Tag Archive | "Tyrod Taylor"

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens gearing up for Steelers with full squad practicing

Posted on 07 September 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens move closer to taking on their hated rivals from Pittsburgh to begin the season on Sunday afternoon, they appear to be getting healthier just in time for the occasion.

All 53 players on the active roster were present and working during the open portion of Wednesday’s practice, including center Matt Birk (knee), wide receiver Lee Evans (foot), and cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring). All three were dressed in full pads and did not appear to be limited in the early stages of the workout.

With primary kick returner David Reed suspended in the regular-season opener for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, cornerback Lardarius Webb appeared to be the primary returner during the special teams portion of practice. Rookie receiver Torrey Smith also fielded kicks.

For anyone trying to find some clarity in what the Ravens plan to do at the center position, Birk was snapping to starter Joe Flacco while newcomer Andre Gurode snapped to rookie backup Tyrod Taylor during individual drills.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Ray Rice, Terrell Suggs, Andre Gurode, Lee Evans, Jarret Johnson, and Bernard Pollard prior to Wednesday’s practice in Owings Mills.

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Ravens take practice field for last time before final cuts

Posted on 02 September 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens closed the book on their 3-1 preseason in Atlanta on Thursday night, many on the current 80-man roster took the field in Owings Mills on Friday afternoon for the last time.

Facing a deadline to trim the team down to 53 players by 6 p.m. on Saturday, coach John Harbaugh shifts his attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a final look at the 27 players — or more, depending on other potential moves — who won’t be deemed good enough to take the turf at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 11.

“You are excited to finalize your roster,” Harbaugh said. “You are excited to say this is going to be our team. This is how we’re going to move forward, but that’s going to not include some guys, and that’s the toughest thing.”

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Among those decisions will be a number of players with promising upside, but may prove too raw to take up a 53-man roster spot. Second-year offensive tackle Ramon Harewood is the quintessential example after being drafted in the sixth round from Morehouse in 2010. Spending last season on injured reserve, Harewood’s return to the practice field was delayed this summer as he continued to work his way back from surgeries on both knees, and the 340-pounder struggled when given opportunities during preseason games.

For players such as Harewood and newcomer Michael McAdoo (who went unselected in the supplemental draft before being signed last week), the Baltimore front office must weigh the risk of potentially losing them to other teams against the value of a green player using a spot on the regular roster.

“You try to figure out who’s got a chance to maybe get picked up by somebody and who has less chance of doing that,” Harbaugh said. “But the whole league’s the same. [Teams] need people who are ready to play. You can’t just be bringing guys in and putting them on as developmental projects. You only get 53 guys.”

Once the Ravens have established their regular-season roster on Saturday, all attention shifts to the regular season, with only nine days remaining until the Steelers visit to kick off the regular season. And with that, the intensity level grows and the stakes become much higher for a team expecting to play well into January — and maybe even later.

The fact that Baltimore’s biggest rival stands at the beginning of that journey only adds spice to an exciting time of the year.

“The fact that it’s Pittsburgh adds to it, but it would be that way no matter what,” Harbaugh said. “It’s the regular season. It’s for real now; they count. The tenured guys, this is the week that these guys wait for and that they look forward to.”

NOTES: Harbaugh offered no new information regarding the status of rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor after sharing the belief that the injury isn’t considered serious following the Atlanta game. “It doesn’t seem to be a real serious thing. I’m sure he’s got some soreness in there. I think he’s going to be OK.” … Players will be off on Saturday and Sunday before being made available to the media on Monday evening.

To hear more from John Harbaugh, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens without Birk, Evans for Friday's practice

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens without Birk, Evans for Friday’s practice

Posted on 02 September 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After arriving back in Baltimore early Friday morning, the Ravens returned to the practice field several hours later for a shells-and-shorts workout following their 21-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason finale.

Center Matt Birk (knee) and receiver Lee Evans (foot) were not present for the portion of practice open to the media, as concern grows whether the two veterans will be 100 percent for the opener against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11. With Birk not practicing, Bryan Mattison was once again filling in at center as he has throughout the preseason.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor (left shoulder) and offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (undisclosed) were also absent from practice. Taylor left Thursday’s game in the first quarter after his left shoulder was driven to the Georgia Dome turf. The Ravens labeled it a contusion after initial tests, and Taylor was seen with his left arm in a sling on the sideline during the second half.

Cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring) and offensive lineman Mark LeVoir (undisclosed) returned to practice after missing workouts earlier this week. Carr missed the final three preseason games after injuring his left hamstring while covering Evans during practice on Aug. 15.

As for the impending deadline of needing to get down to 53 players by 6 p.m. on Saturday, the Ravens are not expected to make any cuts today and have traditionally waited to make moves on the day of the deadline.

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With preseason complete, Ravens still filled with unknowns entering Steelers week

Posted on 01 September 2011 by Luke Jones

Any answers we hoped to uncover on Thursday night were history when coach John Harbaugh elected to rest most of his starters on both sides of the ball in a 21-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason finale.

With the coaching staff not wanting to risk any injuries on the fast turf at the Georgia Dome, left tackle Bryant McKinnie and the new-look offensive line didn’t even receive as much as a cameo appearance against Atlanta despite suggestions otherwise. The decision means the first time we’ll get a look at McKinnie and veteran center Matt Birk in live-game action will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11.

It’s a scary proposition, but the Ravens will hope practice reps against the vaunted Baltimore defense as well as veteran moxie will be enough to prepare McKinnie, Ben Grubbs, Birk, Marshal Yanda, and Michael Oher for the likes of James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and the brutal Pittsburgh defense. As offensive coordinator Cam Cameron put it earlier this week, the Ravens have no other choice but to be ready in a critical battle in Week 1.

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The preseason finale managed to create even more doubt at the backup quarterback position after rookie Tyrod Taylor left the game with a left shoulder contusion in the first quarter, leaving Hunter Cantwell to struggle through an ugly offensive performance. Aside from it being painfully clear Cantwell might not even be an option as a third-string quarterback, the Ravens will be forced to bring in another quarterback with Taylor’s status not being known for next weekend.

The Ravens also received little clarity in decided who would be the No. 3 receiver, in large part due to Cantwell being forced into action. However, David Reed didn’t do himself any favors in dropping two passes and being flagged for a questionable offensive pass interference call in the end zone late in the first half. Torrey Smith made two catches for 12 yards before leaving the game early in the second half with apparent leg cramps.

