Posts Tagged ‘Da’Rel Scott

16
Oct
09

A Maryland-Virginia football preview from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain-Anthony-3College Park, Maryland.   The crown jewel of PG County may not be much to look at, but if you take the time to immerse yourself in its culture, you find it has a special life rhythm, a unique pre-revitalizational splendor all its own. 

So when my producers told me a visit to College Park was imminent, my response was simple, and immediate:  where do I sign.  When College Park comes calling, my friends, you have no choice but to accept the charges.

The deal was only sweetened for me when I was informed, as we all clambored into that late-model Mercedes SUV, that the weekend in question was, in fact, homecoming weekend

Homecoming weekend. It’s a time-honored tradition in this part of the world.  Friends and family come from far and wide to pay visits to a favorite son, niece, or buddy who, with any luck, is working toward his or her diploma, that ticket to the real world that comes rushing at you like a Pamplona silverback stoned on Vivarin and Fundador.  Revelers of all stripes eat and drink as if the world might end, and above all, they root.  Root root.  For the home team. Throw Midnight Madness in there, and you have the makings of a weekend for the record books, especially as they pertain to the local jail population.

Being from New York City, I admit to some uncertainty over the homecoming phenomenon.  Fortunately for me, College Park offers the perfect initiation.  The street food — hamburgers and hot dogs grilled in the open air, Thermonuclear hot wings, doughy Ratsie’s pizza — provides a veritable culinary rainbow for a humble, road-weary New York City traveler like myself.  After a bite to eat and a drink or five, we head to Lot 4.  And that’s where I see it for the first time.  A father and son, both members of the same fraternity, wearing matching Under Armour shirts just a touch too small, weaving arm-in-arm through the crowd, vomiting on shoes, calling everyone gay.  That’s when I finally understood.  Though I hadn’t known it when I’d first set out, this was what I had come to see.

Oh, and I have also come for a football game.  A football game between two teams bad enough that an ersatz rivalry was in order for the locals, and their football heroes, to give a crap. Maryland linebacker Alex Wujciak derided Virginia students as essentially a group of preppy snobs. Virginia coach Al Groh said that had he known about standout Terp receiver and Virginia native Torrey Smith, Smith would be playing for the Cavs right now.  I suppose there is, after all, some legitimacy to this rivalry. As Ralph Friedgen points out, these campuses are relatively close, and a lot of the players know one another.  Nevertheless, talk of this being some sort of blood feud rings as hollow to me as my road-weary footsteps on the lonely midnight pavement of New York City, where I grew up.

Even as the schools are close, so too are their teams. Virginia has rebounded from a winless start (which included, you’ll recall, a loss to William and Mary) to marshal a 2-3 record, nearly equalling Maryland’s illustrious 2-4.   Star Cavs running back Mikell Simpson is doubtful for the game, which could put the pressure on big fullback and alleged felon Rashawn Jackson.  Maryland, again, is in a similar boat. With their ground game gaining only 62 yards last week without Da’rel Scott, QB Chris Turner now may wish to seek out Torrey Smith, who is no doubt looking to show UVA what they missed.  The aerial attack may be the Terps’ best chance, but it will face a UVA defense ranked third in the ACC against the pass and led by reining ACC Defensive Back of the Week Ras-I Dowling.  You may remember that he picked off a pass in last year’s 31-0 Virginia romp over the Terps.

And there’s my segue. I’m from New York City, so I don’t know much about the state of Maryland. But in doing this show, I now know the state of Maryland football.  They want revenge for last year’s butt-kicking, but frankly speaking, the signs are not encouraging. The predicted bad weather could turn this into trench warfare — not a strong suit for the Terps. We’ll see if Davin Meggett and the linemen are up to the task. My belief is they are not. Field goals will soar through the rain-soaked air like the mortar shells thumped over the treetops of Bastogne. And in the end, the Cavaliers will prevail. And the revelry in College Park will take a turn for the worse. But you know something? That’s my kind of party.

Prediction: Virginia 19, Maryland 9

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09
Oct
09

A Maryland-Wake Forest preview from comedian Larry David

Directors Guild

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Hey there. How ya doin? What is this. A, uhhhh, like a blog? Bloggers? You bloggin it up? I like that. Pretty good. Pret-ty, pret-ty good.

Pre-tyyyyyyyyyy, PRE-TYYYYYYY GOOOOOOOOD.

Where was I. Oh my God, did you just see that guy? I think he just drove off without paying for that gas. Wait…was that Steven Spielberg? I think it was!! OMG, I think Steven Spielberg just drove off without paying for his gas. Mr. Big Shot. Like he can’t afford it. I’m calling the cops. I’ll testify against that guy. There’s no way this will backfire on me.

