Posts Tagged ‘Darrius Heyward-Bey

14
Oct
09

Darrius Heyward-Bey not exactly tearing up the record books

darrius-heyward-bey-injured-running-too-fast

Back in April, everyone agreed that the Raiders selecting former Terp wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey seventh overall was the swiftest move in the 2009 NFL draft.  For owner Al Davis, it was a legacy builder.  A masterstroke, even.  Dan Snyder chartered Big Boy I to fly out there and pick Al Davis’s brain.  And I don’t mean figuratively. 

The world was excited.  We watched and we waited.  With DHB, quarterback JaMarcus Russell, and pugnacious new head coach Tom Cable, Oakland had visions of glory.  Maybe .500?  Don’t jinx it, they cried!  It’s too sweet to even mention.

But now, oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Heyward-Bey is currently tied for 118th among NFL receivers with two receptions.  Just a few days ago, Chris Berman and Peter King — the Mount Rushmore of football journalism intelligentsia — both observed that DHB has fewer catches than he has names.  Oh, oh!   My goodness!   One teensy little problem, though.  His last name is hyphenated, making it one word.  That means his reception total is TIED with his name total.  So there.  Hey, guys, I’ve booked a third-grade-level grammar class for you.  My treat.

People might be quick to blame DHB because he was picked higher than people thought he should’ve been.  I guess he should have refused the money and the big-time spotlight, huh?   It’s not helping that DHB is saddled with another Al Davis masterstroke, JaMarcus Russell, who is just about the worst quarterback in the NFL (thank Gosh for Derek Anderson!).  He has thrown four interceptions and precisely one touchdown.  His completion percentage is 42 — good for worst in the league.  In technical terms, he couldn’t throw it into the ocean from a rowboat.   He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.  And let’s not even bring up the narrow side.

This is also not to mention the general suckitude of the entire Raiders organization.  Oh, and the pesky little fact that Cable may soon be facing felony assault charges.  But as always, time will tell where the blame lies for DHB’s stumble out of the gate.  After Al Davis ships him to Indy in two years for a seventh-round draft pick and two units of plasma, we’ll see who is right and who is wrong.

27
Aug
09

Caleb Porzel’s gonna reverse the Earth’s rotation

CW-Earth-flight-wp-01

If Maryland is deep anywhere, it’s at running back, where Da’rel Scott leads the pack of usual suspects.

But now, from the bowels of training camp depth charts, a new candidate emerges.  Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s Caleb Porzel!  Apparently, the dude is so fast that the coaches can’t keep him off the field.

Terps alpha blog Testudo Times cites a couple Twitter feeds noting Porzel’s apparently blinding speed. How fast is he? Well, according to his Scout.com profile, he runs a 4.21 40 time. That is fast. Really fast. Good God, that is fast. To give you a frame of reference, the fastest 40 time at the 2009 NFL combine — turned in by our own Darrius Heyward-Bey, no less — was 4.30.

Here’s hoping he gets in on some kick or punt returns, at least. And in so doing, he shall smite our enemies! Look out, Heisman!

Isn’t training camp the best?

23
Apr
09

The Terp fan’s ultimate draft guide

He a fast dude.

He a fast dude.

At this point, all us non-underneath-a-rock-dwellers know that Darrius Heyward-Bey is considered one of the top receivers available in the NFL draft.  But did you know there are 10 Terps who could potentially be drafted this weekend?   It’s true.  Let’s break it all down, shall we?

Obviously it all starts with the DHB.  ESPN’s two-headed monster of Kiper and McShay (I wonder which head will eat the other one first) have him ranked fourth at WR, behind Michael Crabtree, Jerome Maclin, and Percy Harvin. Not too surprising, given that he ran the fastest 40 at the NFL combine. I nerded out and watched a little of his combine workout…what surprised me was how built he is. For all that speed, he’s not a skinny dude. Every mock draft has him going in the first round…some to Baltimore with pick 26, some to Tampa with pick 19. (I also wouldn’t count out the Skins reaching for him at 13…might be hard for them to resist a big-play guy who would put local butts in the seats. Do you really expect them to draft a lineman if they keep that pick?)

It’s not all about DHB, though. Center Edwin Williams is projected for the late rounds (frankly, I thought he’d be higher…he was on the Rimington Trophy watch list, for jerk’s sake).  They’re saying Kevin Barnes could be a “value pick” in the middle rounds at cornerback…his season-ending injury basically took him out of the running for the early rounds.  I think he’ll be nasty in the NFL…the dude hits like Mark Carrier.