Despite the ugly nature of Thursday’s encounter, the Ravens can also take a few positives away from the win over Atlanta. Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith turned in his steadiest performance of the preseason, making five tackles and deflecting a pass that was intercepted by linebacker Jason Phillips to set up the Ravens’ first score of the game. Smith was flagged for a horse-collar tackle, but continues to show the impressive combination of speed and toughness that made him the 27th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee continued an outstanding preseason by continuing to create pressure in the backfield, making it a near certainty that he factors into defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s plans as a rotational pass rusher earlier than expected. He and Paul Kruger (one sack) will be relied upon to help boost an underwhelming pass rush from a year ago that recorded a franchise-low 27 sacks.

And rookie receiver LaQuan Williams made a final bid to earn a spot on the 53-man roster with a 33-yard punt return against the Falcons and showed improved effort in special teams, something Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg mentioned earlier this week. Whether he makes the final cut or the Ravens try to stash him away on the practice squad, the former Maryland and Poly product has been one of the biggest surprises of the summer and has taken advantage of every opportunity awarded to him.

All that aside, the Ravens now put the preseason behind them, shifting their focus to their biggest rival while still trying to find the answers to a number of key questions.

Will the offensive line be able to gel quickly enough to hold up against the Pittsburgh pressure? Is McKinnie “football” ready? Will Birk’s knee hold up without any live-game action after surgery?

With Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr less than 100 percent, are Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams ready to be starting cornerbacks in the NFL?

Are the Ravens ready to play — and beat — a Ben Roethlisberger-led Steelers squad for the first time since 2006?

All interesting questions, with the answers coming sooner rather than later.

The preseason is finally behind us.

And real football is about to begin.

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Forget the fickle fans; Baltimore’s media panics after Ravens ugly effort

Posted on 12 August 2011 by Rex Snider

As we endured last night’s preseason exposure of the problems facing the Ravens, I will not follow suit with virtually EVERYONE who has a public voice and format, in Baltimore.

While I concur with many assessments regarding the performances of specific players, I also recognize that many of the miscues, missteps and mistakes fall at the feet of men who share a common trait ….

They’re young and INEXPERIENCED.

Did you expect Torrey Smith to basically strut into Lincoln Financial Field and serve notice that he’s a force to be feared? 

Did you really think Tyrod Taylor was going to exhibit the poise and split-second decision making demanded of a quarterback at the game’s highest level?

Did you anticipate seeing Jimmy Smith camouflaging his presence, while snagging an ill-timed pass and returning it for a quick six?

Nearly all of the things done correctly by a player in purple had a veteran attachment to it.  And, that shouldn’t be an unexpected reality as we look back on this first preseason game.

I’m not drawing a distinct line between right and wrong, as it applies to veterans and younger players.  There were isolated incidents of playmaking, as well as blunders with no real attachment to age and experience.

Michael Oher struggled and that’s a concern for me.  He anchors the most important position on the offensive line and he must develop a finesse to accompany the size and strength demanded of a player in his role. 

Oniel Cousins looked lost ….

Aside from the typical rust associated with the inactivity of an off-season, Oher and Cousins must play better.  Will they?  Repetition and renewed familiarity have proven to be key in the past and history does repeat itself.  So, don’t panic ….

On the other hand, Sergio Kindle looked very stellar – albeit from a “rough around the edges” perspective.  He over-pursued at times, and playmaking quarterbacks will teach him a lesson or three before he gets it.

But, as I suggested, it was the first game of the preseason.  It was an opportunity for the Ravens coaching staff to see the depth of talent while being opposed by competition in a different colored jersey.

Torrey Smith has the raw ability; he’ll develop and get more comfortable.  Jimmy Smith is in the same spot.  They’re rookies, give ‘em some slack.

Tyrod Taylor is a project and he’s going to be surpassed by a veteran talent, prior to the season opener against the Steelers.  Heck, he may never be a #2 quarterback in this league – he was a 6th round draft selection, after all.

Don’t buy into the sensationalism that many media sources are selling.  Most of the players who dictate the direction and ultimate success of this Ravens team spent 90% of last night’s game on the sideline, sporting ballcaps.

Relax and exercise the patience that preseason football dictates.  The reasons such games exist are varied, but an opportunity to recognize the shortcomings from last night’s contest is paramount among such reasons.

Ozzie Newsome and his staff needed to see this.  Now, they’ll get to work behind the scenes and take the necessary steps to remedy a few situations.  The coaching staff needed last night’s event, as well.  They, too, will build on it.

Don’t fall for the fears being spread today.  Don’t do it ….

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Ravens falter on third down, nearly everywhere else in preseason opener

Posted on 11 August 2011 by Luke Jones

PHILADELPHIA — While most concern lies with the changes to the Ravens’ offensive personnel through the first two weeks of training camp, the starting defense — or second and third units, for that matter — raised plenty of concerns on their own Thursday night.

In the Eagles’ 13-6 win over the Ravens, the Baltimore defense struggled to get off the field on third down, continually missing tackles and failing to force incompletions. The numbers were particularly troubling in the first half with key personnel on the field through the first 30 minutes. Philadelphia was 4-for-4 on third-down conversions in the first quarter and 5-for-7 by halftime.

“We were in position to make the tackle in the backfield, including two sacks, and we didn’t make the plays,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We have to get off the field in those third-down situations, and we didn’t in the first half.”

The only touchdown of the game came on the Eagles’ opening drive when Michael Vick threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek with starting inside linebacker Jameel McClain covering. McClain struggled in the first quarter, allowing two completions and missing a tackle on Ronnie Brown on a beautifully-designed run blitz.

That scoring play was set up by a 42-yard pass to Riley Cooper, who slipped behind Chris Carr and Ed Reed on the long completion.

Philadelphia’s third-down success continued throughout the evening as the Eagles converted 10 of 16 for the game.

Separation anxiety

Concerns at the receiver position only grew louder as Baltimore receivers failed to get separation throughout the night.

Joe Flacco finished 3-for-6 for 60 yards in his only quarter of work and failed to complete a pass to a wide receiver. In fact, the Ravens did not have a receiver make a catch until the 6:15 mark of the second quarter when Tyrod Taylor completed a 6-yard throw to rookie Tandon Doss.

Doss finished with three catches for 26 yards to lead all Baltimore wide receivers through the first three quarters. In fact, no other wideout caught a pass until the fourth quarter when LaQuan Williams had three receptions for 46 yards and Justin Harper grabbed two catches for 17 yards.

Rookie Torrey Smith made the start opposite Anquan Boldin, but the former Maryland standout appeared hesitant in running routes against the talented Philadelphia secondary. He was targeted three times but failed to make a catch.

The only highlight of the passing game was tight end Dennis Pitta, making the start in place of the injured Ed Dickson. Pitta made a spectacular catch off the back of safety Kurt Coleman on the first play from scrimmage and finished the evening with four catches for 47 yards.

“Everything just kind of slows down in year two,” said Pitta, referring to his rookie season in which he caught just one pass for one yard. “I felt a lot more comfortable out there. Felt like I had pretty good chemistry with Joe today. We didn’t get a ton of series to work together, but the ones that we did, I felt like we were on the same page pretty well.”

