Posted on 17 December 2015 by WNST Audio
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Posted on 14 December 2015 by WNST Audio
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Posted on 31 May 2014 by WNST Staff
The lineup for the SEC Network’s two-hour (10 a.m. – noon ET) traveling Saturday morning college football show SEC Nation was revealed today in Nashville, Tenn., at the Music City Sports Festival. Previously announced host Joe Tessitore and analyst Tim Tebow will be joined each week by talk radio provocateur Paul Finebaum and former LSU and NFL star, Marcus Spears. The SEC Network is a new 24/7 sports network launching August 14 and operated by ESPN in conjunction with the Southeastern Conference.
Finebaum and Spears’ additional roles with the network were announced earlier this year including Finebaum’s daily radio show (2 – 6 p.m. ET) and Spears’ football analyst role for the network’s year-round football coverage.
“Our SEC Nation team encompasses the veteran voices our fans expect and insider knowledge they deserve. Paul and Marcus bring a variety of experiences that will complement Joe and Tim, providing viewers with a high-caliber, full view of SEC matchups each week,” said Stephanie Druley, vice president, production for college networks.
Also, more sites for SEC Nation’s early season schedule were revealed adding to the previously announced appearances at South Carolina on August 28 and Auburn on August 30. The show will begin its September slate in Nashville, Tenn., home to Vanderbilt University and travel to all 14 SEC schools by season’s end. The schedule:
|Thu, Aug. 28||4 – 6 p.m.||South Carolina/Columbia, S.C.|
|Sat, Aug. 30||10 a.m. – noon||Auburn/Auburn, Ala.|
|Sat, Sept. 6||10 a.m. – noon||Vanderbilt/Nashville, Tenn.|
|Sat, Sept. 13||10 a.m. – noon||Florida/Gainesville, Fla.|
|Sat, Sept. 20||10 a.m. – noon||Alabama/Tuscaloosa, Ala.|
Also beginning August 28, the SEC Network will air 45 college football games this season and feature a game from all 14 teams in the SEC at their home stadium in the first four weeks.Full details.
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Posted on 13 June 2012 by WNST Staff
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Navy men’s basketball head coach Ed DeChellis has announced that Ernie Nestor will join the Navy coaching staff, replacing Kurt Kanaskie, who took a similar coaching position at Virginia Tech last month. Nestor comes to Navy after spending the last season at Missouri and has been successful at every stop he has been during his 43-year career in the coaching ranks.
“Coach Nestor brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and success to our program. He has been a successful coach at all levels and will be an important figure in our program moving forward,” said DeChellis. “He has coached and recruited outstanding student-athletes and is one of the most respected and well-liked coaches in the country.”
“I am excited to rejoin coach DeChellis and be part of the basketball program here at the Naval Academy. I have the utmost respect for the institution and am looking forward to working with the current staff and players in building a strong, competitive team,” said Nestor. “There is a great admiration for the Naval Academy and what it stands for. It is a distinct honor to be a small part of such a great institution.”
Nestor comes to Navy after spending last season at Missouri as an assistant coach. The Tigers went 30-5 a year ago, won the Big 12 Championship and were ranked in the nation’s top five for the majority of the season. He has been credited in the development of Mizzou big man Ricardo Ratliffe, who showed drastic improvement from 2010-11 to last season, when he led the country in field goal percentage (.693) and averaged 13.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg while earning all-Big 12 second-team honors. In addition, guard Kim English spoke highly of Coach Nestor and the work the duo accomplished during the year. English averaged 14.5 points per game and shot a blistering 45.9 percent from three-point range.
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Posted on 04 June 2012 by Luke Jones
After taking high school players with their first-round selection in each of the last three amateur drafts, the Orioles selected right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman from LSU with the fourth overall pick of the 2012 amateur draft.
Gausman was the first pitcher selected after Stanford’s Mark Appel — the consensus top pick by most draft experts — slid down the draft board due to signability concerns. However, the Orioles were impressed with the 21-year-old’s tall stature at 6-feet-4 and high ceiling with an outstanding fastball consistently reaching the mid to upper-90s.
“Kevin Gausman is one of the premier power pitchers in all of college baseball,” scouting director Gary Rajsich told reporters in a conference call. “He’s a power arm with a power arsenal that he commands, and we’re happy to have him as part of the Orioles organization.
