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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Word on the Street: Tate Coming to Maryland

Josh Barr's Recruiting Insider has UMD fans on alert that sought-after wideout Kenny Tate wants to be a Terp. He has a press conference scheduled for today at 5 p.m. (as if we hadn't said it enough), and is choosing between Maryland and Illinois.

I really shouldn't be making promises, but from what I hear, Maryland is a good environment for Tate and is desirable. He's a local standout at DeMatha, and he was a starter for the East in the Senior Bowl. He would be a huge aquisition for the Terps - a perfect option on the other side of fellow four-star recruit. A while back, Matt Bracken had a conversation with his high school coach: Read it here.

Also, some of you know by know I'm obsessed with Recruiting Report, but I really liked today's "Getting to Know You" feature with Davin Meggett. Here's my personal highlights:

Favorite TV show:
The Boondocks on the Cartoon Network

Favorite book:
The Bible and Football Physics by Timothy James Gay

Favorite thing about College Park:
“The energy of the students and just the livelihood, how real they are.”

Playbooks, making new plays, coming up with blocking schemes and checks

I know he takes football seriously, but I hope he can get some new hobbies - like pottery or Scrabble or something. I feel like one cannot live on sports alone - even me (believe it or not).

UPDATE: We got Tate. He seemed really nervous, but he managed to spit out, "I will be attending Maryland University ... Soon as I sign those papers, I'm a Maryland Terrapin."

More info at Recruiting Insider.

Photo Credit: Washington Post

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Terps take Virginia to school

Maryland showed up tonight and held Virginia down, beating them 85-75. Very fascinating game. I think at this point, Maryland has proven they can compete.

Virginia isn't very good, but it was important for the Terps to prove they wouldn't let down against a lesser team after running with Duke on Sunday. Now they sit at respectable 3-3 in the ACC, which is OK, but not quite good enough. The team will have to treat every game as a must-win from here on out.

I saw some really "interesting" things in this game:

- TURNOVERS: I had to rub my eyes, pinch myself and check my pulse when I took a look at the box score. Only 9 turnovers tonight for UMD. Incredible. Overall, the ball movement, especially in the first half, looked pretty crisp. It was apparent to me that Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez had been practicing together on a few plays: One of the more successful setups was when one of them passed the ball to the other, and when the double team came to block the shot, a quick pass back would create an open shot.

- SHOOTING: On a related note, the long-range shooting was better. Hayes hit 3, Vasquez hit 4. The percentage should go up though (only 33%). Both Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker hesitate in taking open shots from downtown. Landon Milbourne was inconsistent.

- LEADERSHIP: There was a specific possession when the guards stalled and kind of passed back and forth for a bit while the shot clock was winding down. It was a bit nerve-wracking because Sean Singletary was threatening to make a one-man comeback. Greivis threw up a hasty shot, Gist rebounded and got fouled. In the huddle before the shots, Gist entered the circle. All I can say was he wasn't giving them a pat on the back. Boom joined in on the yelling, and both of them looked dead serious. The guards looked pretty bashful. I've seen both of them play with emotion, but I've never seen them hold their teammates responsible like that - ever. It was actually a very welcome sign for me that the seniors were actually serious that they were not going to lose that game. Gist and Osby are now the undeniable leaders of the squad. Discipline from within is a beautiful thing.

The biggest problem I saw was really a matter of not seeing much ... from the bench, that is. The best player? DAVE NEAL. The People's Champ did a fair backup job with 4 points and 3 boards in 12 minutes, which isn't too bad. But really, Tucker, Bowie and Dupree can't put up more stats COMBINED than Dave Neal? Well, anyway, congrats to Neal for hustling like hell and showing the fans why he's earned the right to be called The People's Champ.

Good win. Next up, Georgia Tech.

RECRUITING NEWS: Maryland football earned the commitment of defensive tackle Zack Kerr from Quince Orchard HS. He's a big'un, and a 3-star recruit. That totals 4 DTs that Maryland's picked up this year with a 3-star (or higher) rating. Think they might switch to a 4-3 defense pretty soon? Kenny Tate's verdict comes tomorrow at 5 p.m. Hopefully, he'll make this one of Maryland's best recruiting classes in recent years.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Handful of Maryland Links

Today, I don't have much to talk about, but I think it's a good time to break out some UMD-related articles I've seen online.

- An article by Don Markus in the Baltimore Sun today highlighted Boom Osby's recent development on the offensive end particularly. It's keeping in theme with the column I posted yesterday.

- The Balt-Wash blog Scott Van Pelt Style theorizes that Maryland relies too much on athleticism rather than discipline and quality shooting.

- I know every non-Terps fan will accuse me of living in the past, but here's a nice little reminder from the UNC game: James Gist dunking on Tyler Hansbrough.

- Maryland target Kenny Tate will be choosing where he's going to school on Thursday at 5 on Comcast SportsNet. Read about his recruitment in this ESPN article by Heather Dinich. By the way, Penn State is officially out of the running, so it's between UMD and Illinois (Thanks to Recruiting Report for the tip).

This isn't a link, it's a story. Before the game, the Terps had just finished their first shootaround, and started to have some fun. Gist put down a few nasty dunks (no surprise there). Boom surprised me by Rockin the Cradle and finishing with a reverse, which was very awesome. But Jerome Burney ... oh boy. His first dunk was a bounce pass to himself, caught in midair and finished with a frightening one-handed windmill. His second dunk was an arm through the hoop. The guy is simply monstrous, and a lot of people witnessed it and were asking, "Who is that guy?"

I'm about one game away from starting a Facebook group entitled, "Please play Jerome Burney." Since Gary doesn't seem to be in favor with Braxton Dupree lately, and Dave Neal is now the primary backup at forward, what can you possibly lose? Please just try it!

And for the grand finale, yes, fine, I'm still bitter. But I'd like to present to you: "Scheyerfaced."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Seniors Finally Step Up

There still must be lingering disappointment from yesterday's loss to Duke - I know I'm still upset - but I think the morning after, Maryland fans still have a lot to look forward to.

I know that I personally have been critical of the early-season play of James Gist and Bambale Osby, the two seniors on the Terrapin roster. In the consecutive losses to Ohio University and American University, the team's two best post players were effectively silent. They coughed up 8 turnovers against 10 points and 9 rebounds combined in the loss to the Bobcats. In the matchup with the Eagles, Gist was limited to a measly 3 points and Boom turned over 4 balls. Meanwhile, the fans' favorite pincushion, Greivis Vasquez, put up 28 points and went 6-of-9 from three-point range. Who's supposed to be leading who?

But things are changing, and hopefully with it, Maryland's fortunes will, too.

Playing top-five teams has had an effect on the two Terp seniors that seems to be for the better. In the last two games, James Gist has exploded for 48 total points and a respectable 18 rebounds. This goes along with his distinction as the second-leading shotblocker in the ACC and an overall terrific defensive player and athlete. Even more surprising has been the sudden development of Bambale Osby as not just a starter, but a legitimate presence in the post. He's had 32 points and 20 boards in the last two games. At the start of the Duke game, his hands looked more sure and steady than I've ever seen, and he was effectively able to utilize his strength to actually finish instead of settling for the foul. And people are noticing the changes and how they're affecting the team.

What's the secret? Gary Williams decided to pull out his secret weapon - former Terp and career steals leader Johnny Rhodes.