Backup blues

The struggles of rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor made it painfully obvious how badly the Ravens need to explore the market for a veteran backup quarterback.

In fairness, Taylor found himself running for his life for much of the night, but his two interceptions were costly, one coming at the goal line when Jarrad Page picked off a pass intended for Doss. The Virginia Tech product finish his night going 19-for-28 for 179 yards.

“Tyrod did some good things,” Camerson said. “He’s a young man who learns quickly, and you almost see improvement every play. I’ll say one thing: It’s not too big for him. He has poise.”

Poise or not, it’s hard to feel comfortable with the rookie as the No. 2 quarterback — even with a month to go until the start of the regular season.

Stepping up

Third-year rush specialist Paul Kruger has received rave reviews from teammates throughout training camp, and his first-half performance on Thursday night only confirmed their high praise.

Kruger led the Ravens with five tackles and collected a sack of backup Vince Young in the final minute of the first quarter. The former Utah defensive end will be heavily counted upon to boost the Ravens’ pass rush that struggled to make quarterbacks uncomfortable last season.

“It’s always nice to make plays, but overall, the goal is to win the game, and unfortunately, we came up short,” Kruger said. “Definitely take the good and run with it, and we have a couple things we need to work on. Hopefully a better outcome next week.”

Odds & ends

The Ravens did not have any injuries on Thursday night, although Taylor briefly left the game in the third quarter after taking another brutal hit from the Philadelphia defense. He returned a few plays later, however. … Of the seven combined kickoffs between the two teams, all but one were touchbacks. Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff had three touchbacks in his three kickoff attempts. … The Ravens had an apparent touchdown in the third quarter when rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee stripped Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka, and Lardarius Webb returned the fumble 93 yards for a touchdown. However, the replay assistant called for a review of the fumble ruling — all scoring plays are subject to booth reviews this season — and the play was was deemed an incomplete pass, giving the ball back to Philadelphia and erasing the defensive score.

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Ravens-Eagles Preseason Primer: What to watch in tonight’s opener

Posted on 10 August 2011 by Luke Jones

***Join us in the Purple Haze live chat beginning at 7:30 p.m. as WNST.net brings you live coverage from the preseason opener in Philadelphia. For the quickest updates and analysis, follow WNST on Twitter and be sure to subscribe to the WNST Text Service.***

Nearly seven months after the Ravens walked off the field after suffering a gut-wrenching loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC divisional playoffs, Baltimore begins preseason action on Thursday night looking noticeably different.

And younger.

After waving goodbye to veterans Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Willis McGahee, and Kelly Gregg and watching a number of others depart via free agency, the Ravens find themselves in transition, getting younger while still hoping to maintain their Super Bowl aspirations. However, questions at several positions including wide receiver, tight end, right tackle, and backup quarterback as well as the pass rush remain unanswered.

Couple those uncertainties with a 134-day lockout that eliminated off-season workouts and the typically mundane preseason opener appears to carry extra significance — depending on who you talk to, at least. With a young offense trying to find a new identity in the passing game, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron labeled this first preseason game as more important than any other year he could remember. On the other hand, new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said his veteran-laden defense will just “go out and play.”

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The final score will inevitably be forgotten in a matter of weeks, but the Ravens view the meeting with the revamped Eagles as a good indicator to evaluate how much work needs to be done before the season opener against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11. Key veterans such as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and Terrell Suggs figure to play little more than a series while other starters will see more extensive time through the first quarter or two.

“It’s hard to say a preseason game is ‘big’ big,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s big for a lot of guys. Is it going to be big for the team? Well, it’s big in the sense of, ‘Where are we?’ I think that’s going to be very important for us. It’s going to be very interesting to see where we’re at.”

With the Eagles signing the likes of cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, running back Ronnie Brown, and defensive end Jason Babin, the Ravens will get a decent picture of where they stand after two weeks of training camp. Regardless of the outcome, however, viewers will fight the urge to overreact to what happens at Lincoln Financial Field — good or bad.

Series history

Thursday will mark the 12th time the Ravens have been scheduled to meet Philadelphia in the preseason, holding a 7-3 all-time mark in August. The last time the teams met in Philadelphia was 2004 when Terrell Owens caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb on the Eagles’ first offensive play from scrimmage. The most recent preseason meeting, however, was a 29-3 victory for Baltimore in 2007.

The Eagles were involved in the most unique (infamous?) moment in the preseason history of the Ravens when unsafe turf conditions at Veterans Stadium forced the 2001 preseason opener to be canceled. That night of embarrassing events was documented in the premiere season of HBO’s Hard Knocks.

In games that actually count, the Ravens are 1-1-1 all-time against Philadelphia, with their victory coming in a 36-7 drubbing at M&T Bank Stadium in 2008.

Coaching connections

Harbaugh coached 10 seasons as a member of the Eagles staff, serving nine campaigns as the special teams coordinator and his final season as the secondary coach under Andy Reid. The Ravens head coach returns to Philadelphia for the first time since taking the helm in Baltimore in January 2008.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if I know where the visiting locker room is. It’ll be my first time in the visiting locker room. I fully expect to be cheered rabidly when I walk out onto the field. (laughing) I’ll be highly disappointed if that doesn’t happen.”

In addition to Harbaugh’s Philadelphia ties, running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery visits a place fond to his heart. Having played in Philadelphia from 1977 through 1984, Montgomery holds the franchise’s career mark for rushing yards (6,538) and rushing attempts (1,465) as well as the Eagles’ single-season rushing record (1,512 in 1979).

Montgomery will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in November.

On the opposing side, Eagles linebackers coach Mike Caldwell played linebacker for the Ravens in their inaugural season in 1996.

Local flavor

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain is a Philadelphia native while quarterback Joe Flacco hails from nearby Audubon, N.J.

Flacco will have plenty of family and friends in attendance despite their past loyalties to the Eagles.

“I hope they’re rooting for Ravens,” the fourth-year quarterback said. “I know they’re all Eagles fans, but when they have to make a decision, I hope they make the right one. (laughter) But yeah, they’re crazy about their Eagles in South Jersey. I mean, I’m not going to convert all of South Jersey, hopefully just the people I know. I’ve got to remind them, ‘Hey, I got you the tickets, so you’ve got to root for us.’”

Though he recently landed on injured reserve with a ruptured Achilles tendon, Eagles defensive end Victor Abiamiri was born in Baltimore and attended Gilman.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was born in Philadelphia in 1960 before moving with his family to Baltimore a year later.

Injury report

Tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring), cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin), center Matt Birk (knee surgery), offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (active PUP – knees), and receiver David Reed (active PUP – wrist) will not play. Smith has returned to practice on a limited basis after missing four days last week, but the Ravens are taking extra precaution with the talented first-round pick.

