’s ability to keep her personal relationships out of her decisions was a great thing for the athletic director’s position, and they will look to find someone else who shares those traits.”

“The ability to make tough decisions,” Elmore said when asked what the most important trait was that the athletic director needs. “When you’ve got different interests pulling away at you, you certainly have to sit down and make a decision that’s best for the university, and not behold onto any special interests.”

One might ask the question though-with 17 different people from different backgrounds-coaches, ex-players like Elmore close to the university, and administrative staff, how can that many people agree to disagree when it comes down to making a choice that’s best for the University of Maryland?

Elmore has the same hesitation, but he assures those who are interested in their search that eventually the amount of smart people in the room(Elmore, joked saying there were actually 16 smart people in the room), they will know who the right candidate will be when they pop up.

“We wont know for sure till our first meeting, which is upcoming. At first blush, it might seem unwieldy. But when you have smart people in the room, you have an opportunity to do something that’s very important. And I think people find a way to come together with the very diverse expertise that were going to have on a board of that size. And ultimately we’re going to whittle things down to the point where at we’re all going to be on the same page. It really depends on the makeup of the committee, not necessarily the numbers.

And Elmore also said that the committee is going to see what kinds of needs the University has, and then go from there when it comes to picking a candidate.

“A lot of the nuts and bolts of the AD’s job responsibilities and a lot of the depth of of what is needed going forward with how the athletic department is positioned right now remains to be seen. And again, we wont know that until we get involved in a meeting.”

And while Elmore and the search committee would love to choose a candidate that has done this before on this kind of stage, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a choice who has been around the block. It just has to be someone right for the University of Maryland at College Park.

“I would say experience certainly counts, but you can find experience in some reasonably young athletic director who has been there. You don’t necessarily have to get someone who will look at this as their absolute last job. It really comes down to looking at the department’s needs. And really the person making the choice is not going to be the committee, its going to be the new President.

And Elmore said that with incumbent President Dr. Mote resigning, it is only fitting that the new President, whoever it may be, should be the one to say the final say.

“Its only fair that the new President gets to pick the person they’re going to work with whom they’re going to work with closely.”

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Landon Milbourne

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Former Terp Milbourne Looking for Work

Posted on 16 June 2010 by Ryan Chell

Landon Milbourne

Former Maryland Terrapin forward Landon Milbourne recently returned from a workout with the Indiana Pacers this week in the hopes that he will eventually be a member of the team come next season.

The first people he talked to when he got back? WNST’s own Glenn Clark and Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction”.

Milbourne, who not only played significantly three out of the four years at College Park, is trying to keep up the progress he has shown over the last two years playing for coach Gary Williams and hoping it equates to success on the next level, the NBA.

He has made sure to stay on the top of his game, because he doesn’t know when the next opportunity will be come knocking.

“That’s how it is,” Milbourne said. “You’re definitely on call and you don’t know when or where you next workout is.”

Overall, he said his agent told him the Pacers really liked him, maybe enough to make him a 2nd round pick.

“It went really well. My agent called back to say they loved me. Definitely I’m in consideration for a second round pick.”

“They were real satisfied with what I did, and hopefully I’ll get a job there.”

Milbourne, who is originally from Georgia, was a starter for the Terps the last two seasons, and especially in his junior year he was called upon to be the big body scorer for the Terps despite only being 6’7 205.

In his junior year, he averaged in double-figures in points (11.4) and contributed five rebounds a game for Williams’ squad. His numbers blossomed a year later due to the better team around Milbourne, including the presence of freshman Jordan Williams and the All-American play of Greivis Vasquez.

Milbourne finished his senior year, a season in which Maryland made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, with 12.7 ppg and 4 rebounds. He finished in doubles figures in 2/3 of the Terps’ games this year, including a nine-game stretch through the end of December into January.

Milbourne just wants to take what he’s learned from Coach Williams and at Maryland and put it to good use playing for an NBA franchise.

It was a great opportunity and I’m very thankful to have that. Playing under Coach Williams gives you some credibility alone, cause they know what kind of player they’re going to get.

