Archive for October, 2009


How Is the Football Team Spending its Bye Week?

Ever wondered what football players and coaches do during the bye week? Specifically wondering about the Maryland football team, who after consecutive losses to UVA and Duke now finds itself at 2-6 and nearly becoming the universal pick for worst team in the ACC?

Well, wonder no more. Through our inside sources, Shell Games has provided this exclusive update on coach and player bye week activities. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

— Chris Turner: Shivering in a Simi Valley irrigation ditch

— James Franklin: Shivering in the film room

— Don Brown: Shivering in the bar room

— Ralph Friedgen: Shivering beneath an Old Country Buffet steam table

— Demetrius Hartsfield: Shivering in a training room hot tub

— Entire offensive line: Shivering through inspirational visit to spackle factory

— Anthony Wiseman and Cameron Chism: Shivering. Just shivering. So dark. So very, very dark.

— Da’rel Scott and Davin Meggett: Carrying footballs along the beach. Sipping cold drinks out of football-
     shaped glasses. Clutching stuffed footballs in sleep. Shivering.

— Nick Ferrara: Long Island. Banging.

— Travis Baltz: Saving shivering children from trees

— Torrey Smith: A whirlwind tour of the country, stopping in Oakland, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis…
     you know, just for shits and giggles.


In both preseason polls, Maryland in a rankings sweet spot

The AP and ESPN/coaches preseason polls are both out. Maryland tops the “other schools receiving votes” category in each, meaning they’re the consensus #26 team heading into the season.

Most teams and coaches go to great lengths to make clear how little these polls mean to them. Methink they doth protest too much, in fact. And that’s another reason why Gary Williams is so great. He tracks the polls and he’s not afraid to show it. Gary is also delightfully shameless when it comes to playing the “no one respects us” card with his players. This ranking serves up that option on a silver platter for the Terps, while at the same time quietly placating Gary. At least a little. In other words, he can play the “no one respects us” card without having to worry about whether it’s actually true. I likey.


Know Your Benchwarmers: Steve Goins

(Welcome back….to “Know Your Benchwarmers.” This is the third in a series designed to get you acquainted with your 2009-2010 Maryland Terrapin ballers. I’m starting with the reserves so that you, the reader, can make an informed decision on who to root for in garbage time. Read the previous installment here.)


Of all the reserves we’ve highlighted so far, Steve Goins is easily the most well-known. And with good reason. When you’re 6’10”, there’s no hiding. In his freshman season last year, Goins saw action in four games, averaging three minutes of PT per game. During that time, he pulled down four rebounds and scored two points (*coughuhthatstotalcoughcough*). So that’s good! Great job, Steve.

Here’s the downside with Goins. In a team last year that played Big Dave Neal at center, it’s a bit of a head scratcher as to why Goins couldn’t seize the moment. Hey, I love Big Dave Neal as much as the next guy, but we all know his physical capabilities were limited. He was listed as 6’7″, but that measurement must have been taken either right after Big Dave woke up, or while someone was still actively dreaming. Following last season, Goins announced he was going to transfer, only to change his mind at the last minute.

Now, here’s the upside. After returning to Maryland, Goins apparently promised to raise his game. With the transfer of Braxbum Dupree and Jerome Burney’s unfortunate career-ending injury, the path to PT could be a lot clearer for Goins. He had surgery over the offseason and is working his way back into shape on the court. He had a tweak of the knee during a scrimmage a few days ago but it doesn’t seem terribly serious, and he got eight points and seven boards during the game, which is more than what Jordan Williams got.

(UPDATE: So I guess the injury did turn out to be fairly serious. Consider the rest of this post contingent upon Goins’ recovery. Hey, thank you so much.)

Now obviously, Williams, Dino Gregory (tentatively scheduled to start at center, we’ll see if that holds up), and James Padgett are expected to get the bulk of the work in the low post this season, and rightfully so, but Goins could be valuable depth. Six-ten doesn’t grow on trees after all.

Overall, the book on Goins is the same as it was when he first came to Maryland: he’s a late bloomer. He’s a project. He’s raw. He didn’t start playing until his freshman year of high school and wasn’t really recruited until his junior year — a pretty glaring fact considering that scouts these days are following large women into the delivery room. In terms of his game, it’s the same story that other Maryland big guys have had (see Braxbum, Mardesich, Garrison, etc.) — i.e., he’s got a nice touch for a big man but isn’t especially tough or athletic. But his supporters insist he can be a player, and he seems like a nice enough guy. Any fan of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is good in my book. Now if he can just take the smoothness and mix in a little ruggedness, that’ll be two good tastes that go great together.

(Photo credit:


Know Your Benchwarmers: David Pearman

(Oh, hello. I didn’t see you come in. Welcome back. This is the second in a series designed to get you acquainted with your 2009-2010 Maryland Terrapin ballers. I’m starting with the reserves so that you, the reader, can make an informed decision on who to root for in garbage time. Read the first installment here.)