Others not expected to play include newly-signed running back Ricky Williams, long snapper Morgan Cox (knee), defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee), receiver James Hardy (hamstring), and running back Matt Lawrence (undisclosed). Williams only has one practice under his belt since signing a two-year deal with the Ravens while Cox and McKinney only came off the active PUP list to begin practicing this week.

Domonique Foxworth missed consecutive practices on Monday and Tuesday, leaving his status for Thursday in doubt. The former Maryland cornerback has battled soreness and “ups and downs” throughout the off-season in rehabbing a surgically-repaired torn ACL that caused him to miss the entire 2010 season.

7 Players to Watch

1. TE Dennis Pitta – With Dickson sitting out the preseason opener with a hamstring injury, Pitta will get the start at tight end and the early opportunity to distinguish himself in the passing attack. The 6-foot-4 product from BYU has drawn comparisons to Todd Heap in his overall makeup, but production is another story entirely. Pitta made just one catch for one yard in his rookie season.

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With his two top targets gone, Joe Flacco becomes “the guy” in Baltimore

Posted on 26 July 2011 by Peter Dilutis

When Joe Flacco started week one of the 2008 season, his goal wasn’t to be the best player on the Ravens offense. His job wasn’t to be the most vocal guy in the huddle. His mission was not to go out there against Cincinnati on that September afternoon and win the game for the Ravens.

Much like one of his predecessors in Kyle Boller, Flacco’s main task wasn’t to win the game, but rather he was instructed not to lose the game.

You see, when Flacco showed up in Baltimore, the Ravens already had an all-pro tight end in Todd Heap who had been the Ravens leading receiver for much of his seven years in Baltimore. Derrick Mason had three years under his belt in Baltimore and had established himself as one of the best receivers to ever wear a Ravens uniform.

These were veteran guys who had done it before and who were leaders of the offense. Flacco looked up to those two guys, followed their leads, and successfully went about handling his business and role in the offense.

Derrick Mason became Flacco’s top target, often referred to as Joe’s “security blanket.” Mason caught 214 passes from Flacco over the past three seasons, which account for 24% of Joe’s completed passes since he’s been an NFL quarterback. Mason has been a constant, steady target for Flacco when the rest of the receiving core has been both unsteady and underwhelming.

Until Mason came along, Todd Heap was arguably the best receiver in the Ravens short history, putting up eye-opening receiving numbers as a tight end. Heap did not start out on a great note under Coach Harbaugh in 2008, but he came on strong the last two seasons, and he ended up catching 128 passes from Flacco over their three years together, accounting for 15% of Joe’s completed passes.

Together, Mason and Heap are responsible for 39% of Joe’s completed passes over his first three years in the NFL.

When the Ravens released both Mason and Heap today, I really wasn’t that surprised. They both had fairly high cap numbers, are getting up in age, and each would have been playing out their final years under contract.

After analyzing the financial ramifications of the cuts, my focus immediately turned to Joe Flacco and what this means for his immediate future and expected performance as a Raven in 2011.

People have been clamoring for the Ravens to open up the offense. Everyone has been calling radio stations or posting on message boards that Joe Flacco should have free reign to stretch the field and audible at will. Fans aren’t happy anymore with just a conservative Joe Flacco, even if he has done nothing but win the past three seasons in Baltimore. They want a great quarterback. Baltimore wants Joe Flacco to be the leader of the offense.

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Virginia Tech, Taylor too much for Terps

Posted on 14 November 2009 by Luke Jones

Ralph Friedgen had to fight back the tears.

It’s been a miserable 2-8 season for the Maryland Terrapins, and their leader choked up when asked what long-time friend Frank Beamer said to him after Virginia Tech blew out Maryland, 36-9, at Byrd Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“He knows what I’m going through,” Friedgen said in reference to the Terrapins’ difficult season.

Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 268 yards and three touchdown passes and also ran for 91 yards, as the Maryland defense had no answer for the Virginia Tech offense. The Hokies were 5 for 7 on third-down conversions in the first half as they jumped out to a 27-3 halftime lead.

Star running back Ryan Williams rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown as the Terps allowed 216 yards on the ground and 484 total yards for the game.

“We missed so many tackles and they went for a lot of big plays,” Friedgen said. “We haven’t been doing that.”

The poor tackling was never more apparent than during Taylor’s 64-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykins to make it a 27-3 deficit. Safety Jamari McCollough had a clear chance to bring the receiver down but could not as Boykins sprinted away.

It was an afternoon of ineptitude in all phases of the game.

The Maryland offense gained 236 yards, with much of it coming on the legs of quarterback Jamarr Robinson, who was filling in for the injured starter Chris Turner. Robinson rushed for a game-high 129 yards on 24 carries but passed for only 104 yards and was 12 for 32.

“His throwing game has to get better,” Friedgen said. “He made some throws people couldn’t make plays on that would have helped. I don’t think he sees things as well as he needs to and that has to improve. Overall, [his play] was okay.”

Maryland had two drives inside the Virginia Tech 25-yard line that produced zero points after a missed field goal late in the first half and a failed fourth-down conversion in the third quarter.

“It was very frustrating,” Robinson said. “I felt like we were moving the ball fairly well, but we just couldn’t get it into the end zone.”

The sophomore quarterback was pressured repeatedly throughout the afternoon, forcing him to leave the pocket and try to make plays with his feet. The Tech defense sacked Robinson four times in the first half and six times overall.

“I thought we protected a lot better in the second half,” center Phil Costa said. “We did throw the ball a lot today, and in the first half, we had a few miscues and missed assignments.”

Friedgen reiterated after the game how much affection he has for his players despite experiencing such a terrible season, citing how much time he spends with many players outside of football-related activities.

The head coach and several players also reiterated the importance of finishing this season strong as they look ahead to improving in the offseason and for next year.

“There is a gap right now,” Friedgen said. “One of the things I’m hoping will change it is when some of our younger guys mature and grow up. That’s the biggest area we have to work on and we still have to go out and recruit. We have to find players that want to be successful here at Maryland.”

– Safety Kenny Tate suffered a high ankle sprain and is likely to miss the final two games of the season, according to Friedgen.

“Losing Kenny is a big loss for us.”

Punter Travis Baltz broke a finger in Saturday’s game and will need surgery on it, according to the head coach. He is also expected to miss the rest of the season.

Kicker Nick Ferrara handled the punting duties after Baltz left the game and would presumably punt in the Terps’ final two games.

– Robinson’s 129 rushing yards marked the first time a Maryland quarterback ran for 100 yards since Shaun Hill had 105 on 11 carries against Duke in 2001.

Robinson had 233 individual total yards of offense with Maryland finishing with 236 team yards of offense.