Williams had Rhodes come in and talk to the team, according to an article in The Baltimore Sun. He focused some of his attention on the seniors. Here are some excerpts:

"He called me out," Gist recalled recently. "He said, 'It's time for you to step up, and it's time for you to be the leader to get these guys winning.'"

Rhodes stayed to watch practice, and Gist kept thinking about what had been said. After the practice, Gist told the former guard he wasn't clear about how to be a leader.

"I was just telling him that these guys are going to play through him," Rhodes said last week. "I told him, 'You've got to do whatever necessary to get these guys' attention.'"

Also, some other things Gist has been saying are encouraging. He's not making excuses and talking straight, like in this Diamondback column.

"We know we're capable of playing with the top teams in the nation," senior James Gist said. "I strongly believe that we could be a top team in the nation, but we have to want it every night. We gotta want to come out and play hard every night, and that's the difference between us and the top teams in the nation."

He knows what's up, and with the way he's playing, I think he's trying to do what it takes. Osby as well is trying to take more care with entry passes and rebounds.

Of course there are still mistakes: The two still gave away 9 turnovers, but that was more due to Duke's triple teams than being careless (besides the terrible inbound pass at the start of the 2nd half). They have to expand their floor vision and be ready to pass out to the open man, because they'll catch the attention of more defenses if they keep playing at the same level.

There is progress, but the work isn't done - not by a long shot. But at the very least, the men who lead the team the rest of the way are now taking the responsibility and playing like we knew they could. It's a start.

Photo Credits: The Baltimore Sun

Sunday, January 27, 2008

You Lose Some, You Lose Some...

I have a good friend that has a saying, "You lose some, and you lose some." Yeah.

I'm not going to try and give any excuses as to why Maryland lost to Duke today, even though I personally thought Duke played dirty and they got calls at the end. We lost it by not playing well enough, by forcing our game and not giving ourselves a chance.

The final score of the contest was 93-84, but we definitely could've won. We outrebounded the Blue Devils (although it should've been by a greater margin), we shot at a higher percentage, but the two numbers that ended up mattering the most was 10 and 22.

Duke had 10 turnovers. Maryland had 22. You can't win that game.

I personally don't care that Duke was No. 4 in the country - that's an excuse. The Terps were up by 9 at the half, and they had all the momentum in the world. Duke came out after the break and made Maryland look flat.

I suppose you can't be too upset with competing with the No. 4 team in the country, but after you beat No. 1, the bar is higher. When you put yourself in position to win a game, you're expected to close it.

Here are the stats. Here's what I saw:

- I personally thought Duke played dirty at least in the first half. There was a lot of flopping around on top of Maryland players. Duke triple-teamed both Gist and Osby in the paint at times, and there was a lot of arm flailing and not a lot of called contact. There was one play when Gist turned around to face up McClure and received a shot to the face, and another when Taylor King took out Adrian Bowie's legs on a layup and the call was a player-control foul. What I saw from Duke seemed to be them trying to make a statement that they would play physically with us, but it was just dirty play - I think we're lucky no one was seriously injured.

- James Gist and Bambale Osby had dominant games until the final minutes. Gist put up 26 points and Osby set career highs with 20 points and 15 boards. Duke had no answer for our inside game in the first half, but toward the end, it seemed to swing the other way. Duke grabbed plenty of rebounds to control their lead, including two offensive boards in a row that killed at least a minute and a half. I think Gist and Osby had a great overall performance, but they got tired and couldn't close it out. And 9 turnovers are too many turnovers for a pair of power forwards.

- On a related note, the bench didn't do much at all. All the backups managed to get were 8 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Blech. And no Dino Gregory or Jerome Burney sightings either. I love seeing the guy on the floor, but is Dave Neal (The People's Champ) really the best reserve player in the post?

- Pretty good starting guard play: Hayes got a career-high 9 assists, Vasquez had 15 pts and 7 dimes, and they only gave up 6 points between them. But perimeter defense continues to be a problem (See Henderson, Gerald and Nelson, DeMarcus) and forcing fastbreak plays with unadvisable long passes down the court still happens. Why do our guards keep trying to set up half-court alley-oops? I don't think I've seen one work yet this season, but there are at least 3 attempts per game

Overall, I'm very disappointed that we lost and how the loss affects our shot at the NCAA tournament, but I can see the good things in the shadows. Gist and Osby are showing that defenses will need to take them seriously. Eric Hayes being back has given the team a tremendous boost. Competing against some of the best teams in the country has shown that we still have the means to be competitive in the ACC. I'm bummed tonight, but I'm also excited and anxious to see what happens the rest of this year. Stakes are high, and the obstacles are even higher, but we just might have a shot.

As always, Go Terps.

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Beat Duke!

Not much to say tonight, but here's hoping Maryland beats the snot out of Duke tomorrow. We can do it:

- Maryland is No. 1 in the ACC in FG% defense and Duke's game relies heavily on converting their oppotunities since they aren't as big and won't rebound as much.

- Maryland just beat UNC. (Can't stress it enough.)

- Maryland swept them last year.

- Maryland is just cooler than Duke.

So that's pretty much it. I'm going to Comcast Center tomorrow and I know I'm going to enjoy watching Duke lose.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rex Deserves Better

The last few days, I've tried to read everything I can about John Harbaugh, and most of it is glowing reviews about how he "grew up in the game" and "knows how to motivate his players" and this and that. I'm not sure whether I've just been saturated with the Baltimore media falling in love with his "energy," but I've started feeling more positive about the new Ravens jefe who's never actually been a head coach before. Besides, the hiring of offensive guru Cam Cameron has settled me down (although it will be interesting to see Cameron work for someone who used to be his assistant at Indiana).

On a related note, it appears the Ravens will be retaining defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who I endorsed for the head coaching position more than once on this site, but to little avail. He wasn't actually "fired" per se, only released, it would appear. This means he is free to look for head coaching positions (which have closed up), but that the Ravens can block him from making a lateral move (becoming D-coordinator somewhere else). Since Bisciotti wants Ryan back, I guess his options are limited.

In terms of opportunity, rejoining the Ravens is good for Ryan, where he has his system installed, players who love him and a GM willing to draft plenty of talent. But in terms of self-respect...

Look, I love what Ryan has done since he's been here (defenses at least in the top 6 every year) and I'm glad he's coming home. But as a guy who respects what he wants to do with his career, I wish he could go somewhere else. What does it say if a guy who has a reputation as being ready for a head coaching job is passed over by his own franchise and expected to return and help them win? Furthermore, what does it say if Ryan is asked to work for a head coach who would've been working for him last year? Not only was he passed over, he was lapped.

I think that coming back is not only a bad move for Ryan, but it could be bad for the team. If we already have problems in the lockerroom, what do you think will happen when the players see the guy they endorsed for coach working under some outsider who's only ever been a special teams coordinator? What will happen if Harbaugh and Ryan disagree - won't tensions be further spurned over the job that Ryan lost? When you decide to take an outsider in the clubhouse, you have to make sure he's the definite leader - especially with a guy as young and inexperienced as Harbaugh. Ryan now poses a threat to that balance.

I wish we could keep him and everything would be hunky dory, but that's not the truth of the matter. No matter what Ryan says, that bitterness will persist, and next year he'll jet out of here faster than you can say, "Crap on a stick."

Some things are just inevitable, and it's inevitable that Ryan will be leaving Baltimore soon, whether we like it or not.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is O.J. Mayo the next Quincy McCall?