I also think someone’s going to get a nice, serviceable tight end in Dan Gronkowski. He catches some, he blocks some, he works hard, he plays hard. So look for him to continue Maryland’s NFL pedigree at “the tight end position.” I could see him having a decent, if somewhat inconspicuous, career for the Browns or someone like that.

Dan Gronkowski gets it on at the combine

Dan Gronkowski gets it on at the combine

There’s another solid draft possibility too. Do you remember Jaime Thomas at left guard? I admit it…I do not remember Jamie Thomas at left guard. But apparently, he could be a late-round pick.

There are other guys, but they could be destined for the practice squad, or a desk at the local Gold’s Gym. Dave Philistin and Moise Fokou are in the mix at linebacker, but my guess is they won’t be drafted. Same goes for Jeremy Navarre, who was good for the Terps but probably not athletic enough to be an NFL defensive end. Tackles Dane Randolph and Scott Burley are top-40 prospects, at least according to some.

But how about this as a potential surprise? In all the DHB talk, we forgot about WR Isaiah Williams. He was a decent player, and he ran the same 40 time as Crabtree…maybe someone will take a flyer. Eh? Who’s with me on this one?  Who’s excited? Can’t you just hear it…”with the 256th pick in the NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select……Isaiah Williams, wide receiver, Maryland!”  I’m setting my Tivo right now.

Overall, here’s my guess:  DHB in the first round, Barnes in the fourth, Gronkowski and Thomas in the fifth, Edwin Williams in the sixth, Isaiah Williams in the seventh. So that’s six guys…not too bad.  As always, we shall see.

(Photo credits: DHB photo is Sun photo by Christopher T. Assaf; Gronkowski is Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

07
Jan
09

DHB takes off for the pros

In extremely unsurprising news, star receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey has declared for the NFL draft.

In his junior season, DHB was arguably the team’s best player. He averaged 14.5 yards a touch and was a big-play threat every time he got the ball, which is why it’s so confounding that the risk-averse coaches didn’t get it to him more often.  Anyway, we’ll see what happens now…with his speed and athleticism, DHB could be a first-round pick.

30
Dec
08

11:21am on game day thoughts finally turn to the humanitarian bowl

It’s late morning on December 30th on the east coast, and it just dawned on me that today is the day Maryland faces Nevada in the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, ID.  The game is going to be played at 2:30 Mountain Time, which is 4:30 EST – a time that guarantees I will miss the first half while finishing my work day and commuting home.  The game time forecast calls for a a balmy Idaho winter day of 41deg.  Did you know that Boise, ID is 2,374mi from College Park by car?  Barring traffic in Wyoming, that’s an estimated  1 day and 11hr drive.  On the other hand, Reno is a 422mi drive, which is a little over 4hrs at a rate of 100 mi/hr through what looks quite literally like nothing on the map.

This “neutral site” game should be like an average sparsely attended home game for Nevada, and I’m assuming that is why they are a 2.5pt favorite on the Vegas line.  It may also be because there are a lot more people in Nevada that have access to the Vegas line than there are in Maryland, thus driving the spread up.  This is a typical bettors trap game and is a perfect illustration of why over 90% of sports gamblers lose (it’s much higher than the 50% everyone assumes).

Maryland finished with a winning record after playing the 21st toughest schedule in the nation and beating four ranked teams.  The ACC ended-up with 10 bowl eligible teams.  There is no comparison between the WAC and the ACC.  If Maryland hadn’t lost a fluke game against MTSU, then the Terps wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.  With all due respect to Ernest Hemingway, I am going to have to disagree with him and say the Terps are going to give the Nevada Wolfpack a beating.

After coming off games against Florida State and Boston College, the Wolfpack secondary is going to appear to be moving in slow motion.  Maryland brings a much tougher defense than Nevada.  The Terps offense moved the ball well against BC.  Maryland might be suffering from apathy and travel fatigue, but there are players on this team like Darrius Heyward-Bey that are playing for a shot at the NFL, and others looking to solidify a starting position in 2009. I say they come to play. My prediction: Maryland 34, Nevada 24, and it won’t even be that close.

Don’t forget to stop by the Roady’s on Rte 301 in Centerville after the game, and tell ’em Shell Games sent ya!

26
Dec
08

A Preview in the Afternoon: A Humanitarian Bowl anaylsis from novelist Ernest Hemingway

ernest-hemingwayI left Spain in 1940 and after some years found myself in Idaho.  The leaves are yellow on the cottonwoods there and the wind brings a coolness to the rooming houses.  I was driving the road one day and saw a mountain and in its foothills lay a small tavern. The sign along the road said welcome to Boise. I did not stop at the sign. I kept on driving. There was no pulloff there for pulling over to look at the welcome sign.