– Torrey Smith entered the game needing just 35 all-purpose yards to break Lamont Jordan’s single-season all-purpose mark of 1,840 set in 1999. The receiver and kick returner eclipsed the mark with his second reception of the afternoon.

Smith also passed the 1,000-yard mark in career receiving yards after catching four passes for 55 yards in Saturday’s loss.

– Safety Terrell Skinner set a new career-high in tackles with 13. His previous high was 11 tackles against the Hokies in 2008.

– Maryland scored its second defensive touchdown in two weeks when Jared Harrell recovered a fumble in the end zone after McCollough sacked Taylor and knocked the ball free.

It was the first fumble return for a touchdown since Josh Wilson returned a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown against Wake Forest in 2005.

– Maryland did not turn the ball over despite the lopsided defeat to the Hokies. The Terps’ turnover differential stands at minus-9 for the season.

Check out the game’s box score here and the live blog below. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for updates on the Terps, Ravens, Orioles, and other local sports everyday.

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4:06 p.m. — Virginia Tech takes a couple of kneel-downs, and this one is in the books.

Final score: Virginia Tech 36, Maryland 9.

Back with your post-game recap in a little while.

Hang in there, Terps fans. Basketball season is here.

4:04 p.m. — After the punt, Maryland takes over at its own 16 with less than two minutes to go.

Robinson just completed a pass to Gary Douglas—for a loss of three on the play.

He then throws incomplete to Douglas in the other direction.

On 3rd-and-13, Robinson feels the pressure AGAIN (and again and again today) and throws incomplete.

Maryland will punt with 1:11 to go.

Thankfully, this one is almost over.

3:59 p.m. — We’re under four minutes to go, and Ju-Ju Clayton is in at quarterback for the Hokies.

Just winding this one down.

3:56 p.m. — Robinson has looked good showing off his legs, but he’s struggled in the passing game. He’s only 11 for 29 for 107 yards.

Robinson is the first Maryland quarterback to rush for 100 yards since Shaun Hill did it against Duke on Oct. 20, 2001.

3:51 p.m. — On 3rd-and-9, David Wilson carries for a short gain, making if fourth down.

Beamer instructs Taylor to allow the play clock to wind down before calling timeout.

Waldron’s 33-yard attempt is good.

The Hokies lead, 36-9, with 5:52 remaining in the game.

3:48 p.m. — Taylor just found a wide-open Sam Wheeler on 3rd-and-6 to move the chains and advance the Hokies to the Maryland 19-yard line.

Moten just leveled the ball carrier Oglesby on the next play for no gain.

3:45 p.m. — Wujciak forces a fumble, but the ball squirted right back to Taylor who carries it all the way down to the 39-yard line.

That’s just the way it’s been for the Terps today.

3:43 p.m. — It’s the first time the Terps have returned a fumble for a touchdown (even though Harrell only fell on the ball in the end zone) since Josh Wilson did it against Wake Forest on Sept. 24, 2005.

3:41 p.m. — Taylor fumbles at the goal line, and it’s recovered by Jared Harrell in the end zone for a touchdown! And it’s that easy to score!

McCollough is credited with a sack on the play for the Terps.

The Terps elect to go for two points, but Robinson’s pass to Cannon is incomplete.

Virginia Tech leads Maryland, 33-9 with 11:25 to go.

3:40 p.m. — Today’s attendance is 51,514, many of them Virginia Tech fans.

3:39 p.m. — The videoboard is currently showing the Game Rewind. I’d rather see the Game Erased.

Absolutely brutal showing today.

3:37 p.m. — Despite being up by 30 points, you have to think Beamer is unhappy with his defense’s inability to stop Robinson. It’s the only thing the Terps have been able to do all day, so they know it’s coming, but the Hokies have been unable to stop him.

Robinson is sacked on a 3rd-and-13 play, pushing the Terps back into their own territory and ending the drive. Ferrara will punt.

3:34 p.m. — Robinson throws a long incompletion intended for Dorsey. He easily threw that ball 65-70 yards in the air. The problem is Dorsey was only 55 yards away from him.

Robinson has 20 carries for 120 yards after running for another first down on the next play.

3:32 p.m. — Both Terps and Hokies fans are making their way to the exits, and you cannot blame them. This one was over a long time ago.

Even when the Terps have been able to move the ball on a couple drives, they still weren’t able to come away with points.

Not much else to say other than Virginia Tech is obviously a much better football team.

3:30 p.m. — On 3rd-and-6, Williams is stopped by Jamari McCollough for a loss of one.

Waldron comes on to attempt the 28-yard field goal, and the kick is good.

Tech leads 33-3.

3:27 p.m. — Taylor with a big gain running to the right all the way to the 14. Perez finally brings him down.

After Williams slips for a one-yard loss on first down, he carries again inside for a gain of five, making it 3rd-and-6.

We’ve reached the end of the third quarter.

Virginia Tech 30, Maryland 3

3:25 p.m. — Skinner just made a touchdown-saving tackle on Ryan Williams. However, it’s still a huge gain all the way down to the Terps’ 34-yard line.

Williams now has 120 yards on the day.

3:23 p.m. — Cam Chism almost picked off a pass from Tyrod Taylor, but the ball appeared to have hit the ground. However, the play will be reviewed upstairs.

The play stands as called on the field.

3:20 p.m. — Smith takes the kickoff, but Alonzo Tweedy brings him down right at the 20.

Robinson tries to throw a deep out to Cannon and is NEARLY intercepted. That ball needs to come out quicker for that pattern.

The quarterback runs left on second down with Cannon providing a major block. However, it’s only a gain of three yards.

On 3rd-and-7, the Terps apparently were trying to set up the screen, but it looks like 30 defenders were after Robinson on that one. Incomplete pass, and the Terps will punt.

3:16 p.m. — Williams carries the ball on 2nd-and-goal and picks up three yards before Wujciak makes the stop for the Terps.

On 3rd-and-goal, Taylor overthrows Danny Coale and Tech will settle for a field goal attempt.

Waldron’s 21-yard attempt is good.

Virginia Tech leads Maryland, 30-3.

The drive covers 9 plays, 83 yards, and 3:31.

3:14 p.m. — On 3rd-and-1 from the Terps’ 37, Williams runs right for 14 yards, moving the chains for the Hokies.

Williams runs into a wall of defenders on first down but breaks free for a gain of 13 before Chism finally chases him down. You have to wrap up a talented back like Williams. Poor effort there.

3:12 p.m. — Roberts makes the catch on the deep ball on first down with Trenton Hughes failing to adjust to the ball.

Injury Updates: Kenny Tate sustained an injury to his ankle and will not return. Travis Baltz is out with an injured hand. His return is questionable.

3:10 p.m. — After two straight completions to Smith, Robinson eludes a couple defenders and runs left to the 18-yard line. Another first down for Maryland.