Ok, so I was reflecting on the fact that it seems likely - whether by choice or by scandal - that O.J. Mayo isn't going to be in college basketball much longer. The news that he accepted Nuggets tickets from Melo, however harmless it may have been, is a signal that the end is near hardly halfway into his freshman season. I don't think the NCAA can ban him, but it might hasten his exit nonetheless.

Suddenly, I thought of a very similar basketball player. He was the son of an NBAer, and great things were expected from day one. He was a star point guard in high school, and was granted a scholarship to USC. After only one year and a traumatic family event, he went pro. His NBA career was flat, and he was a journeyman player and bench-warmer until he suffered a career-ending injury.

The player I'm talking about is the fictional Quincy McCall, portrayed by Omar Epps in Love & Basketball. He was a tragic figure, one full of promise who could not deliver when he rushed along his path, driven by self-confidence and hype.

Obviously, you can't say the exact same things about Mayo, I just thought it was odd how similar the two can compare at this point in their careers. I don't necessarily think Mayo will be a career backup or that he'll suffer an unfortunate injury, or even that he's leaving for the wrong reasons. But I do sense a dark cloud cast over his head.

I read a New York Times article several months ago describing how Mayo was recruited. Basically, he called USC (who thought they didn't have a chance) and told Tim Floyd that he was coming. It was said that he wanted the media exposure in California and he wanted to build his own legacy at USC.

So far, that's been mixed results. He leads the team in points and steals, and contributes decently in rebounds and assists, but I'm not quite sure he's established himself as the cornerstone of this team. Contrast that with a player like Kevin Love, across the way in UCLA, who is establishing the "Kevin Love era." Or a player like Kevin Durant, dragged his team to the Final Four. I think Mayo was expected to do incredible things, but USC has dropped out of the rankings, and Mayo isn't exactly keeping up with the Michael Beasleys and Derrick Roses of this class, and he definitely isn't making as big a splash as they are in the national eye. USC's upset of UCLA might have helped him a bit, but not a ton.

Obviously, he's still one of the greatest players in the nation, and is doing a lot; all I'm saying is expectations were astronomical, and I think even he expected he would get more attention than he has. Last year, it seemed as though he was touted as the next Durant. Notice to the media: O.J. Mayo is no Kevin Durant.

Here's my main point: I think Mayo has the greatest potential to fail dramatically in his professional career. When things start going wrong for athletes in the transition from college to the pros, there's trouble: Look at Pacman Jones, Marcus Vick or Maurice Clarett for the extreme examples of this. Even small-time scandals can cause problems, especially for a player under national scrutiny like Mayo. I think everyone should let him breathe, but if you watch his play over the next couple games and how he conducts himself when responding to the charges. You might get a glimpse of whether his future is bright or whether it's a stack of cards built up by the media and the hype machine, ready to tumble.

No matter what happens, I think everyone can agree with this: Sanaa Lathan was hot in that movie.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Good Weekend for Maryland

Hey everybody! I can tell you I'm still buzzing over the big upset on Saturday, if you couldn't already notice by the way I plastered my articles all over the Internet.

Anyway, it was a good weekend to be a Terp fan, and here are some of the highlights:

- The improbable, glorious upset of then-No. 1 UNC. ESPN is still shaking from the revelation that upsets do happen in college basketball.

- The Lady Terps pulled out a big double-overtime win over a tenacious Georgia Tech bball squad, 99-95 on Sunday. In doing so, the women exacted some revenge on the Yellow Jackets for sweeping them last year. Crystal Langhorne, INRCP's nominee for Best Terp Ever, scored a ridiculous 31 points and notched 15 rebounds. Laura Harper had 24 points and a career-high 20 boards. Maryland's "Big Four" continue to throw down. Nationally, they're starting to get the attention they deserve. However, it is troubling to see that the bench managed only 2 points in a double-overtime match. Shouldn't they be getting more time?

- On a related note, both Gist and Langhorne earned ACC player of the week honors.

- Maryland wrestling gets its second shout-out on this site, as they demolish VaTech in their latest dual, 33-8. They're currently ranked No. 21 and rising. Three wrestlers on the squad are ranked nationally in their weight classes.

There was a mixed pot of good news and bad news on the Terp recruiting front, however.

FOOTBALL: Maryland was bolstered by the verbal commitment of QB prospect Tyler Bass, but hurt by the unexpected, but not altogether unsurprising de-commit of LB recruit and local standout Zach Brown. Thus ends a chapter of craziness in Terp football recruiting - news came out long ago that Brown was a commitment, but later, there was some contention to whether he actually committed at all. He later "officially" gave a verbal, but now he's backed out to got to UNC. Well, you can't beat them in EVERY sport. If we had lost the basketball game, this news would've made me very upset.

BASKETBALL: A lot of you have been looking for stuff on Bobby Maze, the ju-co transfer who'll arrive next year. His game has been compared to Allen Iverson's (obviously not at such a high level) and he's a standout scorer. Here's an Inside the Shell excerpt about him. He's doing very well on his current team, and should be able to crack rotation next year.

Sean Mosley, since the last time we talked about him, has continued his push for All-America status. In a recent win over Towson Catholic, Mosley had game-highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds, plus he made the clinching free throws. Even in St. Frances' losses, Mosley never lets down: He scored 25 in a loss to City. Here's what the opposing coach had to say to The Baltimore Sun:

Our philosophy was there's no way in the world we can stop Sean Mosley, he's a great player, so what we have to do is ... concentrate on the other players, and I thought we did a good job of doing it.

Jin Soo Kim, despite the fact that he's not coming for another year, continues to receive a lot of interest. I'm a little worried because the game summaries aren't very detailed and Kim hasn't shown up a ton recently. But reportedly he played well against then-No. 6 Notre Dame Prep and ended up with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks (he was overshadowed by another teammate dropping 43 points). He also contributed 16 points in another win against Edison Academy. I wish I had some video of him to see what type of role he plays on his team, but all of these games are very misty.

On a side note: Recruiting Report has lately been running a feature of brief interviews to help Terp fans get to know their football prospects. It's really a good way to get a sneak peak at these guys, and I encourage everyone to follow this series.

Well, overall a good week to be a Terp! Let's see how the ladies fare against No. 3 UNC again in Chapel Hill, and how the men compete with No. 3 Dook on Friday. Good luck!

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun, Inside the Shell

Special Thanks to Recruiting Report for lots of links

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Didn't This Happen Already?

Yes, Maryland still beat UNC today, it's still true, even though half of us can't believe it. And yes, Bambale Osby, the always-cool but recently struggling bro-with-the fro, made the game-winning shot after a Herculean effort for 40 minutes by the team (Check out the game-winner above).

By the way, does this game seem a little familiar? Maybe because we beat then-No. 5 UNC last year too in a huge upset. It was a two-point game, ended with a Hansbrough choke - very similar stuff. Look for yourself:

Which game do you think the INRCP signature banner photo was taken after? I'll never forget storming the court during that upset. Today I had to settle for storming my living room. But still a great feeling!

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot about this, but as Don Markus reminded me this morning, this has happened before.

In 1986, Maryland upset No. 1 North Carolina in the newly-built Dean Dome, led by none other than the immortal Len Bias. Here is pretty much the signature play of his short but stellar career from that game:

Go Terps!