Having worked with former Orioles bullpen coach Alan Dunn at Louisiana State, Gausman possesses a good changeup and also throws a solid two-seamer, but his breaking stuff is underdeveloped at this point. He is expected to be on a fast track to the major leagues with scouts projecting him to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter with top-end potential if he can develop more consistency with a breaking pitch.
Gausman weighs only 185 pounds, meaning he could potentially add a little more to his fastball as he gets stronger over the next couple years.
A sixth-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2010 draft, Gausman did not sign and elected to play baseball for the Tigers, where he thrived against top-notch competition in the SEC. He was 11-1 with a 2.72 earned run average and 128 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings (16 starts) this season as a draft-eligible sophomore. Gausman was 5-6 with a 3.51 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings in his freshman season in 2011.
Nicknamed “Goose” and possessing a colorful personality, Gausman said in an MLB Network profile he eats four powdered mini-donuts between innings during his starts. The right-hander tries to model his game after Phillies ace Roy Halladay.
While Appel was not expected to be available when the Orioles picked with the fourth selection, San Francisco pitcher Kyle Zimmer and high school southpaw Max Fried had also been mentioned as candidates Baltimore was considering in the first round.
The Orioles last chose a college pitcher in the first round in 2008 when they selected left-hander Brian Matusz from San Diego. Gausman is the third LSU player to be drafted by the Orioles in the first round, joining 1989 first overall pick Ben McDonald and the 19th pick of the 2001 draft Mike Fontenot.
Posted on 13 April 2012 by WNST Audio
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Posted on 28 December 2011 by WNST Staff
|Date||Wednesday, December 28, 2011|
|Location||Lewisburg, Pa. | Sojka Pavillion|
|Series Record||Bucknell leads, 5-1|
|Last Meeting||Bucknell 70, Loyola 59 – Dec. 28, 2010, at Loyola|
Loyola University Maryland will play its final game of 2011 on Wednesday, December 28, when it takes on Bucknell University at 7 p.m. in Lewisburg, Pa., at Sojka Pavilion.
Both the Greyhounds and Bison are coming off six-day layoffs for Christmas after they both played on December 22, Bucknell at Boston University and Loyola at the third-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.
Bucknell and Loyola will play for the seventh time on Wednesday. The Bison lead the all-time series 5-1 after defeating the Greyhounds 70-59 a year ago to the date of this game.
The teams played in 1986-1987 and 1987-1988, and then twice during the 1992-1993 campaign, with Bucknell winning each time.
Loyola snapped the skid against the Bison with a 55-49 win in Lewisburg on December 28, 2009.
Wednesday’s game will close a six-game road swing for the Greyhounds. They have not played at Reitz Arena since defeating Marist in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener on Thursday, December 1.
Loyola is 3-2 on the current slate of road games, winning the first three before falling at St. Bonaventure and Kentucky.
The Greyhounds return to Baltimore for the first of three-straight home games on Monday, January 2, to play Niagara.
Back-to-Back Tournament Teams
For the only time this season, Loyola will be facing teams that appeared in the 2011 NCAA Tournament in consecutive games.
Both teams bowed out to eventual National Champion Connecticut, Bucknell falling 81-52 in the West Region First Round, while Kentucky lost 56-55 in the Final Four.
Highest Ranked Opponent
Loyola took on Kentucky on December 22 in Rupp Arena when the Wildcats were ranked No. 3 in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls.
The Wildcats’ No. 3 rankings matches the highest-ranked opponent Loyola has faced in program history, equalling that of Kansas in January 2008.
Kentucky’s announced crowd of 22,774 was the largest a Loyola athletics team has ever played in front of.
Switching It Up
Jimmy Patsos started the sixth different lineup combination of the season last Thursday against Kentucky when forwards Jordan Latham and Shane Walker and guards Dylon Cormier, Justin Drummond and Robert Olson were in the starting five.
Latham and Drummond both made the second starts of their careers. Latham also started the season opener at Wake Forest, and Drummond opened the game Florida Gulf Coast game.
Back To Form
After scoring fewer than 10 points for back-to-back games at Mount St. Mary’s and St. Bonaventure, the first time he was in single digits since January, Erik Etherly posted a double-double at Kentucky with team highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The double-double was Etherly’s fifth this season and ninth of his career. His most recent feat came on December 7 at George Washington when he scored 12 and matched his career-best with 15 rebounds.