The quarterback has 18 carries for 101 yards. What a day for the sophomore!

Robinson’s first-down pass is batted down, but he completes his next throw to Williams for a gain of five yards.

On a big 3rd-and-5, Robinson throws a fade to Cannon, but it’s incomplete.

The Terps will go for it, and why shouldn’t they being down by 24 points in the third quarter?

The Hokies fans come alive on fourth down.

The Terps run the same fade route to Torrey Smith this time, but the speedster cannot hold onto the ball. Incomplete, and Tech will take over.

The Terps have moved the ball well on two of their last three drives (including the last drive of the first half) but have no points to show for their work.

3:05 p.m. — After the punt, Maryland begins its next drive on its own 17. Robinson takes the shotgun snap and runs left for a gain of 18 yards.

The more I watch Robinson play—and run—the more convinced I am that the Terps need to SERIOUSLY consider running the option in 2010. Not only because of Robinson’s athleticism but also due to the lack of talent on the offensive line.

3:02 p.m. — Roberts gets the ball for Tech on the end-around, but Cam Chism trips him up for a 5-yard loss. Nice play by the young defensive back.

After an incompletion on second down, Taylor works from the shotgun and is tripped up by Adrian Moten (or one of the Tech linemen). Moten gets credit for the sack, and the Hokies will punt.

Nice defensive series by the Terps to start the second half.

3:00 p.m. — Williams carries for four yards on first down, as the Byrd crowd gives some of the veterans in attendance a huge ovation as they walk off the field.

On second down, Williams carries for no gain. The star running back rushed 11 times for 51 yards in the first half.

On third down, Taylor finds a wide-open Greg Boone over the middle for an 11-yard gain and a first down.

2:57 p.m. — We’re ready for the start of the second half, and Smith finally gets a kick but stumbles as he crosses the 20-yard line. He’s down at the 22, and the Terps will begin their first drive of the second half.

The Terps run a reverse to Devonte Campbell who is absolutely crushed by Kam Chancellor. Wow.

On 2nd-and-7, Meggett gets the carry and picks up two yards.

Needing five yards to move the chains, Robinson comes out in the shotgun with five-wide. He keeps it, but the Tech defense is waiting for him. Cody Grimm makes the tackle after a two-yard loss.

Ferrara is still punting as Baltz remains out.

Hosley returns the punt to the Hokies’ 41-yard line.

2:33 p.m. — On 3rd-and-3, Robinson runs again and is down to the 14-yard line. It’s another first down with 33 seconds remaining in the half.

You have to credit the kid’s courage after being pressured all day.

On first down, Robinson throws to the end zone to Smith who looked to be interfered with by Stephan Virgil but no call.

And of course, Robinson is sacked by Nekos Brown on the next play.

The Terps have to clock it with 7 seconds remaining, setting up a 39-yard field goal for Ferrara.

The kick is no good.

A very promising drive with nothing to show for it. VERY disappointing.

A kneel-down by Taylor will send us into halftime.

Virginia Tech in complete control, as the Hokies lead the Terps, 27-3.

2:28 p.m. — Robinson throws complete to tight end Lansford Watson for seven yards on first down.

The Terps take their final timeout of the half with 47 seconds remaining. If Maryland can somehow manage to score a touchdown here, 27-10 would not look too disastrous considering how bad this half has gone.

After the timeout, Robinson is hit as he throws and the pass is nearly picked off by Jason Worilds.

2:27 p.m. — Meggett carries inside and barely makes it out of the end zone. This offensive line just cannot do anything in either the running game or pass protection.

Just horrible.

Robinson finds Torrey Smith who shakes a couple of tackles and sprints all the way up to the 22, giving the Terps some badly-needed breathing room.

2:30 to go in this one.

Robinson runs right for a small gain of two yards.

He then tries to find Smith on the next play, but the pass is incomplete.

On 3rd-and-8, Robinson is pressured again, but he breaks free and runs all the way to the Tech 48. Very nice moves from the sophomore quarterback on that one.

Maryland is now in the hurry-up, as Robinson completes a 6-yard pass to Cory Jackson. He then nearly throws an interception trying to force one into double coverage.

On 3rd-and-4, Robinson runs left as the blitz came from the right and he’ll have the first down after a gain of nine.

2:22 p.m. — On a 3rd-and-10 from the Maryland 37, Taylor slings one intended for Davis, but it’s nearly intercepted by Antwine Perez.

It will be fourth down, and Bowden will punt. The punt is downed at the 1.

Oh, boy.

2:20 p.m. — Tech is averaging just over 9 yards per play. Astonishing.

Josh Oglesby gets the carry for the Hokies and runs right for no gain after being tackled by Hartsfield and Skinner.

He carries again inside for a short gain. Derek Drummond makes the play for the Terps.

On 3rd-and-7, Taylor connects with Marcus Davis for a first-down completion and 15 yards.

Richard Taylor is shaken up on the play. If the Terps keeps losing defensive backs, I might be getting the call to go into the game. My 40 time isn’t quite what it used to be, however.

2:16 p.m. — Not much to say about this one. Not enough offense or defense so far.

Maryland starts the drive at its own 20, and Robinson FINALLY gets the ball to Smith for 18 yards and a first down. It’s about time.

Robinson throws incomplete to LaQuan Williams on the next play.

He’s then sacked by Jake Johnson on second down.

On 3rd-and-14, Robinson cannot find anyone and carries for no gain. The Terps will punt.

The Terps are completely over-matched in this one.

2:11 p.m. — After the Ferrara punt, Tech takes over at its own 36. Taylor throws over the middle to Jarret Boykin. Jamari McCollough blows the tackle, and he’s gone for a 64-yard touchdown.

This is getting out of hand.

Virginia Tech 27, Maryland 3

2:08 p.m. — Meggett carries on first down for no gain on the play. The running game has been nonexistent today with the exception of a 14-yard pickup by Robinson.

As I type that, Robinson carries to the right for 11 yards and a first down for the Terrapins. The reverse jinx works again!

On first down, R.J. Dill is flagged for the false start. The right tackle had a really tough game last week.

Now, 1st-and-15, Tech brings Davon Morgan on the blitz from the rover position, but Robinson avoids the pressure and is able to gain a yard on the play. Could have been much worse.

On 2nd-and-14, Robinson throws a hitch to Cannon who shakes off a defender and picks up 12 yards, setting up a third and short situation for the Terps.

Need to convert this one.

On 3rd-and-2, Robinson runs left and is short of the first down. No gain on the play.

Ferrara is in to punt, not Travis Baltz. Not sure if there’s been an injury to the Terps’ regular punter, but we’ll try to find out.

2:03 p.m. — We’ve seen two strange special teams plays in the last two minutes. Justin Myer was set to kick off and the ball fell off the tee right before he kicked it.

