Writing about football in June is like starting the Christmas shopping season on November 1…but until people buy more Thanksgiving crap, you leave the poor retailers little choice. After all, what would you have the Hallmark store do? If you don’t want to see Xmas ornaments in the summer, buy more Kewpie snow globes and Administrative Professionals Day centerpieces. Or else, stare down the maw of a world lacking these products. It would be just like that video game.
The same goes for sports media. There are no offseasons. The beast must be fed. The machine must be oiled and luby at all times. That’s why I’m doing a story about a punter right now. Punters are the Santa Clause mouse pad of the Shell Games offseason. Well, that, and the fact that the Maryland football team stinks.
Yeah, that’s right. Wrapped up in the offseason analysis and optimism, like a ball of dog crap inside a warm fluffy layer of mashed potatoes, is the simple reality that the team is likely headed for more mediocrity. At best. The Terps lost four guys on the O-line and three on the D-line. Only 10 starters total are returning. Perhaps that’s why a lot of different places, including this outstanding if depressing preview from the New York Times college sports blog, basically have the Terps squeaking into a bowl, any bowl, as the best-case scenario. (Perhaps the EagleBank Bowl?!?! Fingers crossed!) Recruiting problems — yes, more recruiting problems! — are also to blame here, according to the Testudo Times.
So with 7-5 or thereabouts on the horizon again, on to what do we hang our rationalizations when the leaves begin to assume their autumnal splendor? The punter. That is what. Travis Baltz, baby. Also known as the team’s only All-America prospect. I gotta say, he has legs for miles. Last year he made all-ACC first team with a 41.1 ypk average. And mind you, he was just a sophomore. Can you believe it? My head spins when I ponder the upside. With a weapon like that in your field-position-battle arsenal? Forget about it. Thanks for coming, guys. Because when our possession’s over, that’s when it’s game over for you. So just keep inciting us into those false starts, you oblivious fools. Travis Baltz will be our Grond.
Field position battle count: Opponents, jack squat. Maryland, eleventy thousand. That’s the only scoreboard I need.
So yes, big things expected from our punter. BIG THINGS. Here’s hoping he can block for himself as well. With the upside of Baltz, anything is possible. See you between the white lines, buddy. Santa mousepads? I’ll take three cases.