“They’re going to get a hard worker and a guy with some fire. I’m thankful to be able to play under a soon-to-be Hall of Fame coach like Gary.”

And he would like more than else to do even more than his father, Andre Forman, who is the career scoring leader at Salisbury and played on several teams overseas.

Milbourne has already tried out for two more franchise so far this offseason, including the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards, who in Maryland’s backyard have taken fliers on former Maryland guys like Steve Blake, Juan Dixon, and Lonny Baxter.

He just wants his shot and he has been working hard to get it. And he knows that even if the Pacers don’t take a shot, he thinks that there is at least one other team out there that would want his services.

“That’s what they tell you. You always have another chance to be with another team if you don’t get drafted. That’s an opportunity to get where you want to go, and you have to take advantage.”

Tune into “The Morning Reaction” on WNST 6-10 AM Monday through Friday to keep up with Landon Milbourne’s path to the NBA!

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Terps Lax

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Rooting on (The State of) Maryland in NCAA Lacrosse

Posted on 26 March 2010 by Derek Arnold

Terps Lax

Last Saturday I attended my first NCAA men’s lacrosse game of the 2010 season (Thanks to ESPN Zone Baltimore for the free tickets!) Watching UMBC take on Maryland, I didn’t really care who won, I just wanted to see a competitive game. I’m a UMBC alum, but a fan of all things Terps (as readers of this blog know), and of the two, the Terps have a much better shot at bringing a National Championship home to Maryland sooner. With UMBC having won the previous three in the series, I expected a hard-fought game. Maryland, though, dominated from the opening whistle, winning easily 13-7. The Retrievers struggled to hit the net all day, as shot after shot flew wide of the pipes.

Dave Cottle’s Terrapins are now 5-0 and ranked fourth in the USILA coaches poll.

On the flip side, the loss dropped UMBC to 1-5. To their credit, they have played an absolutely BRUTAL schedule thus far, losing four games to teams ranked in the Top 8 nationally. They will likely need to win the America East Conference to get into the NCAA Tournament in May.

Don Zimmerman’s Retrievers aren’t the only local team struggling to start the season, though. Perennial power Johns Hopkins finds themselves in a very unfamiliar position, outside of the Top 10. Likewise, the Towson Tigers had a rough March, sitting at 1-4.

With so many local programs threatening to have down years, we face the prospect of the Old Line State being laregely underrepresented at M&T Bank Stadium on Memorial Day Weekend.

If it comes down to non-Maryland teams in the Final Four and/or Championship Game, I have a backup strategy for lacrosse rooting interests: pull for the team with more kids from Maryland on their roster.

Lacrosse is unique among college sports in that, for most of it’s history, the teams on the highest levels were stocked with players from pretty much only two areas of the country: Baltimore and Long Island, NY. Unless there is some sort of NCAA Crab-Picking Championship that I’m unaware of, lacrosse is the easiest sport in which to find Maryland athletes participating. In particular, the MIAA A conference, with school such as Gilman, Boys Latin, and Loyola, routinely sends players to the top programs.

With that in mind, let’s look at the current Top 10, and the number of players that played high school ball here in MD:

#1 – Virginia (8 out of 41 players are from Maryland, or 19.5%)
#2 – Syracuse (0/50)

Hang on a second…REALLY? Really, John Desko? You couldn’t find ONE kid from Maryland worth of your precious roster? Despite ‘Cuse’s “run ‘n gun” offense being a blast to watch, they are now my LEAST favorite team. Congrats, Cuse, you are now the Duke of College Lacrosse. I’m now that much happier about Butler beating the Orange in the Sweet 16 last night.

Moving on…

#3 – North Carolina (10/44 – 22.7%)
#4 – Maryland (20/47 – 42.6%)
#5 – Princeton (8/47 – 17%)
#6 – Hofstra (2/43 – 4.7%)
#7 – Duke (5/46 – 10.9%)
#8 – Lafayette (1/42)
#9 – Cornell (3/43)
#10 – Georgetown (15/47 – 31.9%)

And, for good measure:
#12 – Johns Hopkins (12/50 – 24%)
NR – Towson (23/47 – 48.9)
NR – UMBC (27/48 – 56.3)

First off, big ups to my alma mater for representing proper (make your own joke about win correlation and % of Maryland players).