It came out looking like an onside kick, but the play was blown dead.

On the second attempt, Bonato catches it in the end zone for a touchback. It’s clear that Beamer Ball wants NO part of Torrey Smith in the return game.

2:00 p.m. — Williams carries up the middle and hits a wall of Terrapins. No gain on the play.

Tech runs a wide receiver screen to Dyrell Roberts for a 10-yard touchdown.

I didn’t catch the number of the receiver that threw the great block (Danny Coale?), but it was the key to that play as Roberts was able to walk into the end zone after that.

However, the holder Brent Bowden drops the snap, and the extra point is no good.

Tech now leads Maryland, 20-3.

The drive covers 8 plays, 56 yards, and 3:11.

The offense HAS to get it going on this drive. 21 yards of offense in the first quarter is unacceptable.

1:58 p.m. — Tom DeJoseph confirms the ruling of a catch, and Virginia Tech will have a first down at the 10-yard line.

Though we didn’t get too many looks at the replay here in the press box, it looked to be the correct call to me. You can’t blame Ralph for trying to overturn that one. Maryland is in danger of falling behind by three possessions if the defense cannot make a stop here.

1:56 p.m. — Tate is unable to put any weight on his right leg as he’s helped off the field. It would be a major blow to the secondary’s depth to lose the sophomore safety.

On first down, Tech runs an unbalanced line to the right with Williams running left for a short gain. However, there’s a flag on the play and Tech is guilty of holding.

On 1st-and-20, Taylor throws to Marcus Davis who forgets to actually catch the ball before he runs with it. Incomplete.

Williams catches the screen pass on second down who immediately runs in the opposite direction of his blockers for a gain of only three.

Taylor drops to pass on third down and then rolls right before finding Jarrett Boykin on the near sideline for a first down. It’s a gain of 24 yards, but Friedgen is challenging the catch, saying the receiver did not get his feet down before going out of bounds.

1:51 p.m. — Ferrara’s kick is a short one to David Wilson who nearly breaks free at the 40-yard line before the kicker brings him down at the Tech 44.

Williams carries on first down but is stretched outside and brought down by Wujciak after only a gain of one.

On 2nd-and-9, Taylor is nearly sacked by A.J. Francis, but he fakes out the defensive tackle and runs free for 10 yards, giving the Hokies a first down.

Taylor runs the option to perfection on the next play and picks up 17 yards. Kenny Tate is down on the play.

1:47 p.m. — As we start the second quarter, Ferrara will attempt a 36-yard field goal to try to get the Terps on the board.

The kick is good, and Maryland comes away with 3 points.

The drive covers 9 plays, 40 yards, and 4:53.

Tech leads Maryland, 14-3.

1:44 p.m. — On 3rd-and-5, Robinson hits Kevin Dorsey on the slant for 13 yards a first down. That one will definitely help the young quarterback’s confidence.

Maryland is down to the Tech 27. Robinson throws to the end zone to Torrey Smith, but it’s overthrown. HOWEVER, there’s a flag on the play. Kam Chancellor is flagged for pass interference. It will be a 15-yard penalty, moving the ball to the Tech 12.

On first down, Robinson is brought down by a blitzing Rashad Carmichael for a loss of seven yards. It looked like the quarterback was running a naked bootleg to the right—in the direction of the blitzing defensive back.

After a two-yard gain on second down, Robinson cannot find anyone downfield on third down and is sacked by Chris Drager for a loss of one, making it 4th-and-16 from the 18.

1:39 p.m. — On 2nd-and-11, Robinson drops to pass but sees a wide-open running lane in the middle of the field for 14 yards and a first down.

It’s Maryland’s first first down of the day with 3:00 remaining in the first.

Robinson fumbles the snap but then recovers for a gain of two. That worked out nicely.

On 2nd-and-8, Robinson completes to Galt on the quick out pattern for a gain of three yards. It’s Robinson’s first completion of the day.

Needing five yards for a first down, Robinson calls for a timeout.

1:36 p.m. — Beamer clearly received the memo about Torrey Smith as the Hokies squib it. The kick is fielded by Tommy Galt, and he takes it to the Maryland 42.

On first down, Porzel is gobbled up in the backfield by Barquell Rivers. The linebacker was almost there for the handoff. It’s a loss of 6 yards.

Porzel carries left on the next play for a few yards, but there’s a flag on the play. Virginia Tech is flagged for offsides, giving the Terps five yards and a 2nd-and-11 play.

1:34 p.m. — Robinson is 0 for 4 passing so far in this one. He’s clearly nervous, but the sophomore needs to settle down quickly. Getting the running game going would also be a major help.

Taylor scrambles left on first down and throws behind Boykins, and it’s incomplete.

On second down, Taylor fakes the hand-off and finds a huge hole off left tackle for a 12-yard pickup and a first down.

Williams gets the carry on first down, putting a RIDICULOUS move on Antwine Perez and nearly breaking it for a touchdown. He’s down to the Maryland 33 before finally being tackled.

Two plays later, Taylor throws complete to Dyrell Roberts with Anthony Wiseman ALL OVER him (pass interference?). It will be 1st-and-goal for the Hokies at the Terps’ 4.

After a one-yard gain, Taylor has a WIDE-OPEN Jefferson in the end zone, but the quarterback throws too low.

On 3rd-and-goal, Taylor finds tight end Andre Smith for the touchdown. Good initial coverage in the defensive backfield, but not enough pressure on Taylor.

Matt Waldron’s extra point is good.

The drive covers 8 plays, 72 yards, and 2:39.

Tech leads the Terps, 14-0, with 4:55 remaining in the first.

Maryland needs something positive out of this drive, or this one could turn ugly very quickly.

1:26 p.m. — Davin Meggett carries for only a yard on first down. The Terps MUST get the ground game going if they want to have a chance in this one.

On second down, Robinson throws incomplete to Kerry Boykins. It wasn’t a perfect pass but was certainly catchable.

The Terps run three-wide on third down, and Robinson throws low and incomplete to Adrian Cannon on the near sideline.

Another punt for Baltz, and Hosley returns all the way down to the Maryland 31, BUT there is a flag on the play.

This one’s coming back. Illegal block in the back on Tech’s Xavier Boyce.

The Hokies will start the drive all the way back at their own 28.

1:23 p.m. — Williams carries for no gain on first down, as he’s wrestled to the ground by Demetrius Hartsfield.

On second down, Taylor’s pass is batted down at the line of scrimmage.

Facing a 3rd-and-10, Taylor works from the gun and overthrowns Xavier Boyce coming underneath.

Three-and-out is just what Ralph Friedgen needed there.

Tony Logan calls for the fair catch at his own 21. Let’s see what Robinson can do on his second drive today.