Etherly has scored in double figures in 20 of the Greyhounds’ last 22 games, going back to January 28, 2011, against Siena. In those 22 games, Etherly has averaged 14 points per contest.
Entering the December 22 game against the Greyhounds, Preseason All-SEC and Dick Vitale Solid Gold selection Doron Lamb was leading the Wildcats at 16.7 points per game.
Loyola held the sophomore to nine points and limited him to just five shots (he entered averaging 11 field goals attempted) in 31 minutes of action. The nine points were his second-lowest of the season and came two days after he scored a season-best 26 points against Samford.
Loyola and Kentucky combined for just 19 turnovers in Lexington, and the Greyhounds matched their season-low with only nine.
The Greyhounds have posted just nine turnovers in three of their last five games, all coming on the current swing of games away from Reitz Arena – at Siena, Mount St. Mary’s and Kentucky.
Latham Continues Contributions
Jordan Latham has seen increased playing time in the last three Loyola games, seeing 18 minutes of action at Mount St. Mary’s and 17 at both St. Bonaventure and Kentucky, the top three totals of his career.
He scored just two points at The Mount and four at St. Bonaventure, but his size, effort and solid defense were noted by the coaches, leading to increased time on the floor. Latham then tallied a career-high seven points against the Wildcats.
Latham is a new addition to the Loyola side this season after transferring during the offseason from Xavier. He was granted an NCAA waiver and will be immediately eligible to play for the Greyhounds in 2011-2012 rather than having to sit out the typical year-in-residency.
Latham returned to his home city when joining the Greyhounds. The 6-foot-8 forward played high school basketball a mere 2.5 miles from Loyola’s campus at the storied Baltimore City College, a high school that has produced two sitting U.S. Congressmen (Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.) and a U.S. Senator (Ben Cardin D-Md.).
Last Time Out
Loyola cut No. 3 Kentucky’s lead to four points on the first possession of the second half on an Erik Etherly dunk, but the Wildcats fended off the challenge and eventually went on a 15-2 run en route to a 87-63 victory.
Twice in the first half, Kentucky appeared ready to break the game wide open. The Wildcats scored nine straight after Dylon Cormier’s opening bucket, but Loyola then reeled off six-straight to make it a 9-8 game. Later, Marquis Teague made two free throws to put Kentucky up 33-23 only to see Loyola pull within a pair, 33-31, on an Etherly dunk with 4:30 remaining in the half.
St. Bonaventure University defeated Loyola 76-6, snapping the Greyhounds’ eight-game winning streak. Loyola had reeled off the span of wins since falling in its season-opener at Wake Forest.
The winning streak was the longest in the school’s NCAA Division I history (since 1981-82), and it is the longest since the 1964-1965 team won eight in a row during January and February.
Drummond’s Career Day
Justin Drummond put together a career-high scoring effort in the Greyhounds’ loss at St. Bonaventure, finishing with 26 points to eclipse the 22 he scored last February against Canisius.
Drummond, who came off the bench and played 32 minutes, made 10-of-19 shots, both of his 3-point attempts and all four of his free throws. He also led Loyola with five rebounds.
Drummond spread his 26 points evenly between the two halves, scoring 13 in each. He scored six-straight points as Loyola held the Bonnies scoreless for over two minutes in the second half, trimming St. Bonaventure’s advantage from 12 to six with 4:06 to play.
First Time With One
St. Bonaventure limited Loyola’s scorers, holding all players under 10 points, save for Justin Drummond’s 26. It was the first time this season that just one player was in double figures and just the third time (George Washington and Mount St. Mary’s) that less than three have tallied 10 or more.
Honors Abound For Cormier
Loyola sophomore guard Dylon Cormier picked up a couple of awards for his recent play, earning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week and Jesuit Basketball Spotlight National Player of the Week honors on December 12, both for the first time in his career.
Cormier averaged 20.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in a pair of wins over George Washington University and Mount St. Mary’s University.
This season, Cormier leads Loyola in scoring (16.8), 3-point percentage (.424) and steals (1.8) and is third in rebounding (5.0).
