Archive for the ‘Terrapins’ Category

Gary-Williams_fist

Maryland’s basketball season starts tonight with “Maryland Madness” at Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland.¬†¬† Coach Gary Williams is entering his 21st season as Head Coach of the Terps with expectations of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.¬† The team is returning 4 of is 5 starters, and 8 of its top 9 scorers, Dave Neal being the lone senior to graduate from last season‚Äôs squad.

Coach Williams has faced his fair share of criticism as the team made only its second tournament appearance in five years, after the team had made the tournament 11 straight years from 1994-2004.¬†¬† When the team settled for the NIT 3 out of the past 5 years, Williams’ future with the¬†University was put¬†under pressure from both boosters and fans.¬† However, Coach Williams was awarded a 1 year extension on his contract this off season after a strong 2008-09.¬† The team finished last season with a 18-12 record, going 7-9 in ACC play, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament, only to fall to the Memphis Tigers.

The¬†team¬†hopes¬†to replace Neal’s presence in the front court with¬†two four-star-recruits this season.¬† The team welcomes Jordan Williams, a 6-10 Forward from Torrington Connecticut,¬†and James Padgett a 6-8 freshman from Brooklyn New York.¬† Williams reminds me a lot like former Terps big man Lonnie Baxter, both being wide bodied centers weighing over 250 pounds.¬† In 2002 when the Terps won their lone National Championship, the team was lined with plenty of guards and a solid front court presence lead by Baxter and high-flying-power forward Chris Wilcox.¬† I see a lot of similarities in¬†the 2002 with the current 2009 roster,¬† I just hope¬†either¬†Padgett or current starting power forward Landon Milbourne can replicate Wilcox’s playing style and maybe return us to the final four.¬† It will be interesting to see how quickly the young freshman can make an impact¬†after the departure of Neal and Sophomore Braxton Dupree, as he transferred to Towson during the offseason.

The Terps are returning a strong backcourt, lead by senior point guard Greivis Vasquez, who averaged 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game last season.  Vasquez flirted with the idea of entering the NBA draft last season, but withdrew at the last minute sighting unfinished business back at Maryland.  I look forward to seeing senior guard Eric Hayes to improve is outside shooting this season, he lead the way for the Terps in the tournament last season shooting 50% from the floor.  The added size in the front court will hopefully free him up to hit the big shots from behind the arch.  Sean Mosley will look to improve off of his impressive freshman season.  The 6’4 Mosley was by far the hardest working defending on the team last year, collecting 31 steals and 11 blocks, despite averaging less than 20 minutes a game.

With a majority of the ACC’s top performers heading to the NBA last season, I feel as though the Terps could compete for the third spot in the ACC, behind the always talented North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils.

Torrey Smith

Despite Maryland‚Äôs loss against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this past Saturday, there was one lone bright spot in the game.¬† Earlier today Terps’ wide receiver and return specialist Torrey Smith was voted the Atlantic Coast Conference Specialist of the Week as he ran for a career high 194 yards on six returns.¬† The sophomore entered Saturday tied for 16th all-time in league history with 1,732 career kickoff return yards. Smith’s first return against Wake Forest went for 85 yards, the¬†second-longest of his career, and he averaged 32.3 yards per return on those 6 attempts. ¬† He currently has 837 return yards on the season and is threatening to break the ACC record he set last season with 1,089 total return yards.

Smith caught a career-high 10 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown in the 42-32 loss against the Deacons and collected 267 all-purpose yards.   After reporting last week that Smith was ranked 2nd in the nation in all purpose yards, he has now moved himself into first place overall in that category averaging 236.7 yards per game.  The Terps next opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers, come in with the 3rd best passing defense in the ACC, only giving up 162.3 yards per game, so look for Torrey Smith to gain the majority of his yards on kick returns.  But between you and me, I don’t want to see the Cavaliers kicking off more then once to start the 2nd half if you know what I mean.

APTOPIX Buccaneers Redskins Football

Is it just me or did anyone else notice how eerily similar the Clemson-Maryland game was with the Buccaneers-Redskins game this weekend?¬† Just in case you missed either game I’ll let you in on what exactly happened.

The Redskins were coming off a disappointing loss to the woeful Lions, who hadn’t won a game in over 21 months.¬† While the Terps were coming off a two game losing streak against Middle Tennessee State and Rutgers.¬† Both teams were desperate for a win and for them, this weekend couldn’t have ended in a stranger way.