1:19 p.m. — Dan Bonato takes the kick and returns all the way to the Maryland 38-yard line. Nice return by the up-man.

Robinson works from the shotgun on first down and runs right for a gain of one. Tech has to be expecting the young quarterback to keep it quite a bit today.

On second down, Robinson tries to throw out in the flat to Caleb Porzel but the pass is a bit foo far out in front and the back is BLOWN UP by the Hokie defender.

On 3rd-and-9, Robinson tries to throw deep to Smith, but it’s incomplete. Not a bad throw, but Smith only gets one hand on the ball. Looks like it could have been a completion.

Travis Baltz punts, and Jayron Hosley returns it to his own 38-yard line. Baltz saved the touchdown by holding him up and allowing the rest of the Maryland coverage unit to catch up to him.

Not a good start for the Terps today.

1:13 p.m. — The stadium has pretty much filled up with the exception of a large gap in the student section.

Obviously, it’s been a tough 2-7 season, but you’d like to see more support from the students.

1:12 p.m. — After the review, referee Tom DeJoseph informs us Boykin was actually down at the 1. It’s a 30-yard completion.

On 1st-and-goal, Williams runs in for the touchdown.

The drive covers 10 plays, 71 yards, and 4:07.

Tech 7, Maryland 0

1:09 p.m. — Jarrett Boykin beats Cam Chism for the 31-yard touchdown catch, but they will review it. Chism looked back for the ball but lost track of his man on the play.

He was right there, but you have to make a play on the ball.

1:08 p.m. — Williams carries for four yards on first down but finds a seam for five yards on the next play, setting up a 3rd-and-1.

Williams runs right as the Maryland defense forces him outside, but he’s able to pick up the first.

Tech in Maryland territory now.

Coale catches another pass down the middle of the field with Cam Chism covering. It’s a 16-yard gain and a first.

Tech making it look fairly easy so far on this drive.

1:04 p.m. — Taylor rolls out to the right, hesitates and is tackled by Alex Wujciak for a two-yard loss. Good start for the Terps.

However, on the next play, Ryan Williams carries right for a gain of eight. Wujciak and Terrell Skinner make the stop.

On 3rd-and-4, Taylor hits a wide-open Danny Coale for seven yards and a first down.

1:03 p.m. — Nick Ferrara kicks off to David Wilson who returns to the Tech 29-yard line.

We’ll get our first look at Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies offense.

1:00 p.m. — Maryland wins the toss but elects to defer to the second half.

Virginia Tech will receive to begin the game.

12:59 p.m. — The Tech fans are definitely here and definitely loud. I wouldn’t call it a takeover of Red Sox or Yankee proportions at Camden Yards, but it’s still disappointing.

12:54 p.m. — Definitely strange to see the Hokies wearing all white. Can’t say I’m a big fan of the look.

Maryland’s camo uniforms (desert camo sleeves and numbers with black jerseys and pants) are really sharp.

12:48 p.m. — Just a few other notes to pass along as we wait for kickoff.

* Maryland will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak to the Hokies.

* Virginia Tech enters the game with one of the top running offenses in the nation. Tech averages 195.8 yards per game, rankings 21st in the nation and second in the conference.

The Maryland defense, however, is the best run defense in the ACC, allowing just 92.4 yards a contest and 2.6 yards per carry in five league games.

12:40 p.m. — We have a VERY late-arriving crowd considering this one is a sellout and we’re only 20 minutes away from kickoff.

Walking around campus, it’s painfully obvious there is a large contingency from Blacksburg that made the trip for this one.

12:38 p.m. — Fullback Cory Jackson will carry the American flag on the field today, and linebacker Drew Gloster (Germantown) will bring the Maryland flag.

12:35 p.m. — Perhaps the biggest bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Terps has been the play of receiver/kick returner Torrey Smith.

Smith needs only 34 receiving yards to reach 1,000 in his career, 35 all-purpose yards to break the school’s single-season record set by Lamont Jordan in 1999. The sophomore receiver currently has 1,806 all-purpose yards.

Even more impressively, Smith needs only 249 all-purpose yards to break the single-season league record set by former Virginia running back Thomas Jones (2,054).

12:31 p.m. — If you’re one of the lucky ones to be watching today’s game on ESPN360, you’ll notice the Maryland players’ last names will look a little different.

Each player’s last name has been replaced with aa core value embellishment — Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country, and Service. Again, Maryland Athletics and Under Armour have partnered with the Wounded Warriors Project, a not-for-profit organization that provides services for injured service members and their families.

The jerseys are black and desert camouflaged that feature the organization’s logo.

12:28 p.m. — We just received official word in the press box that Chris Turner is officially out for today’s game. Jamarr Robinson will make his first career start in his place.

Turner had started 29 of the last 30 games and 21 in a row.

12:26 p.m. — Today marks the 30th meeting between Maryland and Tech in a series that dates back to 1919. The Terps hold a 15-14 advantage.

Maryland will have retribution on its mind this afternoon after visiting Blacksburg in a Thursday night game last season and being shredded by Darren Evans for 253 yards and losing 23-13.

The good news for the Terps is Evans is out for the season with a torn ACL. The bad news? The man who replaced Evans—Ryan Williams—leads the ACC in rushing and is ninth nationally with 1,109 yards in nine games.

12:17 p.m. — The biggest storyline entering today’s game for the Terps will be the man lining up behind center. Senior starter Chris Turner is doubtful for today’s game after injuring his knee last week in the loss to NC State.

Assuming Turner cannot go in this one, sophomore Jamarr Robinson would make his first career start. Robinson led the Terps in rushing with 38 yards last week after entering the game late in the first half but was only 5 of 11 for 27 yards in the passing game.

With the Terps’ inexperienced—and ineffective—starting line, Robinson will need to use his athleticism to avoid the pass rush and get rid of the ball quickly. I expect Maryland to come out running the ball today with Davin Meggett and Caleb Porzel leading the way.

12:13 p.m. — Good afternoon from Byrd Stadium in College Park as we get set to watch the Maryland Terrapins take on the Virginia Tech Hokies.

It’s been a difficult season for the Terps as they play out the string with a 2-7 record and no hope for a bowl game. For the Hokies, it’s been a disappointing season on a different scope as they entered the season ranked No. 7 in the country but sit tied for third in the Coastal Division of the ACC and are currently No. 20 in the AP Poll.

Maryland will don special camouflage uniforms this afternoon to support the Wounded Warrior Project. On the flip side, Tech is dressed in all white (including white helmets) as a part of Nike’s Pro Combat line.

Today’s game will only be streamed on ESPN360 with Dave Weekley Rose and Danny Kanell providing the call. A replay of the game will be shown on Comcast SportsNet at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

As always, I’ll be blogging my thoughts throughout the afternoon and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST).

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