Walker Off And Running At Mount
Shane Walker scored his first five points of the game last Saturday at Mount St. Mary’s from the free-throw line, but he made a 3-pointer from the top left of the arc with less than five seconds to go in the first half, pushing the Greyhounds’ lead to seven at the break.
In the second half, he continued his scoring effort, tallying 12 of his team-high 20 points in the second 20 minute stretch. He made another three and finished the game 10-of-13 from the charity stripe, setting career-highs in free throws made and attempted.
Walker’s 20 points were a season-high, and the game marked the eighth time in nine games this year he has scored 10 or more.
His only sub 10-point outing came one game earlier when he scored just four points at George Washington. Both of his field goals against the Colonials were big ones, however. The first came after George Washington cut Loyola’s one-time 20-point advantage to just eight with 5:18 to play, and the momentum appeared to have shifted to the Colonials. On the ensuing possession, R.J. Williams misfired on a jumper, but Walker came from the weak side to grab the rebound and lay it off the glass for his first points.
Minutes later, Walker took advantage of a mismatch at the top of the perimeter and drove down the right side of the lane, laying another basket off the backboard to put Loyola up 15 in the final 90 seconds.
He also had a season-best nine rebounds against George Washington.
Big Shots From Bobby
Robert Olson was just a point behind Shane Walker for team-high honors at Mount St. Mary’s, finishing with a season-high 19. He was 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-7 from behind the arc.
He scored 16 of his points after halftime, making a three 43 ticks in after the Mountaineers had cut Loyola’s lead to four. He then had a traditional 3-point play and one from behind the arc in consecutive possessions with less than five minutes left to push the Greyhounds lead to 12 on two occasions.
Timing Was Right
Justin Drummond scored all nine of his points in the first half at Mount St. Mary’s, although he did not make his first two field goals until less than 90 seconds were left in the stanza.
Aggressive play by Drummond, on the offensive glass and driving to the basket, put Drummond at the free throw line for six attempts, of which he made five, in the game’s first 17 minutes.
With under a 90 seconds in the first half, Drummond twice took the ball on the low block, backed his defender down and scored off the glass. His four points were in the middle of a 9-0 run Loyola used to close the half and go from two down to seven up at the break.
Best Start In Division I History
Loyola’s victory against Siena on December 3 moved the Greyhounds’ record to 6-1 and gave the 2011-2012 team the best start in school Division I history, improving on the 5-1 start the Greyhounds achieved in 2005-2006.
The Greyhounds also are 2-0 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the first time in the 23 years in the league.
Back-To-Back Career Nights
Dylon Cormier tied his previous career-high of 20 points against both Coppin State and UMBC earlier this season, matching the amount he scored last season as a freshman, also against UMBC.
He recorded his third 20-point effort of the season on December 3 at Siena, scoring 22, and he set another career-high one game later with a game-best 26 in the win over George Washington.
This season, Cormier has averaged 18.3 points per game through eight games, scoring 15 or more five times. Last season, Cormier scored 10 or more in 12 games, something he has already done eight times this year.
His points have come in a variety of ways. At Siena, he knocked down 5-of-6 threes, while against the Colonials, he posted 10-of-13 from the free-throw line. Earlier in the year, he scored 20 at UMBC behind a 15-of-17 effort from the charity stripe.
Cormier also registered a career-best nine rebounds against George Washington.
Threes Starting To Fall
After starting the season cold from behind the 3-point arc – the Greyhounds made just 11-of-56 (.196) in their first four games – Loyola has seemingly reversed the trend, making 44-of-107 (.411) in its last six contests. The numbers were buoyed by 8-of-15 (.533) and 6-of-11 (.545) performances against Florida Gulf Coast and George Washington, respectively.
Crashing The Boards
Loyola has outrebounded opponents by 43 this season, 405-362, through 11 games this season.
The Greyhounds’ advantage has been even more dramatic on the offensive glass where they have outrebounded opponents, 165-119. They have pulled down offensive boards on nearly 50-percent of missed shots this season.
Loyola’s 23 rebounds at St. Bonaventure were the fewest by the Greyhounds this season, and the -12 is the biggest deficit they have seen in the rebounding battle this year.
The offensive rebounds have come from guards and forwards. Guard Dylon Cormier and forward Erik Etherly lead the team with 28 each, while guard Justin Drummond has 25, and forward Shane Walker has 24.