I went into the tavern and ordered grappa. What is grappa, said the bartender. So instead I ordered white wine and nachos. The nachos came with meat and tomatoes and yellow cow’s milk cheese. I dipped pieces of fried cornmeal into the meat mixture and tipped the plate to drink the oil of the meat, and then I washed it down with the crisp white wine. What the hell are you doing, asked the bartender. I gazed at the cheese as it hardened on the plate.  I have unseen scars, you see.

A small television flickered in the corner and it displayed a blue field. It was a field for football. A boy’s game. The game of a boy before he goes to a woman. Before he knows the true sport of man — that of hunting another man.  In the dark.  Or the autumn.

I wonder if Nevada will beat Maryland in the Humanitarian Bowl, said a man on the stool next to me.  I wanted to tell the fool that for a humanitarian to bowl there would first need to be humans.  Nevada has a lot of good runners including their quarterback, he said.  What’s the good in running.  I ran but not to escape and I escaped anyway but it was not to freedom.

Colin Kaepernick is the Wolf Pack quarterback and he is the WAC player of the year.  He can run like the cool clear stream behind Ochoa’s house just east of Andalusia. Marko Mitchell is their primary wideout and Via Taua is their tailback.  They are both first-team all WAC and they can dance like fine bulls or trouts on the spawn.  The offense averages 37.8 points per game.  The defense allowed 31.5.  That is not very good.  For the Terps, Darrius Heyward-Bey has this last game to prove his draft mettle.  Those in Maryland, for the sake of the game if not his return to school, may hope that he takes full advantage of this opportunity. Maryland says its true strength is defense but it finished ninth in the ACC in total defense and I do not see how they can say defense is a strength when they cannot defend themselves.  Offenses can break boys and will know that day that they killed but they will do the killing and they will go on.

There are forces and there are objects but these are all weak and eventually they will all die and their dreams will feed the cottonwoods.  When the prize is 8-5 there are no long lines for the barrera seats.

The Boise State field is blue.  Like the blue fields of Kilamanjaro.

I left the tavern and went out into the street.

Final prediction:  Nevada 37.8, Maryland 31.5

07
Nov
08

Va. Tech runs wild on Terps

On paper, the planets had aligned last night for a Maryland loss.  They’re bad on the road, they’re bad at night, they’re REALLY bad against Virginia Tech, they’re bad when they’re not in a “must win” situation, and they’re bad whenever they’re favored in some way (Terps were nationally ranked, Hokies were not).  So when that happens, there’s one of two things a team can do: they figure they have nothing to lose and take a swing-away approach, or the intensity goes down a notch and they come out flaccid.  Obviously the latter happened, as unknown freshman Darren Evans set a Va. Tech single-game rushing record in a 23-13 Hokie victory.

Va. Tech played well and showed a lot of heart, but let’s not confuse them with USC.  I have a wallet here that says we don’t hear squat from Evans for the rest of the season. Their QB, Glennon, was playing on one foot.  They were so desperate for offense that a cornerback, Macho Harris, got like 10 touches, a few of which came on gimmicky plays like a fake reverse.  Va. Tech was vulnerable.

A few bright spots for Maryland: freshman wideout Torrey Smith quietly had a terrific game, getting 62 receiving yards, 101 return yards, and blocking a punt. Darrius Heyward-Bey had the play of the game for either team when he caught a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage, then turned on his jetpack and basically ran past the entire defense for a 63-yard touchdown.  (DHB reminds me of Shawne Merriman from a few years ago…he’s going to be nice in the NFL, and everyone’s going to wonder why Maryland wasn’t better while he was there.)

And, ehhhh, that’s about it.  The D-line was acting like someone had walked in on them in an outhouse. The linebackers seemed determine to play the entire game without using their arms in any way. It was like they had a bet going. Chris Turner, as is his wont sometimes, just didn’t seem into it.

“The future is still bright,” said Turner after the game. “We still control our own destiny.”

Well, yeah. But does that mean you should come into Lane Stadium half asleep?  This team seemed to collectively decide that things didn’t look favorable, and they didn’t desperately need the game anyway, so why try? Why bother with “competing”?  We’ll see if they can regain their intensity against UNC and FSU, but for now, just another interesting piece of emotional insight into a team that could probably use a few sessions on the therapy couch.




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