Let’s now make a new top 10 – in the order that a National Championship would do Maryland proud.

2. Towson
3. Maryland
4. Georgetown
5. Johns Hopkins
6. North Carolina
7. Virginia
8. Princeton
9. Duke
10. Hofstra

When I was playing high school lacrosse in the late-90’s, I remember hearing about how much the sport was growing. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’m guessing a similar “Top 10” from a decade ago would have featured higher percentages of Maryland athletes. Scanning the rosters these days though, it’s much less rare to see kids from not only all over the eastern seaboard, but from well west of the typical lacrosse hotbeds. California, Colorado, Florida, and other states now routinely produce top-level NCAA athletes in lacrosse.

A recent Associated Press article reported that 32 new lacrosse programs (20 women, 12 men) debuted in the NCAA this year.

While it may be a little disappointing on one hand to see Baltimore losing our grip on lacrosse ever so slightly, it’s also promising to see the sport continue to grow. It would be nice one day to have an ACC that features more than just four teams, or to see traditional touchdown and interception rivalries like Ohio State-Michigan or Texas-Oklahoma played out with bounce shots and split dodges as well.

In the meantime, cheer for our Maryland boys…and anyone who plays against Syracuse.

Edit: Somehow Navy slipped my mind on the first stab at this post. I certainly don’t want to disrespect any Middies or their fans out there. Eighteen out of 60, or 30%, of Coach Richie Meade’s roster is from Maryland, which puts Navy in between Georgetown and Johns Hopkins (#5) on the above Top 10. Navy is currently 4-4, unranked in the USILA Coaches Poll.

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What A Weekend .....

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What A Weekend …..

Posted on 22 March 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, to an end comes a very eventful weekend. Of course, some good and some bad was felt by all of us. Here’s my take …..

Maryland’s ONE & DONE …..
For me, the weekend starts on Friday night. Thus, this particular weekly sabbatical got off on the right foot. The Terps looked sharp against Houston, after resisting a quick start by the overmatched Cougars. As we predicted, the Phi Slamma Jamma traits were not inherited through generations.

While Aubrey Coleman basically matched his NCAA-leading season average, the Cougars were outplayed in every aspect by a better Maryland team – period. A total Terrapins effort, including a very impressive 84% from the line ensured Houston’s inevitable doom, midway thru the second half.

And, this guy savored his FINAL victory in a Terps uniform …..

That’s right, it all came crashing down, yesterday.

I never, EVER forget to qualify my thoughts and opinions on basketball ….. I’m a casual fan. I like to think I know most aspects of the game, but I’m by no means an expert. That said, I thought the Terps looked like a “different” team, yesterday. They appeared to play recklessly through the first half and missed prime opportunities to cut the lead before halftime.

The beginning of the second half didn’t look any better and I seriously contemplated changing channels when Michigan State held a 14 point lead, with less than 7 minutes remaining. I was prepared to talk about a thumping during today’s REX & RAY SHOW.

Yet, the Terps amazed me. Their comeback was as exciting as it gets. I was yelling and dancing like Icky Woods …. in the Snider’s family room …..

My wife’s dogs had every reason to assume I lost my mind – or the Ravens were playing in March.

It was a nail biter to the end. I don’t have a bitter, nor bad thing to say about Maryland Basketball. Yeah, I feel for guys like Bob Haynie and Glenn Clark – it’s in their blood. But, the Terps entertained me. They showed tremendous heart and character in fighting back.

Should they have been in such a situation? Probably not, but I’ll leave that subject to the experts. I always remind myself ….. THEY’RE KIDS. And, they did a helluva job.

I wish Greivis Vazquez and the other seniors much success – IN LIFE …..

There is no reason to hide from anything or anyone. Back in November, I had no idea that such an exciting basketball season awaited me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks, Terps.

Now, somebody PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE beat Duke.