Saturday, January 19, 2008



Maryland beat No. 1 UNC this afternoon, and I'm going nuts!

Even I, the eternal optimist of Maryland basketball, couldn't make myself believe that we stood half a chance against the "mighty" Tar Heels. But this afternoon, we truly got a glimpse of Maryland's upside and North Carolina's weaknesses.

Basically, Maryland played the best basketball they're capable of playing. In the first half, they were absolutely montrous. In the second half, there were plenty of cracks: bad decisions, bad shot selection, brick rebounding hands. But the Terps ended up doing just enough to grab the lead at the very end (on a layup by Boom Osby, no less) and hold it.

There will be plenty of UNC fans who will cry "foul" over the officiating, which was actually pretty inconsistent, but there were plenty of calls in UNC's favor as well, like Hansbrough drawing 8 fouls (ABC presented a statistic showing that Hansbrough by himself has taken for free throws than all of the teams UNC has played has made this season). Plus, at the end of the game, it was theirs to lose - North Carolina got the ball back with 10 seconds left after it clearly went off Ginyard, and then with 1.7 seconds left after Vasquez hustled down a supposed "jump ball."

Yes, the Tar Heels only have themselves to blame. Especially given that they trusted Hansbrough with the last shot - from 3-point range. I hope Roy Williams didn't call that play, or he might get his Hall-of-Fame status re-evaluated.

But the important thing is that Maryland won! The game is validation, not necessarily that they're very good, but that they can play well if they try, and also that they aren't as bad as we thought they were.

However, 2-2 is still a hole in the ACC with our record. We really need to win 8 more games to have a realistic shot at the NCAA tournament, and Duke looms next week. The most critical thing Maryland can do at this juncture is to rest for a bit, then look straight ahead and try and string some wins together. A veteran team shouldn't have letdown games, and we're looking more mature as time is going on.

Great win, everyone! Go Terps!

Photo Credits: ESPN.com, BaltimoreSun.com

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is Baltimore Missing the Point?

I'm a little upset today by what I've been reading around on the Raven's head coaching job.

I'm slowly getting the feeling that the press and the people of Baltimore are losing focus and perspective on the hiring process. I'm going to present several exhibits.

EXHIBIT A: This story in The Baltimore Sun about how young assistant coaches make good hires as head coaches; and your point is? Most of the candidates for head coaching jobs are young assistant coaches, usually coordinators. So DUH. Of course sometimes young assistants make good coaches - I mean, it's not like there aren't going to be any more potential head coaches in a given year, it's a cycle. What is the point of this article? To tell us, "Hey, some of these young head coaches will be good someday!" Thanks for the reminder.

EXHIBIT B: This article by Mike Preston about how Jason Garrett "used" the Ravens to get more money in Dallas. First of all, so what? If he can squeeze Jerry Jones' pockets, congrats. Second of all, is it possible that maybe he just decided he wasn't ready? Frankly, I felt that two years as a QB coach and one year as coordinator wasn't enough to judge his track record and whether he was actually responsible for Dallas' offensive success (I think any team with T.O. and Marion Barber has a good shot at being a decent offense). Maybe Garrett realized he was over his head and that he was entering a dangerously volatile situation in Baltimore. Mike Preston gloats so much about the coaching job anyway, maybe he's forgotton this is a rogue team that just helped get their last coach fired, who've never had a long-term solution at quarterback, whose veterans are threatening to leave and whose coaches are ALL GONE. An entirely new system will have to be set up, and discipline and respect will have to be immediately installed (as if the veterans care at the twilight of their careers).

EXHIBIT C: Again, I hate to pick on the Baltimore Sun, but this isn't actually about them - it's about the people. I was looking throught the comments section of a Rick Maese story about "planning for the future" and I saw a lot of words, especially the word "thug," being thrown around on the message board. I only pick up on this because they talk about Ray Lewis and Chris McAlister mostly. I assume they aren't talking about Kelly Gregg, Mike Flynn or Todd Heap. Those "fans" might say they aren't racist, but they shouldn't act like "thug" or "thug-mentality" or "thug mafia" don't have racial connotations. I'm definitely picking up on that vibe, that people aren't sick of veterans, they're sick of the black veterans. Once they start becoming a problem, they're "thugs." Yeah, they're definitely in the same league as Pac Man Jones or Chris Henry, or Maurice Clarett for that matter. Those "thugs" are all the same. Yeah, Ray Lewis won a Super Bowl and was a two-time MVP, but now he's a "thug" because he's outspoken. (And for people that want to leave "murder jokes," realize that Ray Lewis walked with Cal Ripken and Johnny Unitas only three or four years ago in terms of Baltimore belovedness, and I'm simply saying that within Baltimore, that opinion has changed recently.)

At this point, I've resigned myself to the idea that Rex Ryan is no longer in the running, even though he could help this team win next year and, I believe, at least protect the integrity of our defense. Just watch out when he's a head coach someday. I'm tired of hearing about trendy picks for coach - I'm sure there's more people out there than Jerry Jones' crush Garrett, Schottenhiemer and Harbaugh. I heard Russ Grimm's name out there today. What about the Titan's D-coordinator Jim Schwartz? Is Pete Carroll interested?

I hear people saying that we should be patient. Well, now that we've ended all hopes of a quick solution with Ryan, let's actually take our time. I feel like too many people are thinking, "Gee, Harbaugh is the only guy left..." HE ISN'T!!! There are lots of people out there looking for head coaching jobs!!! Let's actually interview them instead of getting a Band-Aid to heal Garrett's rejection.

With any luck, we'll get a Tomlin instead of a Kiffin.

Photo Credits: CNN, Sports Illustrated

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh Bowie, You're So Fine, You're So Fine You Blow My Mind, Hey Bowie! Hey, Hey, Hey Bowie!

Yes, that was the longest post title ever, but if anyone earned it tonight, it was Terp frosh Adrian Bowie. He helped Maryland beat the Demon Deacons tonight, 71-64.

It was one of those moments where the freshman, having played a few games and not really done all that much, all of a sudden flickered on and thought, "Hey, I kinda get how this game works! Now I'm going to pwn Wake Forest."

And so it went. Bowie was like The Flash: He was everywhere, often in places you didn't expect him to be. That's how a 6'2 guard (probably a generous estimate) grabs 8 rebounds and 3 steals to go along with 10 points - not to mention while running the offense 50-60% of the time. He made me embarrassed to have underestimated his abilities a mere two weeks ago. Great effort by Bowie tonight.

Maryland won tonight with interior defense and making tough shots. Maryland, the leading shot-blocking team in the ACC, got 4 blocks each from James Gist and Boom Osby, and Wake didn't have any true shooters. Surprisingly, they shot anyway, going a ridiculously bad 5-for-30 from beyond the arc. You'd think they would start getting the pattern sooner. The Terps had a well-earned 46.2 FG%, often going up for tough shots. It was nice to see Greivis Vasquez have some nice work in the post and Landon Milbourne and Bowie wheeling and dealing to the basket.

Other observations:

- Johnson v. Gist in the battle of Jameses. I'll call it a draw. James Johnson is the type of freshman phenom with size and athletic ability that makes you say, "Gee, I wish Gist played like this all the time." But to be fair, Gist hustled a lot for some tough rebounds. Johnson edged Gist in points and the turnover battle, but fouled out while Gist had a few assists (including an alley-oop to Milbourne).