So this weekend. Biiiiiig, big weekend. Got a lotta big plans. Big plans. Oh, you don’t think I have plans? I have plans, buddy boy. I’m going back to the old alma mater. How do you pronounce that anyway? Is it like MAH-ter, or is it like MAIT-er. Alma Mater. I think I felt her up once at summer camp. What’s my old alma mater? Why, the University of Maryland. You didn’t know that? Oh, yeah. Go Terps. I’m a big Terp. Love the Terps. Sports keeps you young. Virile. None of that Viagra for me. Just give me a good old smashmouth football game. Give me the old slobberknocker. That’s right.

So what do we got on tap for the Terps this weekend? Wake? Like in the morning? Oh, Wake Forest. I gotcha. They’re the, uhhhh, wolves, the den, no the Wolf Pack! Demon Deacons? Same difference. Let me just consult my notes here. Don’t think I don’t know Wake. Well, Wake’s pretty easy to scout. It begins and ends with quarterback Riley Skinner. He’s a senior and he holds a lot of records down there. He’s gonna test our secondary, that’s for sure. Hey, did I remember to give Anthony Wiseman the wrong directions? I hope so. Don’t tell anybody, but I rerouted him to the Jersey Shore.

Skinner’s the key, but Wake is looking to get the running game going this Saturday as well. Senior Kevin Harris is hurt, so Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass are gonna get the calls. Skinner will be involved even in this, because they’re gonna dink and dunk it a lot. So that’ll be exciting. Dink and dunk. It’s like the two guys you don’t want to end up talking to at the party. It just screams barnburner. Am I right?

But hey, I’m a Terp fan. I shouldn’t talk about running games. We’ve got Da’rel Scott out, and in his place is this nice Dim Sum of crap. I’m just kidding. I’m sure Davin Meggett and Gary Douglas and D.J. Adams are fine people. But with them and with Bruce Campbell definitely out, it’s a problem.

Defensively, I think Maryland is rounding into form. I’m just not sure that Cameron Chism is enough to stem the tide against this Wake aerial attack. They’re like F-22s. F-a millions. Maybe our line can hold up enough to let the linebackers make plays on the receivers. Wake’s just OK on the defensive side, I think. They’re 7th in the ACC in total defense. Feh. They’re like an overripe apple. They’re all mealy.

Basically, this is a fulcrum game for Maryland. They win, and the headline is “they’ve righted the ship.” They lose, and they’re cellar dwellars. Let the roller coaster ride continue. Maryland is 6-2 against Wake recently, but Skinner and the O is gonna be too much. They have at least one big strength. Maryland may be improving, but as of now, they have none.

Oh hey, Anthony! I can’t believe it, I gave you the wrong directions by accident! Don’t hit me, this is all a big misunderstanding. I need to get a ride out of here. Steven! Steven, is that you? Gimme a ride, no it wasn’t me that called the cops! Why are you talking crazy?!?! Steve! Baby! Anthony! crap.

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Prediction: Maryland 10, Wake Forest 21

08
Oct
09

After Injuries, Offense is Running Uphill

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So the Terps’ top running back, Da’rel Scott, is out until at least Nov. 21 with a broken arm. Left tackle and o-line anchor Bruce Campbell, who has already missed half of the team’s games so far, may or may not be out against Wake with a knee. Injury.

Davin Meggett is OK as the starting RB, but he only got 27 yards against Clemson. Paul Pinegar would be OK at left tackle, but, well, he’s not Bruce Campbell.

Hopefully, the defense is rounding into form. With Torrey Smith (18th nationally in receiving yards) and company along the sidelines, the passing game doesn’t figure to stay down for long stretches. And with Smith (second nationally in all-purpose yards) handling returns and Nick “The Junior Kick” Ferrara playing the one-man band on the special teams, I’m sure that unit will continue to be solid, not to mention highly inspirational.

That leaves the running game hanging out there like Anthony Munoz’s retarded pinkie finger. According to this Post article, the Terps had 28 rushing yards in the Rutgers loss, and rank 100th nationally in rushing offense. The RBs have only scored five TDs this year, and Scott had three of those. I’m no Vince Cromartie, but when you SUBTRACT two of your best pieces from a unit that you already needed three numbers to rank, that may NOT be the spark you were hoping for. The Post article also states that, deep in the final quarter on Saturday, on a big fourth down (which Maryland converted), Coach Friedgen “wavered before deciding the offensive line could indeed stand up to Clemson’s athletic defensive front and help the Terrapins get six inches.” First of all, six inches. Second of all, it’s never a compliment when you hear “THAT is a unit you can really waver on.”