On Saturday evening, my wife demanded that we escape from SPORTS HELL for a few hours. She absolutely had enough NCAA Basketball, NASCAR @ Bristol, O’s Spring Training and Fantasy Baseball flowing around our household.

So, we headed to the Hoyts Nursery Road Cinema 14, to catch a movie and relax for a bit. It was a great decision. Beyond Hoyts’ friendly staff and safe/secure environment, they’ve got the best popcorn and a diverse selection of the latest movies.

We saw the new Richard Gere movie, BROOKLYN’S FINEST …..

It was a fantastic diversion. Not only did I get away for a couple hours, I broke a personal string of seeing “so-so” movies. Over the last few months, I’ve seen a collection of flicks that have left me disappointed, to include, District 9, Brothers and Invictus.

Brooklyn’s Finest was worth every penny and the time I took to see it.

I usually don’t jump at chances to see “cop movies.” Such experiences usually find me breaking down the legitimacy of the content, while whispering “that’s not accurate” or “police don’t do that,” in my wife’s ear. She hates that – and with good reason.

I thought Brooklyn’s Finest succeeded on an original, but complex storyline. You gotta pay attention. But, it’s intriguing and just as Leonardo DeCaprio “out-acted” his peers in The Departed, a certain actor really delivered a powerful performance in Brooklyn’s Finest …..

Ethan Hawke is absolutely tremendous. His portrayal of Sal Porcida, a cop who’s desperately drowning in need of a new home for his family, nailed the role.

Overall, it was a very entertaining, as well as interesting movie. Of course, I saw things that don’t really happen in the REAL world of law enforcement. But, I’ve learned to ignore those moments – or it’ll ruin my own experience.

Catch Brooklyn’s Finest – it’s worth it.

Jimmie Johnson Wins Again & I’m Okay With It …..
If you’re my Facebook Friend, disregard the posting I made yesterday morning – I didn’t really consider all likely scenarios.

That’s right, at about 11am, on Sunday, I used my Facebook platform to endorse ANYONE, but Jimmie Johnson in the Food City 500, at Bristol.

And, throughout most of the race, my stance didn’t change. I don’t dislike Jimmie Johnson. I just want to see other drivers win races ….. and championships. Like many observers, I’ve just reached my saturation point on seeing the #48 Chevy doing donuts as the checkered flag falls.

Alas, I’m not too tired of Jimmie Johnson. I would certainly rather see him win a race over a couple other competitors. And, as the laps wound down on Sunday, a familarly despised car in the Snider home was leading the race …..

It’s quite safe to suggest I’d rather see ANYBODY win a race, instead of Tony Stewart.

In fact, take a car owned by George Steinbrenner, while driven by ben Roethlisberger and I will root for IT before hoping to see Tony Stewart win a race. In case you haven’t heard or read my thoughts on Stewart, they’re blunt …..

He’s not very nice to people – media, included. Better yet, he goes out of his way to embarrass and admonish others – especially those who stand in a vulnerable spot. He’s a phony on camera and a nasty dude beyond it.

So, give me Jimmie Johnson in victory lane …..

While his residency atop the standings and in winner’s circles around NASCAR has become a habitual sight, the guy still knows how to treat people. And, such qualities are priceless.

Jimmie Johnson rose to the occasion, on Sunday. With just 3 laps remaining, he passed Tony Stewart for the lead and victory.

Funny thing, he passed Tony Stewart in CLASS a long time ago.

Joe Mauer Gets A HUGE Raise …..
I’m happy for the fans of Minnesota. This is what they wanted – and it’s likely to set a precedent in the game.

No, I’m not talking about positive growth, either. The Minnesota Twins have a STANDARD to which they operate. They’re a small market organization and they know it. In fact, their small market principles have been the steadying force in rendering the Twins a perennial contender.

I fear that’s about to change. I’m not suggesting they’ll start falling apart this year, or even next season. But, it’s likely coming. They overpaid Joe Mauer – plain and simple. As much as he’s an excellent ballplayer, they paid him to wear this uniform for the foreseeable future …..