- Greivis plays big, but gives it away. Again, Gravy made it big in the stat sheet with 22 points and 6 rebounds, but he shouldn't have as many turnovers as assists (8 of each). He's forcing. I wish the crowd were behind him, however, because I here more griping about Vasquez than cheering when he scores. If you have something to say, keep it to yourself, unless it's to encourage your HOME TEAM.

- "Sorry, we only rebound defensively." Eight offensive rebounds v. 37 defensive rebounds. We're lucky we had such a good shooting night because we don't give ourselves a lot of second-chance opportunities. Boom had a great night tonight, however, grabbing 6 of those offensive boards on his way to a game-high 11 total rebounds. He also had 16 points and, in a reverse of recent trends, didn't give any balls away. Great hustle tonight, Boom.

In all, you have to say it's a good ACC win against a middle-of-the-pack Wake Forest team. If we can beat more teams like this (which we should've already started against VaTech), we can at least avoid a losing ACC record. But on Saturday, we face the No. 1 team in the country - at home. Oh boy.

I'll go out on a limb and predict Tar Heels take revenge for last year's upset. But don't count this team out - they still have the power to surprise us, and if Eric Hayes is healthy, get ready for a game.

Good win and Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Terps Break the Curse

Maryland finally beat Duke at home tonight, a rousing game between rivals since the 06' title match that was close until the closing minutes. The final score was 85-70. If you didn't see it, take a watch.

I think that some people might remember that Maryland hasn't won a home game against Duke in a long time, but you might be surprised to learn that it's been a full decade since the Lady Terps won one in front of their own fans. That's before Comcast was even built!

Don't be fooled by the score; it was an extremely tight game that I hope a few of you watched on ESPN2 (at the very least). Definitely one of the more spirited games I've attended, as well. The crowd of 15,531 was armed with glowsticks and standing up and screaming an awful lot. Even though the game didn't sell out, Brenda Frese should have been pleased with the turnout. I was surprised as well by the number of elementary-aged young ladies that seemed to pack the stands - in some sections, it looked more like a Girl Scout Convention than a basketball game. I toned down my profanity a bit.

In terms of gameplay, it was everything it was billed to be. I thought Maryland was going to run away with it, and at first they did, outscoring the Blue Devils 17-4 in the opening minutes. But Duke's tough defense really kept them in the game. They held Crystal Langhorne, the woman I proclaimed to be the greatest Terp ever (and I still think it's worth arguing), to a relatively quiet night of 16 points and 7 boards (8 points were off of free throws). Props to Chante Black, who covered No. 1 for most of the night. It was obvious, as Maryland's lead fluctuated and even disappeared temporarily, that good interior defense can beat the Terps (think back to Rutgers). Very physical, as well, with 28 personal fouls on Duke and 19 on Maryland. Lots of frustration and emotion on both sides.

But the difference-maker was Marissa Coleman. Duke had absolutely no answer for her, and she went off - 30 pts, 6 rbs, 3 blocks and 4 steals. 4-for-5 from three-point range. Only one turnover. She alone compensated for the foul trouble on Laura Harper and stretches when Kristi Toliver and Langhorne were stifled by the Duke defenders. Next year, when she's out of Langhorne's shadow, she'll be mentioned in the same breath as Candice Parker when women's bball analysts (like Bill Cowher) are talking about the most versatile players in the country. In my mind, she's in that class.

Candace Parker: 20.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.4 apg, 40.0% 3FG

Marissa Coleman: 15.4 ppg, 8.1 rbg, 3.1 apg, 39.7% 3FG (Before Duke game stats)

Now let's remember that Coleman plays for a team with 3 other scorers who average over 14ppg, while Parker is the unquestioned leader and scores almost 10 ppg more than her other teamates because she has to. Parker has a clear advantage in the post (33 blocks) but Coleman is usually asked to defend the perimeter anyway - next season she'll probably play the post more often. Next year, whether or not Toliver or Coleman is the alpha dog, I think you will see many of Coleman's stats go up. Then she and Parker probably won't look so different after all.

Good win for the ladies. A statement has been made. Maybe Abby Waner would like to write about it in her ESPN diary. Serves you right, Dookie.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Playoffs? You Wanna Talk About Playoffs?"

I feel a little like Jim Mora today after hearing about Maryland's 67-66 loss to VaTech on the road.

It hurts so much.

Yes, it's not unexpected - after all, we suffered losses to American and Ohio, plus the Terps were again without starting guard Eric Hayes and his 35 mpg are really hard to replace. Especially when your other point guard has a bad game.

First to blame is me: I jinxed the outcome by not watching the game or listening to it (that's always my first thought when this happens). But I think more people will be pointing fingers at embattled Terp guard Greivis Vasquez, who pulled out a clunker of a game, missing his first 11 shots, going 2-of-14 total and missing the potential game-winner. He also had twice as many turnovers (6) as assists (3, if you're not good at math). On a happy note, he did make 6 out of 6 free throws.

Looking at the box score, I can see some of the problems I've been talking about for weeks manifested themselves and cost us this nail-biter: we were outrebounded and only shot 2-for-12 in threes. James Gist should never provide half the long-distance scoring load. And our front court has been dramatically inconsistent this year. But no matter, these problems are hard to solve at this point in the season.

So let's address one thing first - yes, we need Eric Hayes. He hasn't been the deep threat we all expected, but he is a good game manager and he slows things down when he runs point. When we only have one of our point guards, we'll be hurt. But don't take this as a sign that Greivis should be benched - he's been doing very well lately, and everyone has bad games, especially when you're asked to do so much and play so many minutes. We just need balance, we need Hayes and Vasquez to both play and complement each other on the court; that' s when we have the best results.

Now, about the NCAA tournament:

- We're only 10-7
- We're the only ACC team with triple digit RPI
- We'll need to go (at the very least) 10-6 in conference play
- We're going to need to beat North Carolina and/or Duke
- We're already in a 0-2 hole in the ACC

That doesn't sound good, does it? I love to be optimistic about this team, especially given their miraculous run last year when everyone went to sleep on them and they reeled off 7 wins in a row, including over North Carolina. But this just is not the same team. I might start looking for some extra tickets at the end of the season for the NIT qualifiers.

There is a lot we can still take from this season. Obviously, it's most important that we not give up - we can win big games, we have the talent. If Gist and Vasquez blow up on the same night, we can beat most teams the way we torched Holy Cross. Gary Williams is not the type of guy who mails it in, anyway. Also, I think James Gist will want to end his senior year with some pride (not to mention make a late NBA Draft push).

Also, we have to be concerned with how the youth develops and make sure they get playing time. Right now, there's a lot of inconsistencies with minutes, and guys like Shane Walker, Dino Gregory, Braxton Dupree and Jerome Burney don't know how much they'll be playing or if they'll be playing on a given night. Let's just acknowledge that this is a rebuilding/growing year. In two years, this will be a team of juniors and seniors, plus Sean Mosley and Gus Gilchrist who come highly touted. Next year we will be competitive and the year after that we will be competitive for sure. So this year is a time to battle through adversity and set a standard for the young guys and encoruage them never to quit.