To start things off, the Redskins fell behind 10-0 to the Bucs as second year quarterback Josh Johnson was making his first career start. After a Jason Campbell fumble, Johnson would connect with wide out Antonio Bryant on an 8 yard touchdown strike and place kicker Mike Nugent followed that up with a late field goal to end the half.  As for the Terps, they would also fall behind 10-0 early on in the game after a Jacoby Ford rushing touchdown  and a Richard Jackson field goal. In the first quarters, the Terps and Redskins would both struggle to get their offenses going as the Terps were held to 28 yards of total offense, and the Redskins were only able to amass 25 total yards in their first quarter.

Both teams would end the shut out on field goals by Shaun Suisham for the Skins and Nick Ferrara for the Terps, both connecting on kicks longer than 40 yards.¬† Another strangely unique twist in the game happened when both teams’ punters were injured, and both Suisham and Ferrara were forced into the punting game. ¬† Redskins punter Hunter Smith was injured during the game, where as Terps punter Ted Townsley was injured the week before against Rutgers. Ferrara finished the day with eight punts, averaging 43.2 yards per punt while Suisham didn’t fare as well on the day, with only 3 punts and a 26.7 yard average.

The kicking game was an intricate part for both teams, as the Buccaneers and Tigers had chances to steal the win, but missed on field goal attempts of 47 and 48 yards.¬† Yes that is right, both Nugent and Jackson missed a pair of field goals from the exact same distances.¬† Who could have guessed that both team’s kicking problems would provide the Terps and Redskins the chance to hang in there and pick up the win.

Terps quarterback Chris Turner finished the day 19 of 25 with 215 yards and 2 touchdowns whereas Jason Campbell finished his day 12 of 22 with 170 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.¬† Both quarterbacks were sacked three times each.¬† Even though Chris Turner didn’t turn the ball over for the first time in three weeks, Campbell made up for it by throwing three interceptions.¬† Both quarterbacks have each thrown 5 interceptions in four games so far this season.

Both teams put up strong defensive performances as Maryland held the Tigers to 274 total yards of offense and Washington held the Bucs to 229 total yards.  The two teams were able to force interceptions against the young opposing quarterbacks as Clemson QB Kyle Parker was picked off to end the half by defensive back Jamari McCollough, while Johnson was intercepted by DeAngelo Hall in the third quarter.

Not only did each team end up winning by a mere three points, but both games finished in similar fashion.¬† With the lead in hand, both teams attempted to run out the clock with less than 5 minutes to go.¬† However, they were unsuccessful and forced to punt, giving both the Bucs and Tigers a chance to take the lead, or at least tie things up with under 2 minutes left in regulation.¬† Both teams’ defenses stepped up to the challenge and were able to lock up the win.

On a 3rd and 6 play with 0:31 seconds left, the Tigers had the ball on the Maryland 29 yard line.  Freshman quarterback Kyle Wilson was sacked by Terps linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, causing a fumble, which he was able to recover, ending the game 24-21.  With 0:49 left in the game, Tampa Bay running back Clifton Smith was stripped of the ball on a rushing play by rookie defensive end Jeremy Jarmon and was recovered by second year safety Chris Horton, ending the game for the Redskins as they held on to win 16-13.

Clemson Maryland Football

With Chris Turner entering his senior season as the Maryland Terrapins full time starter, I had high hopes and expectations of competing for the ACC title. But after four miserable weeks of watching the Terps get blown out by Cal, struggle to beat JMU in overtime, get upset at home for the second straight year against Middle Tennessee St, and watch our offense put up more points for Rutgers than we managed to score ourselves, I do not know what to think!

The Terps open up ACC play tomorrow as they host the 2-2 Clemson Tigers. I’m still confident in the young Terrapin team, but they are killing themselves with turnovers. Through four games, Maryland has managed to turn the ball over a total of 13 times. The team is literally shooting themselves in the foot, Chris Turner has already amassed a total of 952 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air, ranking 5th in the ACC. Underrated wide out Torrey Smith is quietly making his way up the Terrapins all time receiving yards list with 386 already this season. Smith is also second the league in all purpose yards with his outstanding performances in the return game, averaging 244.8 yards a game.

Believe it or not, the Terripans defense was the lone bright spot in last weeks 34-13 loss to Rutgers. The defense held the Scarlet Knights to 249 total yards and only 42 passing yards, the teams best performance since last season when they gave up 218 total yards to Wake Forest. It will be tough to keep All American running back C.J. Spiller from running all over the Terps defense, but I think the team will come out focused and start confrence play with an upset win over Clemson.