Posts Tagged ‘Darrius Heyward-Bey


Darrius Heyward-Bey not exactly tearing up the record books


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.


Caleb Porzel’s gonna reverse the Earth’s rotation


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 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?


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)


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.


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!


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


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.


The Smart Preview: A Maryland-Wake Analysis from financial pundit Suze Orman

All right, all right.  Maryland-Wake Forest preview, huh?  What is this, football?  Come on, people, is this really what you want to talk about?  This is so typical of us Americans.  I mean, God bless us, but we are committing financial suicide every day. That’s no hyperbole.  Going out to eat, buying new clothing, “enjoying life.”  These are the warning signs.  Wake up, people!  And panic. Listen to me!  You need to panic! Okay? Why can’t you understand that?

But whatever.  You want to blab about a silly football game?  You want me to “break it down” for you?  Fine.  But you need to give me some information first.  You need to understand that I need the info. I don’t know what your team’s situation is!  Every team is different.  Don’t you get that?  Every.  Team.  Is.  Different.

So here’s my info for you.  Got a pencil?  Great.  First of all, Maryland fans, you can’t just sit back and say “oh, they always win big games, I don’t need to worry.”  No.  You need to worry.  If your team doesn’t get its act together, there’s gonna be big problems down the road.  And I’m not talking about “woe is me, I can’t go to the Orange Bowl this year.”  I’m talking about going to a bowl game, period.  At all.  That is what you’re up against.  Every single game, every half, every down, is crucial.  This team needs to play tight!  Like their lives depend on it.  That’s the situation you’ve created for yourselves.  Don’t like it?  Jump in a lake.

This is an interesting matchup for Maryland, I must tell you. First off, my sources tell me that Da’rel Scott is rounding back into form. So the offensive line is bad. So what? The defensive line is bad, too. What’s your point? That it “hampers the team’s effectiveness”?!?! SHUT UP!

So if you’re Maryland, here’s what you do. You get your playmakers involved. Your Scotts, your Darrius Heyward-Beys, what have you. Okay? Just get ’em involved.  I don’t care how, just do it! 

Now, for Wake. They’re #19 in the country. It seems to me that they’re good everywhere, but great nowhere. They’re embodied by their steady if unspectacular quarterback Riley Skinner and a strong defense that is third in the ACC in turnover margin. They can pass on the Terps’ pathetic secondary, and they could really take advantage of the Terps’ offensive inconsistencies

But hold the phone, tiger. Did I say I was finished? No, I didn’t. Despite all this, the Deeks’ offense seems a little one-dimensional. They can’t punch it in! Is that what you want in a football team? Didn’t think so. They’ve had some success, but at the same time, they’re not going to overwhelm you. 

Bottom line:  do I need to spell it out for you?  Helllooooo.  MARYLAND GETS UP FOR BIG GAMES.  Plus they’re at home. And you’re wondering about the outcome of this? Are you kidding me? Please.  If they get their act together, they’ve got this one in the bag.

Now can we talk about something worthwhile? Like your financial troubles? That’s one of my favorite topics. You know, because you can’t keep living like a pig in the slophouse forever. Buying sweaters? For autumn? I just…I don’t know what to say. You need to change your behavior. How do you do it? Two words: cat food. I know, I know. It’s food for cats. But quit your whining, will you? You’re giving me a headache. None of your precious bridge club members have to watch you eat it. Just replace your regular food with cat food three, four, five times a week, and watch the savings pile up! Eat it in the closet if you’re too weak to face yourself. Now go away and leave me alone! You people make me sick.

Prediction: Maryland 17, Wake 13


maryland pulls the stunner in death valley

It was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Clemson seemed to move the ball at will.  As predicted, CJ Spiller showed-up to play and was running all over Maryland’s defense.  Despite getting two turnovers which resulted in great field position, the offense stalled due to penalties and the Terps could not get the ball into the endzone.  Maryland trailed 17-6 at halftime.  In the locker room, coach Ralph Friedgen told his team, “We’re going to find out what kind of team we are in the second half.”  The second half revealed the Terps to be winners.

The Terps were trailing 17-6 with nine minutes left in the third quarter when Darrius Heyward-Bey broke a 75-yard run on a reverse. Heyward-Bey showed his world class sprinting speed by blowing past the Clemson secondary.  That led to a 6-yard TD pass to Torrey Smith, and gave the Terps momentum.  They never gave it back.

Chris Turner showed that he could put the ball in tight spots and third-and-longs.  On a day where the running game never got going, the Terps put the game in Turner’s hands and he responded with consistency. Turner hit six different receivers, including four completions to red shirt freshman Ronnie Tyler.  Tyler showed sure hands in crucial spots.  Look for him to become a bigger part of this offense as the season progresses.

In the end, the credit for this win goes to Maryland’s defense. The two first half turnovers kept Clemson from running away with it early. Alex Wujciak had sixteen tackles and led a second half defensive attack that held the Tigers scoreless. In the second half, the D did a great job of containing Clemson’s speedy running backs and keeping them inside the tackles.  It seemed that every time Clemson completed a pass there was a Maryland defender right there to put a hit on and limit the damage.  The effort culminated in a crucial fourth quarter, fourth down stop that all but iced the game for the Terps.

This is a great start to ACC play.  Clemson is in the Atlantic Conference with the Terps, and this win puts the Terps on the right track to getting Tampa.  Coming into the game the Terps had received eight votes in the USA Today poll.  After two wins against top-25 teams, is it premature to say this team should be ranked? Fresno State is ranked and they haven’t beaten anyone good.  Am I getting carried away? Maybe, but I don’t care after a solid road win like this one.



friedgen inspired the win against cal

As I was watched the Terps beat #23 Cal on Saturday, I saw something from this team that has not been there in the past two years.  I saw a team that came out fighting.  I saw Heyward-Bey stretch for a first down to keep the drive alive on their second scoring drive.  I saw Kevin Barnes lay such a hit on Jahved Best that he went to his knees and puked.  I saw Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett lower their shoulders and punch it in at the goal line.  I saw a team that played with heart and confidence.

I’ll admit that I hit the panic button after the “unmentionable game”.  You can admit it too, don’t be ashamed.  After that game, Ralph Friedgen took the blame. This time around he deserves all the credit.  After a week of working with offensive coordinator James Franklin to put together an aggressive game plan that opened up the offense, Friedgen reportedly delivered one of those pregame speeches that makes men recall painful childhood memories and channel their anger.

Friedgen stood-up before the team on Friday night and asked, “Who in this room has ever been told he is not good enough?”  After raising his own hand the rest of the team raised their hands, and Friedgen went on to say, “How does that make you feel? It makes me mad. What are you going do to about it? That’s what people are saying about us. You have a chance tomorrow on national TV to show them who you are. We need to get after these guys as soon as they get off the bus.”

Despite the doubt we all shared about the state of the program after last week, it’s moments like this that remind us that Friedgen made this program what it is.  I hope this team does not forget the lesson they learned this weekend. There is a lot of season left and the ACC is weak this year.  If they keep fighting, they’ll find themselves back in a bowl game.  As someone who went to Maryland during the football dark ages, I feared the program was sliding backward to 1999. This weekend, Friedgen proved that he won’t let that happen.

Now get out there and kick some ass!

Now get out there and kick some ass!


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September 2020