This is why it's important that the fans support the team more than ever. Lately, Maryland fans have been resting on their laurels, scanning and leaving or just not trying to show up. Comcast Center isn't nearly as loud as it should be, and I think a lot of it has to do with fair-weather fans that don't want to bother. I think the Terps have a great chance to perform in the future, but they need support. And if you want to complain about Gary or Vasquez or how whoever is ruining the program, why don't you just shut it and get in the seats so you can actually see what's happening? Fans stay for the dark times so they can say they believed all along when the good times roll. I mean, Boston fans really annoy me, but I understand that most of them waited their whole lives believing that someday they would see the Red Sox win the World Series. That's admirable.

So stop complaining, stop the chatter on the forums and message board that this is such a bad team, stop whispering about firing Gary (it won't happen) and just go to the game. This is your team, isn't it? So cheer for them. There's a brighter future ahead ... because we know it won't get worse.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Best Terp Ever?

The other night in an 88-61 victory over Boston College, Crystal Langhorne, a senior and team leader, eclipsed the all-time rebounding mark for men and women, besting Len Elmore's career mark of 1,053. She is the only woman and and the only player besides Elmore to eclipse the 1,000 mark. She also is a mere 20 points away from surpassing Vicky Bullett's scoring record of 1,928 points. She is also in the conceivable range of Juan Dixon's scoring record of 2,269, although she probably won't get it at her current rate of 14.1 ppg (just shy even if you include postseason games.)

If you consider that soon Langhorne will be the all-time scorer, rebounder, FG% leader and have at least one ring on her finger, you have to consider if she's the greatest Maryland basketball player ever. Yes, including not only Bullett, but Bias, Blake, Booth, Dixon, Elmore, Rhodes, Smith and Williams.

Blasphemy? Is it really? Is it really such a bad thing to say a girl might be the best ever? Yes, women's basketball may not be as competitive as men's, but is that really a decent excuse? Langhorne has been dominant in one of the toughest conferences for women, facing at least two powerhouses a year in-conference (Duke and UNC). She is a two-time AP All-American heading for a third berth and widely considered one of the best - if not the best - post players in the nation. He unreal 70.7 FG% last year turned many heads and was a conference record (Yes, a whole season).

And you can argue for other (male) players, too. Bias was the most unbelievable natural athlete that ever stepped foot on the campus. Elmore was the most dominant rebounder ever in school history, with an incredible 12.1 record for his career - if he had played as many games as Langhorne, he'd still have the record. Sure. Dixon is one of the most beloved Terps besides being just a scorer, and he also brought back what no other Maryland legend could before him - a national championship.

But Crystal should be one of the most beloved Terps ever, as should this entire team. For over three years now, they've been playing incredible basketball with a dominance never before seen in this program, and they do so with an infectious spirit and passion. I mean, Langhorne won a championship as a sophomore, and in case you haven't noticed, the Lady Terps are back in position to win another.

You might argue that she isn't the best player on the team, as Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman seem to be pushing for that label. You might argue that the championship team and the current team are chock full of talent. Fine. But no one has been as dominant as long as Langhorne, who averaged 17.2 ppg and 10.6 rpg as a rookie starter for every contest. Her averages in these areas continue to slip because she doesn't have to do that much to win anymore, but I guarantee you that her leadership anchors the squad, and after she graduates, there will be a gaping hole in the frontcourt that not even prized recruit Drey Mingo will be able to fill completely.

Langhorne will be remembered as a woman who was among the best players in the country during her collegiate career, the best player on the 2006 national championship team (because she was that year) and a leader for her teammates, someone that always inspired with her passion and hustle in games. I propose that we at least consider adding one more label: "Best Terp Ever." Man or woman - it doesn't matter.

Related News: Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, the point guard transfer from Tennessee that played a reserve role last year, is out for the season. She hadn't seen any game action after undergoing surgery on her knee this past summer. She will have one more year of elegibility after this season.

Also, I took a few days off, and I think from now on I might be doing entries once every two or three days. Honestly, I'm suffering chronic pain in my hands and wrists and I think it might be related to my heavy use of computers for my job and for running this site. I'll probably see my doctor soon and I hope to be able to post as often as I want, but health first, right? Plus I need to save my hands for raquetball (I'm a raquetball fiend).

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Capital News Service, Baltimore Sun

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Baltimore's Crying Shame - What the Orioles Used To Be

I read something today posted by East Coast Bias, guys who I like to think of as my kindred spirits in the sportsblogosphere (can that possibly be a word?). The headline is what made me read it: "The Orioles Moving from Baltimore." When I passed through my knee-jerk reaction stage and realized it was just a playful story, I really thought about how I felt when I heard that.

Look, anyone who knows me knows that baseball hasn't really flagged my interest in recent years. I think the sport is slow-paced and kind of boring as it is, and it doesn't help that my favorite childhood franchise, the Baltimore Orioles are lost as a team and a franchise. We have no "rebuilding" years - all of them are crummy and we aren't getting better, only further mired in Baseball Franchise Hell.

I'm sure baseball fans are very familiar with the Orioles and their place as American League bottom-feeders. Some of you may be familiar with what Peter Angelos, one of the ugliest men in the world, has done to it. But the ECB story made me think of something that happened a few months ago that I can't really get out of my mind.

I was channel flipping in my room one night when I came across something very strange. It was clearly old footage, and I saw a bunch of old guys in O's uniforms trotting out onto the diamond. The film was a little grainy and the announcers were talking about people I didn't know about, like "Oh, and of course Dusty Dingwallop, who fans will never forget. And here's Monroe Mugglesnot who was on the World Series team! A classic fan favorite!" The whole time between watching old people struggling to get on the field and the announcers talking about every single one of them like they were all related, I was wondering what the heck the event was.

And then, someone said, "Yes, the Orioles sure leave a lot behind in this ballpark." I realized that this was the Orioles' final game at Memorial Stadium, Oct. 6, 1991. Fans had packed the stands to say goodbye to the stadium and pay tribute to their heroes. I watched Orioles legends Eddie Murray, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and both of the Cal Ripkens jog onto the turf among other players who were legends, but whose names are lost on my generation. Once everyone was on the field, the players formed a giant ring and it seemed as if they might have been praying silently in honor of their old ballpark, the place where they had fought so many battles, the place where they had become a proud franchise. And after that, one of the old fan favorites, perhaps old Dusty Dingwallop himself, led the entire stadium in a cheer, "O-R-I-O-L-E-S, ORIOLES!!!"

I almost cried.

I'm not old enough to remember that day, but I'm old enough to remember how much I used to love the Orioles. When I was in elementary school, baseball was the only sport I was interested in, and the Orioles and Cal Ripken Jr. were my only heroes. I watched 2131. I watched when that little punk Jeffrey Maier caught that ball and the ump was the only person in the stadium who thought it was a home run. The next day I remember how all anyone was talking about was how we heard the Yanks took him out for steak the next day. I remember when Roberto Alomar spit in an ump's face and got himself ejected. Those were the good days - all anyone could talk about was the Orioles.

To show you what I mean about this spirit, this wonderful passion Baltimore had, watch this:

Look how lovable the players are in this commercial:

Other evidence lies in how O's fans still feel about Cal.

This is the kind of thing I'm talking about, the kind of thing that made Baltimore a great baseball town. People cared, people were proud to cheer for the O's, especially when the Washington Senators collapsed. The fan base stretched well into Virginia, just because there was no competition.