It will be interesting to see how they do against a fair-to-middlin Wake rushing defense. And we could see redshirt freshman Gary Douglas (21 yards against Clemson) get significant time, which would be interesting. Report on him is that he’s athletic enough, but not overly predisposed to the tough runs and the trench work. With the O-line still struggling, he could be called on to do plenty of the ugly stuff. As always….we shall see….between the white lines.

(Photo credit: Washington Times)

27
Sep
09

After 1-3 start, time to move the goalposts

Let me just state the obvious.  Forget about contending.  Forget about a bowl game.  Forget about respectability. After a 34-13 drubbing at home to Rutgers, maybe the Terps need some new, slightly more modest goals.  How about mediocrity?

But before that, the game. At this point, it’s clear this is not a good team.  I know, I know…this limb’s gonna snap!!!   But seriously, their problems seem more intractable each week.  Saying this team would be good “if they just stopped committing turnovers” is like saying the alcoholic would get better if he just stopped drinking; it’s obvious there are deeper demons after five more giveaways yesterday.  Da’Rel Scott, for whatever reason, suddenly can’t hold on to the football.  Chris Turner made some horrific decisions.  And of course, there’s the pitiful O-line, which caused the almost comically awful play in the Terp end zone when Turner tried to throw it away to avoid a safety but instead just dribbled it onto the turf.  Touchdown Rutgers.

The defense just plain sucks right now.  Alex Wujciak, the unit’s leader, got 17 tackles and played well, but made no tackles for loss and forced no turnovers.  That sums up the unit:  they just don’t make plays.  Just the opposite, in fact; they’re extraordinarily susceptible to big plays, as evidenced by Joe Martinek’s late TD runs of 29 and 61 yards to ice the game.

Torrey “Darrius Heyward-Bey” Smith continued his great but baffling play, finishing with 237 total yards but fading out of the offense in the second half.   They’ve gotta get him the ball.  I repeat: they have got to get him the ball.  Don’t overthink it.  Ride him into the ground.

I’ll stop there with the criticisms.  Now, back to the goals.  Since, for all intents and purposes, we’re playing for pride now, let’s do just that.  Here’s a bold new goal:  let’s try to not be the ACC’s worst team.  The conference is weak.  Duke and UVA should be Ws, right?  Right?  Bueller? 

Final thought:  it looks bleak, but I’m not taking up the torch and pitchfork yet.  We’ve still got some eminently beatable teams on the schedule, and in the weak-as-my-grandmama ACC, much is possible.  If the Terps, knowing they’re not gonna contend, can just keep their heads up and claw their way back to the pack, it won’t be a lost season.  If nothing else, they’ve gotta beat Duke.  It’s so important to have goals!  Even if  you have to change them all the time.

25
Sep
09

A Rutgers-Maryland preview from the late Michael Jackson

michael_jackson_031605Hello.  I’m Michael Jackson.  The entertainer?   I recently passed away very quietly after a long bout with vampirism and hospital-grade anesthesia.  What?  Is that weird?  I don’t think so.  I think dying is very sweet.  Very charming.  And now I’m back!  To spread a message of hope. And to handicap the Rutgers-Maryland game.

You didn’t know I was a football fan?  I love football; it makes you wish, and dream.  It provides a break from reality…sometimes I really needed that. Can’t you just picture me on a Saturday afternoon, lounging on my $750,000 rainbow-colored hippopotamus couch, a plate of corn dogs in one hand, ice cold glass of bat milk in the other?  That’s a good lunch for me.

For the Maryland-Rutgers game, lots of weird parallels. It’s like Maryland holds up their hand in the mirror, and there’s Rutgers, and they’re waving, but at the same time, and they’re perfectly aligned!  You know?  No?  Shamon over here and I’ll show you. First of all, both teams lost big in their openers–Rutgers lost to Cincinnati 47-15, and we all know about the Terps. Hee hee! But Rutgers is 2-1 now, while Maryland is 1-2. Both teams gamble with blitz-happy defenses, but the Rutgers defense locked down after its loss, surrendering just 22 points to Howard and FIU, while the Terps have surrendered approximately 822 points.   Both have a two-headed RB monster — Joe Martinek and Jourdan Brooks for Rutgers, Scott and Meggett for the Terps. Rutgers starts an unproven freshman at QB (although he might be injured), and Maryland starts an unproven senior (just kidding Chris — a-HEE HEE!).

Even their stadium situations are eerily similar in an Opposite Day kind of way (Yaaay! I LOVE, I mean, I HATE Opposite Day!). Maryland’s ticket problems in its newly expanded stadium are well documented, but meanwhile Rutgers is packing its newly expanded stadium.  It’s cra-zee!  Almost as crazy as that Bubbles thing. Want to know a secret?  There was no such thing as Bubbles. He wasn’t real!  It was just some chimpanzee that I was having intercourse with. Sexual intercourse.