I get it – they’ve got a spankin’ new ballpark. What would it look like without Joe Mauer? The answer is it would look the same. But, the Twins delivered on a big demand by their fan base. In an era of selfishness and teams doing as they wish, it’s hard to beatup on the Twins organization.

But, I think they screwed it up and beat themselves in a bidding war. More to come on this topic, tomorrow.

Well, that was my weekend – for better or worse.

I’ll talk to you, at 2pm …..

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A Long, Hard Look At Nolan Reimold .....

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A Long, Hard Look At Nolan Reimold …..

Posted on 03 March 2010 by Rex Snider

As we sat around on March 3rd, 2009, our respective outlooks on a lot of things looked differently …..

Aside from the sting of absorbing another Steelers Super Bowl victory and a Terps basektball team that served up frustrating and disappointing performances with regularity, baseball fans wanted to believe the Orioles would break their streak of losing seasons.

And, why not? The birds were sporting a brand new look ….. full of retreads.

The starting pitching staff included Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon and Koji Uehara. We thought they would perform poorly – yet, they still managed to be even worse.

The bullpen was a mess – and, that’s a polite way of putting it.

And, Gregg Zaun anchored the starting catcher’s position with a .111 batting average throughout the first month.

Still, Orioles fans had HOPE. Regardless of the above listed pile of “misfit toys” nobody else wanted anywhere near their bench, we still hoped things would get better before getting any worse. In fact, I distinctly recall the theme beckoned by many …..

“If the veterans can just tread water until the KIDS arrive ….. after the All Star break.”

Well, we all know how that pipedream ended …..

As predicted, the pitching was absolutely horrible and those veterans who we hoped could “tread water,” ended up drowning. Indeed, the young prospects started streaming through Bowie and Norfolk, enroute to their ultimate destination, BALTIMORE, a little earlier than expected.

Brad Bergeson pitched very well. And, the heralded arrival of our savior, Matt Wieters, turned out to be a success, too.

Yet, as the orange carpet was being rolled out for Wieters’ first big league at-bat, on May 29th, another prospect was settling comfortably into the lineup, after making his debut just a couple weeks earlier.

One of the first players to struggle, in 2009, was the opening day left fielder, Felix Pie. Touted as a five tool, CAN’T MISS prospect throughout his minor league career, Pie was doing something the experts said he wouldn’t (or should I say CAN’T ….) do, with his impressive talents.

Through the month of April, Pie struggled at the plate with a .157 batting clip. And, if you recall, he looked even worse …..

By mid-May, the Orioles had seen enough – so ALL OF US thought. On May 14th, a move was made and another rookie was added to the lineup …..

Nolan Reimold made an immediate impact upon seizing the role as starting left fielder. Heck, his first homerun came off Mariano Rivera – and he went deep another 14 times, in just 400 at bats.

It was an impressive rookie campaign and it fueled a starving fan base that has waited beyond rightful understanding to see the “Baby Birds” develop before our eyes. And, to a point Reimold’s success and overall “splash” was kinda unexpected.

While we awaited the eventual promotions of Wieters, Matusz, Tillman and Hernandez, seeing Reimold’s impact was certainly the promising surprise of another dreadful season. And, after those 400 at-bats, everybody is ready to annoint the streaking sophmore part of the long term future of Baltimore’s baseball landscape.

In fact, as the 2010 season is fast approaching and the Orioles assemble the makings of their most promising roster, in more than a decade, many experts and casual observers are penciling Nolan Reimold’s name in the left field slot.

Better yet, most enthusiasts are writing Reimold’s name with a SHARPIE.

I hope we’re right. I will never, EVER root against any player wearing an Orioles uniform. That included, Reggie Jackson, Albert Belle and most recently, Aubrey Huff. So, I absolutely hope to see a less-heralded guy like Nolan Reimold make it.

Nothing would make me happier than to see #14 on Birdland highlight reels for years to come …..

But, admittedly, I have some reservations. Call me a pessimist or detractor, if you wish. Yet, I’m just trying to be honest with myself, and YOU.

Most observers are hoping Nolan Reimold’s name accompanies Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis into the long term future of the Baltimore Orioles franchise.

However, I have real concerns.