Now being an Orioles fan is shameful. I'm actually slow to admit it. Sometimes I try to reason it out by saying to myself, "Well, I loved the Orioles before an evil man took control and ran our team to the ground." But there is no Orioles version I and Orioles version II, just one team that has been ruined by a frugal owner who sold away our youth for flashes in the pan and settled on our team being non-competitive as long as they were profitable. That's why we haven't been to the postseason in a decade. That's why the stadium is only full when we play the Yanks or the Sox - because only their fans come to watch. I hate watching glory die. It's pitiful.

As for Memorial Stadium, here's what happened to it:

And here's the final result:

An ignominious ending for a place full of memories and pride. Truly ironic, given the franchise's similar demise.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hurricane Gist hits Maryland

I just want to shout, "FINALLY!"

For those who couldn't watch, Maryland torched Holy Cross tonight, 73-48. Holy Cross had one of the worst shooting nights I've ever heard of, hitting only 15.4% from the field in the first half and ending up with a 27.1%FG. Yuck.

Besides the bright yellow jerseys Maryland wore, the craziest thing I witnessed was James Gist finally taking his game where it should be - the next level.

Gist was not just a presence, he was the presence on the court in the post. He led all scorers with 22 points. He led all rebounders with 9 boards. He led the defense in the post with 5 blocks. He helped hold Holy Cross out of the basket during a 20-0 run over 10 minutes. Holy Cross' best player, Tim Clifford, a 6'11 Frankenstein-lookalike, went 1-8 in the first stretch when being played mostly by Gist.

This is what I've been waiting for all season. We always knew he was capable, but maybe Gist just needed a little push to become the team leader. This is the second game in a row he's led the team in scoring and I think it's a big step. As much as I love Greivis Vasquez, we need the big guy to lead this team into battle and to crush his opponent's spirits with sick dunks or quick, spot-on jumpers (he was on fire with those today). Again, we can always improve on the boards, but he didn't get much help in that category, so I can't really complain. He was fantastic and it was clear who was lifting this team tonight.

Other notes:

- Even though it seems Gist has turned a corner, I'm nervous. The other bigs put up a pretty shoddy performance tonight. Gist: 22 pts, 9 rbs, 5 blks. Osby, Dupree, Walker: 4 pts, 9 rbs, 2 blks. They seem to have regressed, dropping passes that should be caught, not getting the rebounds they need to, and getting blocked a ton. Someone needs to step up from this group and become at least reliable.

- I think Landon Milbourne reads the newspaper. An article appeared in the Sun this morning that called out Milbourne to step up his game. When you think about it, this seems pretty unnecessary because he's just a first-year starter and a sophomore and if you're going to call him out, you might as well call out almost everyone on the team. But he responded with one of his best performance of the season - 12 pts, 3 rbs and 4 blks. He hit 10 free throws, very clutch down the stretch. If he starts hitting more open shots, he'll be a very good starter.

- Greivis is going absolutely nuts from beyond the arc and quietly established himself as the team's deep threat. Eric Hayes was out tonight with an ankle sprain, and my immediate reaction was, "Wait, who's gonna shoot?" Vasquez responded with a 5-for-6 night for 3-pointers. Really people, you should take notice: In the last five games, he's 18-for-30 in threes (a red-hot 60%).

- Good games from freshmen Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie. They both were fairly composed. Some times it appeared that they tried to make a few bad passes, and Tucker should've made at least one of his wide-open 3-point attempts, but they ended up playing well - Tucker managed 10 pts, 4 rbs and 4 steals. Bowie ran point from time to time in relief of Hayes and did alright. He actually has nice slashing ability.

- Jason McAlpin played some minutes and showed he can be a decent backup, especially if Hayes is out much longer. (He could be OK by Saturday, but he'll get a medical evaluation soon to see).

So we face another test against a pretty crap-of-the-ACC-crop on Saturday against Virginia Tech (9-6). I really shouldn't call them that since we're technically relegated to that category until further notice. Also, they're probably pissed at us over Augustus Gilchrist still, so I wouldn't take them lightly.

Look later this week for more basketball features, including a look at the team heading into the rest of the ACC slate - what we have and what we need.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Monday, January 7, 2008

Good Offensive Head Coach Doesn't Mean Good Offense

I've said it plenty of times now, and it's not that I'm getting impatient, I'm just getting nervous.

Rex Ryan should be head coach of the Baltimore Ravens.

Now, out of love for my team, I did some research and you might be surprised at what I found. All of this is simple information displayed in a way that shows an interesting trend: offensive coaching hires have little or no bearing on offensive performance.

I was reading an article the other day on how offensive-minded coaching hires tend to turn out. Results are not good. Let's just put a couple hires out there: Cam Cameron, Bobby Petrino, Steve Spurrier, Norv Turner, Steve Marriucci in Detroit, and Brian Billick himself.

The only decent head coaches in the league right now that I can think of that had offensive backgrounds are Mike Holmgren, Joe Gibbs, Andy Reid and Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan. Interestingly enough, all of those guys are tenured and all of them except Gibbs falls under the Bill Walsh coaching tree. That doesn't seem to be a coincidence.

Let's delve further - The Top 10 offenses in the NFL this season vs. their head coach's background:

10) Bengals: Marvin Lewis, D-coordinator for the Ravens
9) Seahawks: Mike Holgren, O-coordinator for the 49ers
8) Browns: Romeo Crennell, D-coordinator for the Patriots
7) Jaguars: Jack Del Rio, D-coordinator for the Panthers
6) Eagles: Andy Reid, O-assistant/QB coach for the Packers
5) Colts: Tony Dungy, D-coordinator for the Vikings
4) Saints: Sean Payton, O-coordinator for the Cowboys
3) Cowboys: Wade Phillips, D-coordinator for the Chargers
2) Packers: Mike McCarthy, O-coordinator for the 49ers
1) Patriots: Bill Belichick, D-coordinator for the Jets

There are actually more defensive coaches (6) than offensive ones (4) on the OFFENSE LIST!

Plus, if you look at the bottom half of that same list, you should count 8 coaches (Gruden, Turner, Billick, Petrino, Linehan, Kiffin, Cameron, Jauron) with offensive backgrounds. What are these guys really contributing if their offenses aren't any good?

Alright, maybe that last statement was a little harsh, but what I'm trying to say is that hiring an offensive-minded head coach has little to no bearing on how that offense performs under his tenure. Brian Billick led an offense in Minnesota that set a record for scoring the year before he got hired. His offense finished in the top half exactly once.

Hiring guys like Jason Garrett, Rob Chudzinski, Jim Caldwell, Brain Schottenheimer or Josh McDaniels would be fresh and might get people excited, but first of all, none of those guys have a lot of experience. The only other thing that they bring to the table is offense, and that doesn't always pan out, does it?

The players want Rex Ryan. Maybe "discipline" is not so much the answer as bringing in a figure to respect. We know the players respect Rex Ryan and what he's done for the defense - and proving your worth is important to the clubhouse vets. He doesn't need to do anything more to prove himself to this team.

All I'm saying is that the Ravens are and will be a defensive team. We might as well get a defensive coach, like the Steelers did last year, or the Bears did with Lovie Smith, or the Titans did with Jeff Fisher, or the Jags did with Jack Del Rio. Defensive teams can do well with defensive head coaches.

Just step up and make the guy head coach already. Then step up and hire a big-time offensive coordinator to really get the offense rolling. You can do it, Bisciotti. I know you can.

Don't Peak Yet

Maryland women continued their dominance today, stomping Clemson 110-46.