Ahhhh, David Pearman. This guy has a little bit of a cult following. Personally, I think Pearman is my favorite Terp benchwarmer since Earl Badu, or even Big Dave Neal (oh, wait, he was a starter).

I wonder: what’s the attraction? Part of it could be that he looks like he should be handing me a vegan breakfast sandwich. Part of it could be that he looks like he should be handing me a bong. Either way, this 6’6″ junior has plenty of fans.  I assume.

First of all, Pearman hails from the mean streets of Columbia, Md. And I do mean mean. Ever been down Red Bandana Way? Ever stumbled into Hobbit’s Glen? Ever been called to settle beef down at the People Tree? I thought so. 

Well, somehow Pearman survived, and he’s now playing at Maryland. He’s a combo guard/forward mainly known for his tenacious defense. He’s quick and rangy for 6’6″ so can guard a bunch of different kinds of positions and players — which is probably one of the main things that makes him so useful in practice. Offense, however, is a different story. In 1.5 minutes per game over the past two seasons, Pearman is averaging a crisp 100 percent shooting percentage — 0.0 points on 0.0 attempts. Sweet.

Now on the personal side.  He’s long dreamed of playing for Maryland (even over Elon?). His roommate is Eric Hayes. He’s a letters and sciences major. And, uh, that’s about all I got.  Finding information on these benchwarmers is not easy. Check out Pearman’s profile. Capitvating!

Maryland Media Day Basketball

David Pearman's the one on the right.

Anyway, please enjoy this grainy footage of Pearman tearing up a bunch of inferior high school competition. You gotta love high school basketball audiences…anytime anyone dunks or hits a three, it’s like the Final Four, Christmas, and Armageddon all wrapped into one. “Someone just up a shot…WAIT…I THINK IT’S GOING IN!…IT DID!!!!….IT WENT IN!…WWWUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!…I CAN’T HANDLE THIS…WHY AM I EATING MY OWN ARRRRRMMMMM?!?!?!”

(Photo credits:, Baltimore Sun)


Terps swimming and diving: young, but experienced, or something like that


So the collegiate swimming and diving season is long. October to March…pruny.

In my quest to unearth the statuses of some of the lesser-known sports here at Maryland, I find that our swimming and diving team is, well, it’s not very good. They broke several school records at the ACC championships last spring…so that’s positive, until you read that those records were only good enough for 12th place individual finishes and the like, culminating in an eighth-place team finish. That leads me to believe that a historically bad sport for Maryland is turning the corner? Maybe? has the 2009-2010 season summary. Let’s go to the block quotes:

While the main storyline for this year’s Maryland men’s swimming and diving team is youth, the Terps do return a steady flow of returners that are poised to make an impact.

Outstanding. Hey, whenever you can return the returners, you’ve gotta pull the trigger. In general, the team has some big shoes to fill with the departure of Eric Cullen, only the best breaststroker in school history. Say that five times fast while breaststroking why don’t you.

So far, they’re 1-2.  Good luck to the team as the season gets going.  Detailed swimming and diving team previews here and here; if you want hardcore breakdowns by individual swimming event, they’ve got you covered.

You are now up to date on Maryland swimming and diving.  Boo-ya.

(Photo credit:


Know your Benchwarmers: Ersin Levent

(With basketball season just around the corner, it’s time to get acquainted with your 2009-2010 Maryland Terrapin ballers. I’m starting with the reserves so that you, the reader, can make an informed decision about who you want to ironically cheer for during garbage time. It is my gift to you.)


Ersin Levent is a sophomore forward on the team. He’s 6’7″, 185 and hails from right here in Rockville, Md., where he played his high school ball for the Landon School, an expensive private school for wealthy people. What? It is. While there, he made honorable mention in The Gazette’s all-county team on his way to helping Landon to its first Interstate Athletic Conference Championship in four decades. He also played golf (rather successfully) and ran track for Landon.

This is all well and good, but it doesn’t really tell you about the man, does it? What about the man? Well, Ersin played on the Maryland club team as a freshman, then worked his ass off and made the big team as a walk-on. Do I detect a hint of Rudy in the air? Like a really, really rich golf-playing Rudy? My eyes are welling up. Plus, in the interview, he says that on a scale of 1 to 10 his hatred for Duke is a 10. Oh, Ersin. You’ve cinched my heart.


Also, if those notoriously authentic discussion board posts are any indication, Ersin enjoys studying business, strategizing about how to conserve dining hall points, sharing the mundane details of his life, going to Thanksgiving at his uncle’s house, being really REALLY active on Terps message boards, and pleasuring women.

He also resembles Chris Turner, does he not? I think it’s the lopsided smirk-grin.

As far as his game, he seems to follow the classic benchwarming white guy mold — he shoots and then he scraps, scraps and then shoots. He’s a hustle guy. An effort guy. I’m imagining a lot of footage of Ersin leading the cheers in his warmup suit. Every team needs a guy like that.

Ersin is the one on the left.