Did you know Reimold is older than all of the above mentioned players? Yeah, yeah, he’s only a month older than Markakis. But, he’s going to be 27, this year. Not the optimal age for a sophmore season, huh?

Here’s a piece of future trivia for developing an eventual question – Nolan Reimold was born on the day the Orioles won their last HOME World Series game.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissuaded from hoping Reimold can be a fixture in this town, for a while. He’ll turn 27 AFTER the season – but, I still acknowledge he’s not that optimal aged prospect, if you know what I mean.

To compound my doubts or overall concerns, Reimold has a pretty consistent injury history. In fact, he’s been on the Disbaled List during 4 of his 5 professional seasons. The injuries have been varied and, at times, substantial. He’s had back issues – which concern me with anyone.

Say what you will, players tend to fight the injury bug as they get older.

My final cautionary consideration on Nolan Reimold is I’m not 100% certain he’s the best left fielder on this Orioles team. Being open minded, I believe he has some competition from within the 25 man roster.

Last August, I witnessed a DIFFERENT Felix Pie. He was disciplined, yet, aggressive at the plate. And, that HUGE hole in his swing was gone !!!! Pie looked comfortable and confident whenever he stepped in the box; heck, he looked like he was having fun …..

While Nolan Reimold probably offers a little more power, Felix Pie has speed on his side. He’s more dangerous on the basepaths and covers more territory in the outfield. He’s been widely touted as the “5 Tool” player, as I’ve mentioned. And, the man who first took a chance on him (Andy MacPhail) hasn’t abandoned hope.

The intangible factors favoring Pie is he’s a little younger (so we think ….) and his injury history suggests he’s a healthier player. Pie has been on the DL only 2 times, in 8 seasons.

Look, I’m not trying to initiate a positional feud – I just think the Orioles are still very much within a phase where long term projections and in-house competition are a GOOD THING.

Heck, in a perfect scenario, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold both make the most of the respective situations and opportunities. If so, I’d reckon Luke Scott will lose playing time – if anybody does.

As I said during yesterday’s show, I think Nolan Reimold has the makings of a potentially solid big league career. But, I also think Felix Pie might be one of those “diamonds in the rough” or “late bloomers,” if you know what I mean.

If either has a sliver of SUPERSTAR potential, I feel it’s safe to say it’s Pie. But, he could also end up being the biggest disappointment.

Regardless, I don’t think we’re anywhere near approaching a situation similar to the most famous outfield platoon, in Orioles history …..

I’ll just be happy if Nolan Reimold or Felix Pie translates into a solid, everyday left fielder for this Orioles team. Heaven forbid they’re both successful – that’s a GREAT problem to consider.

I just hope they both get a REAL shot …..

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Maryland Announces 2010 Football Schedule

Posted on 04 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

The University of Maryland Terrapins have announced their schedule for the upcoming 2010 football season; here is the press release that came from College Park this afternoon:

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Atlantic Coast Conference and the University of Maryland announced the 2010 football schedule Thursday, a slate highlighted by seven home games, including a season-opening tilt vs. Navy on Labor Day in Baltimore, as well as a matchup with West Virginia in Morgantown.

Maryland will play six of its home games within the confines of Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, including contests with Florida State, North Carolina State and Wake Forest.

The Terps, who are scheduled to return 53 letterwinners, including 12 offensive and defensive starters, and all four special teamers, will open the season on Monday, Sept. 6 against the Midshipmen at M&T Bank Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN (4 p.m. ET).

After playing host to Morgan State on Saturday, Sept. 11, the Terps renew their rivalry with the Mountaineers on Saturday, Sept. 18. Maryland and West Virginia will face each other for the first time since 2007.

Following the final non-conference game of the season – a matchup with Florida International on Sept. 25 – Maryland kicks off its league schedule on Oct. 2 when Duke visits Byrd for the first time since 2003.

The Terps will need the open date (Oct. 9) to gear up for a stretch which includes road games vs. Clemson, Boston College, Miami and Virginia.

The Terps play the Tigers, the defending Coastal Division Champions, on Oct. 16 in Clemson, S.C., before traveling to Boston College the following week (Oct. 23).