Solid MAAC Start
Loyola did something earlier this month it had never accomplished in 22 previous seasons in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Greyhounds went 2-0 in their first two league games, defeating Marist at home and Siena on the road.
The Greyhounds also won their conference opener for the first time since 2005-2006, marking just the fourth time in 23 seasons they were 1-0 in the MAAC.
Loyola caused 20 Siena turnovers, and the Greyhounds were credited with 19 steals. R.J. Williams led the way with a career-high five, while Erik Etherly, Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson each had three.
The 19 steals are the second-most in school history, one more than the Greyhounds posted in a November 29, 1997, game at Kent State. It is also the most Loyola has recorded against a Division I opponent. The school single-game record of 20 came on February 28, 1996, when the team closed the regular-season against St. Mary’s (Md.).
Consistency Is The Key
Up until the George Washington win, three Loyola players – Dylon Cormier (13, 20, 20, 16, 14, 15, 22), Shane Walker (12, 15, 12, 15, 10, 11, 10) and Erik Etherly (11, 15, 27, 11, 15, 14, 11) have scored in double figures in each of the Greyhounds’ first seven games, something never accomplished by the same three players in the program’s Division I history.
Walker was held to just four against the Colonials, but Cormier finished with 26, and Etherly had 12.
The last time three Loyola players scored 10 or more over a six-game stretch was the 1997-1998 season when Mike Powell, Jason Rowe and Roderick Platt accomplished the task in consecutive games from January 25-February 15, 1998. Loyola was 5-1 in those games.
The Greyhounds had not had the same three players score 10 or more in four-straight games since Gerald Brown, Marquis Sullivan and Michael Tuck did it against Rider, UC-Davis, Canisius and Marist from February 18-March 2, 2008. Loyola was 3-1 during that stretch.
Spreading The Wealth
Five Loyola players scored in double figures in the Marist contest, the second time this season (Coppin State) the Greyhounds have had five score 10 or more.
In the first seven games of the season, at least three Loyola players have scored 10 or more in every game, and in all but one, four or more have topped the 10-point mark.
In the Greyhounds’ January 30 victory last year over Iona, six players scored in double-figures, and the team’s top two scorers at the time did not even dress for the contest. It was the first time that a Loyola team had six players score in double figures since December 6, 1991, when the Greyhounds matched the feat in a 98-84 overtime home victory against Mount St. Mary’s.
Runs have been a big part of the Greyhounds’ success early this year. Here is a look at some runs of note:
|Coppin State||10-1, 4:26||31-32, 1:36 (1)||41-33, 17:11 (2)|
|UMBC||16-4, 8:08||35-31, 19:16 (2)||51-34, 11:08 (2)|
|FGCU||22-5, 6:53||15-16, 8:08 (1)||37-21, 1:11 (1)|
|Marist||9-0, 1:50||47-48, 11:16 (2)||56-48, 9:26 (2)|
|Marist||15-3, 5:47||61-57, 6:03 (2)||76-60, :16 (2)|
|Siena||13-0; 4:27||0-2, 19:28 (1)||13-2; 15:35 (1)|
|Geo. Wash.||17-0; 3:58||18-19, 6:28 (1)||34-19, 2:30 (1)|
|The Mount||9-0, 1:55||24-26, 1:59 (1)||33-26, :04 (1)|
Triple Digit Blocks
Shane Walker’s block of a Kevin Cantinol layup 1:25 into the second half against Florida Gulf Coast was the 100th rejection of his Loyola career. He is now one of three Greyhounds all-time to log 100 or more blocked shots, joining Brian Carroll (217, 1997-2001) George Sereikas (117, 1989-1993).
Head Coach Jimmy Patsos became the third coach in Loyola history to win 100 games when the Greyhounds defeated UMBC, 73-63, on the road. Patsos, who is in his eighth season, took over a team that finished 1-27 during the 2002-2003 season. He won his 100th game in his 215th career game.
Last season, Patsos moved into third-place all time at Loyola in victories, trailing only Lefty Reitz (349 wins, 1937-44, 1945-61) and Nap Doherty (165, 1961-74).
|Loyola All-Time Coaching Wins List|
|1.||349||Lefty Reitz||1937-1944, 1945-1961|
Two Of A Kind
Although unofficial, research shows that Jimmy Patsos is one of only two coaches in the last 20 years to take over a team that won just one game the year prior to his arrival.
