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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Win one, Lose one: The Norm

As you can see, I've really been slacking off lately and enjoying the holidays/winter break. Also, there wasn't much going on last week and between having already completed a bowl preview/being very upset about Maryland men's basketball, I found that the material was a little depleted.

However, Maryland had a BIG day today, playing in both a basketball game and a bowl game. One win, one loss. It's life.


So Part I of my day was spent in College Park, watching the Terps take on my mother's alma mater, Delaware and the Fightin' Blue Hens. My pregame ritual consisted mostly of praying that we would not drop another home non-conference game (Note the level of anger after the Ohio and American losses on this site).

Well, thank goodness they came through, winning 76-46. I stayed for every minute; I'll watch a game when the Terps can actually execute.


- Witness four starters in double digits. The only one who didn't have double digits (Eric Hayes)
actually had a better game than the stats suggest, generally taking care of the ball, grabbing 7 rebounds and not being such a liability on defense. Meanwhile, Greivis Vasquez and James Gist actually took their mantles of leadership today: Gist had a double-double and 5 blocks (and the nasty, nasty dunk to the left) while Gravy had 18 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds, going 7-for-11 from the field, plus 3 steals. Who said we should bench him? He's heating up, big-time.

- Rebounding went very well. The Terrapins held a 32-board advantage. When the bigs mishandled the balls, our guards were usually in position to grab the ball (Hayes, Vasquez and Adrian Bowie all got over five). Turnovers and inconsistent 3-point shooting are still glaring problems: They gave up 16 turnovers and only Vasquez made threes.

- Let's not forget, Delaware is a really terrible team. None of their players seemed particularly good at anything and they didn't really seem to have any kind of defensive plan of any kind. We honestly just bullied them and took their lunch money. FUN FACT: Delaware also lost to Ohio University. Maybe we should start a club.

But, as they say, a win is a win. The best thing we can take out of this is confidence and experience of being in rhythm and executing plays properly. I still think the tight zone will be problematic for Maryland, as their shooting is still suspect and you can't always expect Gist and Bambale to show up and dominate.


Well, you can't win 'em all.

I think Maryland was a heavy underdog to win this matchup with good reason - Oregon State is a good team. In the game, their passing game and the pretty poor composure of injury-replacement quarterback Sean Canfield left much to be desired, but their defense came to play. Our strength, the run, was completely taken away in the 21-14 loss. The score was close, but the level of play was not.


- Maryland rushed for what I'm sure is a season-low 19 combined yards. Yuck. Meanwhile, OSU simply ran us over, gaining 275 yards on the ground. And it wasn't as if we weren't getting to them - let's just say that Coach Friedgen should stress tackling in the offseason. Some of what I saw was pretty poor. I mean, shouldn't you know how to wrap up if you're going to start? Diminutive rushers Yvenson Bernard and James Rodgers broke defenders through like Earl Campbell clones. I'm not doubting the talent, but they definitely should've been taken down much earlier on several of their long runs.

- Napolean Dynamite lookalike Chris Turner (feel free to click and compare) had an OK day, going for 205 yards and two TDs and two INTs. As average as he was, he wasn't helped by his wideouts (excluding Darrius Heyward-Bey, who almost broke the century mark and hauled in a 63-yard pass that'was actually a really nice burn). Lots of fingers will be pointing to the wet weather, but I saw an awful lot of drops when the ball hit both of the receiver's hands. The rule tends to be if it hits two hands, you catch it.

Otherwise, well, at least it was close. We came out strong, but finished poorly, like many games this season. I think our level of play just about corresponded to where we ended up. 6-7 is not pretty, but neither was watching the Terps for most of this season. Too many injuries, poor fundamentals and an anemic passing offense couldn't equal a successful season. Try again next year!

By the way, in case you haven't heard, we may have some decent help next year. Former Terp wideout coach James Franklin makes a triumphant return to Maryland as O-ccordinator. As Recruiting Report notes, he's a two-time top-25 Rivals.com recruiter. Cool, right? Maybe we'll stop losing football recruits to Illinois. Also, this means Friedgen will no longer have to call plays. I think that makes us all breathe slightly easier.

Overall, a decent day: Both teams essentially did what they were expected to. For football, good luck next year and for basketball - let's keep playing at that level.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Washington Post, Baltimore Sun

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