Yes, you read that correctly. It was a hearty stomping - good for second best in team history. Brenda Frese called the game "thoroughly entertaining." What did the Clemson coach think?

I just would've liked to have competed a little better. They probably get more work done in practice than they probably did today against us because I just didn't feel like we competed like we wanted to.

Yes, I think it would've been reasonable to expect that your team would lose by less than 64 points.

The Lady Terps are on fire. This win follows an 83-49 victory over a competitive Wake Forest team. I'm not sure what to say - teams don't get beat this badly.

However, we aren't the only badass team on the block. UConn has beaten every team they've played this season by double digits. In fact, the only team that got within 25 points of them was then-No. 4 Stanford, who's already knocked off Tennessee. Speaking of Tennessee, th
ey aren't as good as UConn, but they certainly not bad, with huge wins over good DePaul and Notre Dame squads recently.

All I hope is that the Lady Terps are playing with an eye to the postseason. I'm almost sure that they'll be able to pick up a high seed, most likely a No. 1 spot. So don't wear out the tires right now. Save some of that emotion for March, when it matters and when Frese will be off the court and in the delivery room.

We need that fire. Bring it against Duke. Bring it against UNC. Bring it in the ACC tournament. But save some madness for March. We don't need to peak in January.

It should be noted that this is my only negative observation of this team. That makes them pretty damn good. And for what it's worth, I definitely think they'll win a title this year.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Three Games is a Winning Streak

So Maryland men won again yesterday, taking out the Charlotte 49ers in a close game that wasn't so close most of the time, 76-72.

One important thing: It was a road game. It's the first game Maryland has won on the road or in a neutral site. And Charlotte is not terrible, either - they've beaten Davidson, Southern Illinois (NCAA tournament teams last year) and Wake Forest (an opponent we're eyeing next week). We would've had them beaten by a lot, but I understand we had a sloppy second half. I know Gary is probably upset, because good teams have complete wins - they don't let up with a big lead.

I wasn't there, I can only look at the box score. Some quick hits:

- James Gist finally came out of hiding with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Greivis was behind him with 24 points and 5 assists.

- We got outrebounded and lost the turnover battle again. This cannot keep happening. Boom had 5 turnovers and 5 rebounds. I'm willing to give him a mulligan, but he's gotta hold onto that ball.

- Apparently we either played defense or Charlotte's leading scorer Leemire Goldwire had the worst off-day ever, going 3-for-17 on the day. The Baltimore Sun said Greivis provided most of the defense on Goldwire.

- We went 6-of-16 from 3-point range. Not too bad ... until you consider James Gist made two of those. That won't happen every game. Recently only Vasquez has been a consistent deep shooter and Hayes has been the only other guy who can make them. No one else seems to be contributing in this area.

Well, we've heard all of that before. Now Maryland sets itself to play Holy Cross at home on Tuesday. This will be a test. Plus, I'm bringing my family to watch the game - let's see if the Terps can handle the added pressure.

Go Terps! Win one for my mom!

Photo Credit: AP

Saturday, January 5, 2008

HUGE Terp Round-Up

Oh the things that are going on right now! It is a wonderful time to love sports at the University of Maryland! Being a Terp is not all about men's basketball. Let's look at what I mean ...


The girls have quietly assembled one of the best seasons this year. They are the only team in the country so far with 16 wins, and they are showing that their record means something. They beat Wake Forest last night, 83-49, and led by 34 at the half. Wake Forest was previously 12-2. That's serious business.

Maryland is ranked No. 5 in the country, but they're about to be No. 4 at least after a Standford loss to UCLA. Their ranking also reflects their statistics in the entire country:

- No. 8 in scoring
- No. 9 in scoring margin
- No. 2 in field goal percentage
- No. 7 in rebound margin
- No. 1 in three-point FG percentage (a spicy 45.3%)

Kristi Toliver is one of the best players on the team (now that I think about it, the whole starting five is dominant) and has really kicked up her game. She is No. 3 nationally in assists, has better than a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnrover ratio, and is jacking up threes at over 47% accuracy, so I guess I should use a more graceful verb than "jacking."

This is a team of she-beasts (metaphorically and spiritually more than physically) that is looking to romp teams, not just beat 'em. If we tighten up defense, we have a good shot at the title. Beware, UConn, Tennessee and Rutgers will all be waiting for us in the NCAAs, and division foe UNC lurks in March as well.

Plus they work in the community and their coach is having twins! What's not to like about this team?


Yes, I'm surprised they are making an appearance as well.

People who pay attention to wrestling noticed the program was coming around after the hire of much-ballyhoed Pat Santoro. Last season, the squad went undefeated in ACC play and set a school record for wins at 17-5. Now they're ranked No. 22 in the country and have two wrestlers in the top-10 of their weight classes.

The Terps currently sit at 7-3, with all their losses at the hands of ranked teams, with two now sitting in the top five. Out of their remaining matches, only one more team is ranked (No. 21 Navy) and the ACC championships are at College Park - sounds like another good season in the works.

Watch out for Mike Letts (174), Hudson Taylor(197) and Josh Haines(184) who are all ranked in their weight classes. They're young, too: two sophomores and a junior, respectively. Maryland is a wrestling power in the making. They compete in the same building as basketball. That should make it easy for you to remember.


Terp recruits are doin' it up big this season in bball.

As Recruiting Report reports, Sean Mosley is having an excellent senior year at St. Francis, most recently dropping 34 points in a 70-54 beating of John Carroll. For those of you who aren't very good at math, that's almost half the team's points.

High school statistics are spotty, but two games ago, it was reported that he averaged 25.3 points per game, and with added totals of 30 and 34 since then, that puts Sugar Sean a little over 26 ppg with an extra 8 boards per game. Nasty. For reference, Cliff Tucker averaged 21.4 ppg his senior year and Adrian Bowie had 14.6 ppg. Former Terp Mike Jones averaged 24.6 ppg his senior year, and he was a Parade All-American. And Mosley is not just a potent scorer - he's earned a reputation as a hustler and a perfectionist. He's got a lot of promise and I don't think he'll be as disappointing as Jones was (in terms of potential).

Also, I've noticed that more than a few people out there have been looking for info on Terp 2009 prospect Jin Soo Kim, the Korean American coming to Maryland. Let me tell you, it isn't easy to find stuff about him. There doesn't appear to be a Connecticut newspaper that covers the games and no recruiting site has game-by-game stats.

After a good half-hour of searching, I finally examined South Kent's athletic page more carefully and they have summaries of most of their games with the leading scorers and contributers. All you do is click on the schedule sidebar for each game's summary. The good news is Jin Soo Kim is on most of them. His point totals in the last couple games: 24 against Bridgton, 11 against Patterson, 8 against Thomas More, 25 against Findley, 16 against Vanier. Inconsistent, yes, but he plays on an all-star team, so numbers will vary if you aren't the No. 1 guy. Also, in the Findley summary, the site says, "Jin Soo played an all-around great game, playing very good defense and rebounding the ball as well."

Also, in case you haven't heard, watch the U.S. Army All-American Game at 12 noon on NBC to get a glimpse of wide receiver and UMD target Kenny Tate. Matt Bracken talked about him in his feature on our site and there was some good chatter about him in practice sessions for the game.

See, there's always reasons to be optimistic about being a Terp. Sometimes you just have to look really, really, really hard.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun, UMTerps.com