Brigham Young finished the 1996-1997 season with a 1-25 record. Steve Cleveland took over the following season and tallied 138 wins until his departure for Fresno State after the 2004-2005 season.
Men’s & Women’s Coaches With 100
Loyola University Maryland is one of just 26 mid-major schools that has men’s and women’s basketball coaches with 100 or more victories at their current school after Greyhound women’s coach Joe Logan got his 100th on December 18 in a win at George Washington.
Loyola is the only school in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to have accomplished the feat, and it is one of only five institutions at which the coaches have both won 100 or more games in 10 or fewer seasons.
Two Over Twenty
Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier both hit, or exceeded, the 20-point plateau at UMBC with Etherly scoring 27 and Cormier chipping in 20.
It marked the first time since January 3, 2009, a stretch of 80 games, that a pair of Greyhounds scored 20 in the same game. On that date, Jamal Barney poured in 41 at Canisius, while Brett Harvey had 22.
Getting To The Line
As a team, Loyola went to the free-throw line 46 times at UMBC, making 31. The 46 attempts are the sixth-most all-time and most since the 2004-2005 squad attempted 53 on December 5, 2004, against Niagara.
Loyola’s 31 free throws made rank 11th on the school single-game chart and were the most since making 32 on January 14, 2009, versus NJIT.
Although his shot was not falling at UMBC, Dylon Cormier still found ways to be productive on the offensive end of the floor. The sophomore guard was just 2-of-9 from the field, but he went to the free-throw line 17 times, making 15, and finished with 20 points.
Cormier’s 15 free throws made are tied for sixth in Loyola single-game history, matching the total made by Mike Powell at Saint Peter’s on December 6, 1997, and Donovan Thomas against Marist on February 23, 2003. The 15 makes were the most by a Loyola player since Jamal Barney set the school record with 18 on January 14, 2009, against NJIT. His 17 attempts rank tied for sixth all-time.
Baltimore Bred And More From Nearby
Since taking over as head coach in 2004, Jimmy Patsos has put an emphasis on recruiting locally, and it has never shown as much as on this year’s roster. Three players – sophomore guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), sophomore forward Jordan Latham (City) and freshman guard R.J. Williams (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.
Six more players played in high school within 50 miles of Loyola, as the crow flies (thanks daftlogic.com): Shane Walker & Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian, 32.6 miles; Robert Olson, Georgetown Prep, 33.9; Justin Drummond, Riverdale Baptist, 33.9; Anthony Winbush, T.C. Williams, 43.7; and Erik Etherly, Annandale, 47.9
Posted on 06 April 2011 by Brian Billick
Kentucky’s Randall Cobb has a similar skill-set to Percy Harvin when he was coming out a couple years ago. in 2010, Cobb broke the SEC single-season record for all-purpose yardage with 2,396 including 1,017 receiving and 424 rushing. Last season, he scored at least one touchdown as a receiver, running back, quarterback, and returner…accounting for 16 touchdowns overall.
As expected, when watching him on the field, you see an extremely versatile athlete that displays very natal movements on the field. He catches the ball with ease, extending his arms out fully to catch the ball away from his body and the defender. He runs crisp routes and adjusts and tracks the ball in the air extremely well. He shows the skill to play either outside or as a slot receiver, but I think he would be best suited inside. This way, he can get the ball quickly and use his run after catch ability to make big plays in the passing game. He has great acceleration in short bursts that make him tough to tackle in the open field. Outside of his playmaking ability, I really like the fact that he is a tough and willing blocker to help spring his teammates for bigger gains. He also will be a special teams contributor from day one on the return teams.
With the “wildcat” offense still being prevalent in today’s NFL, this former Kentucky Wildcat will give his future team a ton of versatility and productivity. Most teams will be looking for him as the fifth best receiver in this draft.
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Posted on 14 December 2010 by Luke Jones
The report of offensive coordinator James Franklin accepting an offer to become the head coach at Vanderbilt provides conflicting feelings if you’re a supporter of Maryland football.
On one hand, the coach-in-waiting was the program’s heavyweight recruiter, a charismatic 38-year-old who can make the connections with young football players that current head coach Ralph Friedgen cannot at the age of 63. Franklin was entrusted to revitalize recruiting after the program plateaued — or regressed — in recent years after Friedgen’s success at the beginning of his 10-season tenure.