A visit from Wake Forest on Oct. 30 precedes the final road swing of the year, a two-game trip which includes contests with Miami (Nov. 6) and Virginia (Nov. 13). The visit to Miami is the first since 2005.

The Terrapins close the regular season at home with Florida State (Nov. 20) and NC State (Nov. 27).

Other game times will be announced at a later date. ACC home games are selected on a 12-day option by ESPN/ABC or Raycom Sports. Four times during the season, ESPN/ABC can choose certain ACC games on a six-day window.

Season tickets are now available for purchase and renewal. A variety of options are available with prices starting as low as $135. There are also family 4-packs available and season-ticket holders have the ability to spread the cost over six monthly installments.

Season-ticket packages for 2010 will include the Navy game. Ticket information is available on www.umterps.com or by calling the Terrapin Ticket Office at (301) 314-7070 or 1-800-IMA-TERP.

Single-game tickets will be available at a later date.

2010 Schedule

Sept. 6       Navy (M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore)

Sept. 11     Morgan State

Sept. 18     at West Virginia

Sept. 25     Florida International

Oct. 2          Duke

Oct. 9          Open

Oct. 16       at Clemson

Oct. 23       at Boston College

Oct. 30       Wake Forest

Nov. 6        at Miami

Nov. 13      at Virginia

Nov. 20      Florida State

Nov. 27      NC State

Schedule Notes:

· There are six bowl teams from last year which appear on the Terps’ 2010 schedule: Navy (Texas Bowl), West Virginia (Konica Minolta Gator Bowl), Clemson (Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl), Boston College (Emerald Bowl), Miami (Champs Sports Bowl), and Florida State (Konica Minolta Gator Bowl).

· Five opponents ended last year either ranked or receiving votes in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll, including Miami (No. 19), Clemson (No. 24), West Virginia (No. 25), Navy (RV) and Florida State (RV).

· Maryland will renew its rivalry with Navy on Sept. 4 in the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The two schools have met just once since 1965 – a 23-20 Maryland win in 2005, also at M&T Bank Stadium. The Terps are 30-20-8 all-time in Baltimore.

· Sept. 11 will mark the first ever meeting between Maryland and Morgan State.

· Maryland renews another rivalry in traveling to Morgantown to face West Virginia. The two schools met annually from 1980 to 2007. The Mountaineers hold a slight 23-21-2 advantage in a series that dates back to 1919.

· Maryland has played Florida International twice, winning both matchups. The Terps won 14-10 in 2006 in College Park and 26-10 in 2007 in Miami.

· The Terps hold a 30-19 advantage over Duke in the series. Maryland has won nine of the last 11 against the Blue Devils, and holds a 14-6 advantage in College Park.

· Clemson holds a slight 30-26-2 advantage over Maryland in the series, but the Terps have won two straight and six of the last nine. Maryland came away with a 20-17 victory in its last trip to Clemson in 2008.

· Boston College leads the all-time series 5-2. Maryland and Boston College met for the first time in 21 years in Massachusetts in 2006 with the Eagles winning, 38-16, in Chestnut Hill. Maryland’s 42-35 home victory in 2007 over the eighth-ranked Eagles snapped a three-game BC winning streak in the series, but BC has won the last two.

· Maryland owns a 41-16-1 advantage in the series against Wake Forest, including victories in eight of the last 11. The Terps have won four of the last five in College Park.

· The Terrapins are tied 7-7 in the all-time series with Miami. The two schools played for the first time in 19 years in 2006, a 14-13 home win for Maryland. The Terps’ last win in Miami came four meetings ago – a 42-40 win in 1984.

· The Terps lead the all-time series with Virginia, 41-31-2. Maryland’s last win at Virginia was a 28-26 victory in 2006. The Terps rallied from a 20-point deficit in that game.

· Florida State owns an 18-2 lead in the all-time series, but both of Maryland’s wins have come in the last six meetings.

· Maryland is tied 31-31-4 in the all-time series with NC State. The Terps have won seven of the last 10 in the series, including two straight at home.

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