Ersin is the one on the left.

Final recommendation: I predict some name chants for Ersin; that is, if the students can figure out how to pronounce his name. ER-sin LE-vent, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap.

(Photo credits:,, Baltimore Sun)


Maryland ranked fifth in preseason ACC poll

So Maryland is ranked fifth in the official ACC preseason poll. Seems a little low. Duke is picked to finish first. Seems a little high.

Clemson was picked third. I would complain that this seems high, but since they’ve beaten the Terps six out the last eight times they’ve played, I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

In the same announcement, Vasquez was picked second in the running for ACC Player of the Year. Seems about right. Duke’s Kyle Singler was picked first. Seems a little high. Although I most definitely have him number one in my preseason Player Who Most Looks Like Boo Radley Award. So he’s got that going for him. I hear the trophy is carved out of soap.


Maryland football team loses to Duke, hits rock bottom, sucks


I want to congratulate the Maryand football team, with every sarcastic fiber in my being, for losing to Duke 17-13 today. That’s the same Duke team that hasn’t made a bowl game since 1994. The same Duke team that, between the 1999 season and this very game, has gone 19-101. Seriously.

Not to go over the cliff too much, but I think it’s safe to say we’re currently the worst-performing team in the ACC. 

There’s no single remedy for Maryland. We won the turnover battle 4-3 (yay, only three turnovers!) but couldn’t capitalize. Didn’t score a TD until late in the third quarter, and it was our only one. 67 total rush yards, 182 pass yards to Duke’s 23 and 371. At least we stopped their running game. Not that that was a “key to victory” or anything. It’s like saying we stopped a cat from barking.

Questionable coaching calls everywhere. Another too-little, too-late, stat-padding comeback attempt. The Terps actually ended this one themselves by coughing it up twice in the final five minutes. Torrey Smith caught a grand total of two balls for 13 yards. 38% third down conversion rate.  What else do you need to know? Thanks to good old ESPN360, I didn’t actually watch the game. But judging by the various updates and discussion boards, that is a good thing. Thanks, ESPN360! I never thought your evil would pay dividends.

Oh, were you thinking Duke is up this year? Bzzzzt. No they’re not. They’re still Duke. Duke sucks. Fu*k Duke. If they make a bowl game then I’m Shirley Chisholm.

As for Maryland, I’m just searching for a phrase right now. What’s the phrase I’m looking for…noodle dicks? No, that’s too mean. I wouldn’t want to call these guys noodle dicks in a forum that is at least technically public.  If I were to call them noodle dicks, which they are, that would be an insult to The Kids.  You gotta respect The Kids.  Especially the kind of kids that bench 250 and run 4.5 forties.

Oh, wait, I’ve got the phrase now.  Losers.

It’s nice down here with us losers, isn’t it?  Sometimes, they drop a bucket of fish heads on us.  That’s when we party!

At 2-6, the absolute best-case scenario is a 6-6, .500 finish. Raise your hand if you think they can do that. If you have your hand raised, please keep it up while I come around and collect your wallets. After all, I have a bridge I need to sell you. I’m going to assume you’re interested and just take your money. Your raised arms enhance the convenience of my doing so.

The best thing we can do is just move on as a people. Loitering only contaminates the crime scene. Let’s do the decent American thing and just pretend the rest of the season isn’t happening. Deal? Deal.


We’ll always love field hockey


Great article in the Post today about how Maryland’s dominant field hockey team is fairly anonymous on not only the local sports landscape, but their own damn campus. I’m not sure what the exact problem is, but it could have something to do with the fact that it’s field hockey.

Seriously, though, the team is incredible. It’s not that they can’t lose. It’s just that they don’t. Katie O’Donnell is the sport’s top player and Missy Meharg is the top coach. She’s the Sasho Cirovski of underappreciated Maryland women’s sports program coaches.

Let me just take this opportunity to point out the voluminous field hockey coverage here at Shell Games. Why do we do it? Because we like girls care. It’s because we care.

Your 16-0, top-ranked, defending national champion Terps field hockey team closes out the regular season tomorrow with a big showdown at 15-0, #2 North Carolina.

One of these days, I gotta make it to a game.

(Photo credit: D.C. Sports Box)


I’m not doing a Maryland-Duke football preview

No guest stars this week. There’s nothing to say. Except, hey Maryland — beat Duke.

Beat Duke.



I don’t care that Duke’s favored. I don’t care that it’s gonna rain. I don’t care that Duke has some hot-shot quarterback named Thaddeus. Does Thaddeus wear a derby hat out on the field instead of a helmet? Does he drink tea on the sidelines with his pinkie finger extended? That’s great. Thaddeus. Go to it, Thaddeus. I bet Charles Riggleton III and all the other Dookie trust fund babies really approve of your name, Thaddeus.

Maryland just needs to lace up their shoes and play ball. Fu*k Duke. Beat em, Terps.

Prediction: Maryland 27, Duke 17


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October 2009