Following a 2-10 season in 2009 when it looked like the futures of both Friedgen and Franklin were in doubt, it was redshirt freshman Danny O’Brien — heavily recruited out of Kernersville, N.C. by the offensive coordinator — who stabilized the quarterback position and led the Terps to an improbable 8-4 season and trip to the Military Bowl against East Carolina on December 29. It likely saved the jobs of both men as new athletic director Kevin Anderson was settling into the job formerly held by Debbie Yow, who orchestrated the coach-in-waiting agreement nearly two years ago.
And here is where feelings begin to conflict regarding Franklin’s departure for the Commodores and the SEC.
That coach-in-waiting designation included a $1 million bonus for Franklin had he not been named head coach by Jan. 2, 2012. At the time, Yow viewed it as a necessary measure to insure the program would not lose its young figurehead of the future after an aging Friedgen would retire from his alma mater.
However, for a program struggling to sell tickets and operating on a shoestring budget in relation to its ACC counterparts, the agreement began looking more like a brick wall than an insurance policy as the Terps struggled through that disastrous 2009 campaign. As much as many fans don’t want to hear it, money was the biggest factor in the decision to retain both Friedgen and Franklin for the 2010 season.
Whether you’re an affluent program or not, $1 million is a lot of money to pay someone not to become your head coach, not to mention the two years of salary each coach was owed at the time.
Fast-forward to the present, and the Terps appear to be in better shape on the field after a six-game turnaround and pending “trip” (the game’s being played in Washington, D.C., after all) to a bowl game. Maryland announced last month that Friedgen would return in 2011, and now the head coach seeks a contract extension beyond next year.
It’s a tough decision that looms for the new athletic director, the man left to deal with a precarious situation in his first few months in College Park. Anderson publicly expressed his disdain for coach-in-waiting agreements back in October, not an indictment of Franklin at the time but not exactly a ringing endorsement either.
The sheer fact that Franklin was willing to take the Vanderbilt job in the cutthroat nature of the SEC speaks volumes about where he thought he stood at Maryland in regards to his future as the potential head coach. If Franklin thought it was tough getting recruits to come to College Park, he’ll have a difficult time persuading top players to join a program that’s played in two bowl games in the last 36 years to get their brains beaten in by the college football royalty that exists in the SEC annually.
The writing was on the wall for the young coach. If the Terps would flourish again, Anderson would have little choice but to offer Friedgen some type of extension, leaving Franklin $1 million richer, but with no guarantee of a head job elsewhere.
If Maryland were to fall on hard times again, Franklin likely would have found himself unemployed (along with Friedgen) and no longer in a position to pursue a top gig, even with a fatter wallet.
Through it all, the new athletic director remains the wild card of Maryland football, with no one knowing exactly what Anderon has in mind for the future.
It was a gamble that Franklin, apparently, was not willing to take with the current opportunity to become a head coach elsewhere.
With the $1 million coach-in-waiting clause no longer a factor, Friedgen might now feel he’s in a better position to coach beyond the 2011 season, even though he no longer possesses his top recruiter and offensive coordinator. Or Anderson may view the veteran coach as the only obstacle blocking a fresh start for a program that’s fallen on hard times after a brief renaissance early in the Friedgen era, this year notwithstanding.
Franklin’s departure will certainly impact recruiting and the offensive product on the field, but it also creates the financial flexibility for Anderson to wipe the slate clean and start anew should he decide Friedgen is not his man beyond the 2011 season.
Whatever the case, its impact on the future of Maryland football cannot be argued.
Time will only tell whether it pays off for the parties involved.
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Posted on 12 August 2010 by Luke Jones
With the pregame buzz of a nationally-televised game inevitably wearing off shortly after the actual game begins (the first preseason game always provides that letdown, doesn’t it?), fans must channel their focus on individual standouts among many with no chance of making the 53-man roster in early September.
Stars such as Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, and Ray Rice will only be making cameo appearances, but the stakes are much higher for lesser-known players yet to make their name popular in the Charm City. A few are battling for starting positions while others are simply contending for a spot on the 53-man roster, with the Ravens or one of the other 31 teams in the National Football League.