Bottom line:  it’s a broken record for the Terps — and I should know about breaking records. If Maryland can get its O-line and running game working, they have a chance. If Torrey Smith can light up star CB Devon McCoury like a jheri curl on a Pepsi shoot, they have a chance. If Bruce Campbell returns at left tackle and can help slow down pass rush specialist Jonathan Freeny (Dwight’s second cousin), they have a chance.  If they can play mistake-free, they have a chance.

But as with Billie Jean’s paternity suit, there are many ifs. And I don’t see that Maryland’s home field advantage is as strong as in years past. I would rank it behind the home field advantage I enjoyed at Neverland, although I had wine and special locks and Ferris wheels and wishing trees and hospital-grade anesthesia. As previously mentioned. Wheeee! Sorry, Terps, but I love my Scarlet Knights. But do not be melancholy.  I love you all forever.

Love always,
Michael.

Prediction:  Rutgers 27, Maryland 16

21
Sep
09

It wasn’t all bad

I wouldn’t go so far as to say there are reasons to be happy with the Terps. Because there are none of those right now. So instead, maybe I can say that there are a few reasons to feel less gun-totey.

As first reported by Maryland alpha blog Testudo Times, Torrey Smith leads the nation in all-purpose yards. He also ranks 24th nationally in total receiving yards with 273, and that’s with only 14 catches. And he’s only a sophomore. Here’s hoping he gets more involved in the offense, and the criticisms that surrounded Darrius Heyward-Bey’s perceived underutilization are not repeated.

Also, the running game had its best day, if you don’t count the turnovers, although I realize that’s kind of like saying Bruce Willis is a good actor if you don’t count Hudson Hawk, The Jackal, Surrogates, Color of Night, and Look Who’s Talking Too. The beleagured O-line opened some decent holes for Da’rel Scott and Davin Meggett, who combined for 168 yards and two TDs. Megget also had 63 receiving yards. You can build on that.

The defense got their first turnovers of the season as well — two INTs from Cameron Chism and fumble recovery from Travis Ivey. Also, we had an A.J. Francis sighting! Very exciting. He was the one who blocked the extra point early on.

So there are some things we can cling to. At least until Monday is over.

20
Sep
09

Middle Tennessee Freaking State Freaking Owns Freaking Maryland

Look at this photo.  Look at it!

Look at this photo. Look at it!

They beat us in their house last year. Now they’ve beaten us in our house this year. All this talk about revenge game, and this and that, and this is what happens. Another year, another group of Blue Raiders jubilant at Maryland’s expense. Gah. I’m gagging. Need air. I need to breathe!

Okay. Get a hold of yourself, man. Whew. So I should probably mention that I didn’t actually watch the game, mainly because it will be a cold wet day in Hades before I cough up any money to the Evil Sports Programming Network for ESPN360.com. They could put the Super Bowl on there and I still wouldn’t pony up. Fuck them. That’s right. Fuck you, ESPN. Fuck ESPN360.com. And fuck this fucked up ACC TV deal. You want my wallet, you pry it out of my dead hand.

Whoa. Okay. Breathe. I’m a little angry. The morning after and I’m still upset. I may be misdirecting a bit but I’m still salty with ESPN for doing this. Anyway, a bunch of us were getting updates from a friend via cellphone, and it looked like we had it in the bag. That is, until Middle Tennessee State drove the length of Byrd Stadium in the final moments to kick a game-winning field goal. Read that sentence again. Guess what the key play was on the drive. Cameron Chism — Nolan Carroll’s replacement — was burned for 35 yards. What was a team strength — secondary — is now a glaring weakness. Jamari McCulloch can’t come back fast enough.

Other problems: Poor tackling. Missed field goals. Turnovers, including one by backup QB Jamarr Robinson, who played a whopping three snaps but somehow managed to lose a fumble. Again, the lines were porous. And in general, the offense and defense don’t seem to be, what’s the word, functioning.

Bright spots: 287 all-purpose yards from Torrey Smith. To be fair, Chism had two interceptions. Chris Turner had 288, 2 TDs, 1 INT, although he was sacked four times. Travis Baltz had a 40.6 punting average. Rock solid!

Bottom line: Two consecutive losses to Middle Tennessee State = unacceptable. Period. Ralph Friedgen has a lot of work to do. Everyone says his job is safe because the assumption is he’s going to fulfill his contract (this season then two more) and then fade into the sunset. Fine. But right now, there’s a playing-out-the-string feel to all of this that can’t continue. Fridge seemed angry after the game. Good. I think the team can round into form during the ACC season, but it’s not gonna happen automatically. Get to work, guys. This is humiliating.

(Photo credit: AP photo/Murfreesboro Daily News Journal)




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