Below is a list of five players to watch in tonight’s game against the Carolina Panthers. A couple of familiar names are trying to enhance their stature while the others have stood out in training camp and can improve their position for making the squad—in Baltimore or elsewhere—with strong performances in the preseason.
1. LB Jameel McClain
We all expected a battle between Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe for the inside linebacker spot next to Lewis, but McClain has emerged as the biggest surprise of training camp. The third-year linebacker was a special teams standout in his first two seasons with the Ravens, but he’s taken an overwhelming majority of the reps with the starting defense while Gooden and Ellerbe have worked with the second team.
McClain is beginning to draw comparisons to former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott in that both went undrafted, played multiple positions in college, and earned their money via special teams in the infancy of their respective careers. McClain can play all four linebacker positions in the Ravens’ 3-4 scheme, but he credits being able to focus on the inside spot as a major factor for his new-found status as a defensive starter.
Of course, being a starter in training camp doesn’t mean he’ll start in September, but it’s apparent how far McClain has progressed from the summer of 2008 when he was a nondescript linebacker-defensive end trying to make the team. His steady play in all aspects of the game makes him a valuable asset to the defense.
“That’s what [McClain] is, he’s consistent,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s physical between the tackles. He’s solid in pass coverage.”
2. OT Oniel Cousins
The 2008 third-round draft choice has drawn the ire of many in his brief opportunities to play in his first two seasons, but this is a critical preseason—and season—for Cousins. With Jared Gaither’s status up in the air, physically and contractually, tonight will be a valuable first step for Cousins to alleviate concerns at the right tackle position and convince the coaching staff he can eventually be an NFL starter.
Cousins began training camp on the non-football illness list after having a procedure to remove a cyst in his throat earlier in the summer, but one wouldn’t know he only returned to the practice field a week ago by the way he’s played.
“I think what [Cousins] has done has been pretty amazing,” Harbaugh said. “He’s just made up so much ground in the last week that he’s practiced. He looks good, so he should play quite a bit [on Thursday].”
3. CB Prince Miller
At 5-foot-8, the diminutive cornerback has listened to doubters throughout his football career. It didn’t stop Miller from making 31 career starts at Georgia and matching up against the best receivers the highly-competitive SEC had to offer.
Miller has struggled in camp against taller receivers such as Anquan Boldin and Demetrius Williams, but shows good athleticism and an impressive skill-set in special teams, a critical factor for any player on the roster bubble.
The rookie was away from camp for two days to witness the birth of his first child but has played the nickel and dime positions with the first-team defense, largely because of the team’s health issues in the secondary.
With Chris Carr likely out and Fabian Washington a game-time decision, Miller will likely man the nickel with the starting defense in the first quarter and play extensively when the starters are removed.
“We gave him a couple days off [to be in Georgia for his child’s birth], and he did have fresh legs [Tuesday],” Harbaugh said. “I think it helped him. He kind of had the little bounce in his step, but he’ll play a lot on Thursday night along with those other young guys.”
4. LB Albert McClellan
The Ravens scouting department manages to find an impressive “hybrid” on the rookie free agent list seemingly every year, and McClellan fits that description this summer. The defensive end-linebacker has performed admirably in Westminster, even picking off Troy Smith and returning it for a touchdown in a red zone drill.
It’s no secret McClellan faces an uphill battle to make the team with such a deep linebacker unit already in place, but the same was said about McClain in 2008 before the Syracuse rookie won a roster spot with big performances in the preseason.
McClellan was a three-time captain at Marshall and accumulated 19.5 sacks in his collegiate career as a defensive end, earning second team All-Conference USA honors as a senior and first-team honors as a junior. Even if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster, McClellan figures to have a good chance to catch on elsewhere or make the developmental squad.
5. DT Lamar Divens
With the Ravens drafting defensive linemen Terrence Cody and Arthur Jones in April, the 343-pound Divens has become a forgotten man in a very deep group of defensive linemen. Durability is an issue with the third-year tackle, finishing the season on Injured Reserve in 2008 (shoulder) and spending the entire 2009 campaign on IR (shoulder).
Divens has impressed during training camp, constantly getting to the offensive backfield while playing on the second and third defensive units. With so many defensive tackles on the roster, he is a long-shot to stick with the Ravens, but a strong preseason improves his chances to catch on elsewhere.
He will receive extensive playing time in the second half.
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