Posts Tagged ‘Davin Meggett

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

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)

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.

22
Aug
09

is 2009 the year of the forward pass?

We'll see more of Jamarr Robinson this year.

We'll see more of Jamarr Robinson this year.

I just read Eric Pisbell’s column on Maryland’s deep receiving corps and I’ve been sifting through the preseason football camp logs on the umterps.com site.  They are excellent reading if you want to get yourself psyched up about the team.  The recurring theme in these reports is that the offensive focus in the preseason has been on the passing game.  One could argue that the passing game is in focus because that is where the Terps need the most work.  I see signs that there is something different going on this year.

Coach Ralph Friedgen seems to finally trust QB Chris Turner.  When asked which players have stood out in the preseason, Friedgen responded, “Chris Turner – he’s really doing a great job of seeing things, setting the defense, using his cadence, making decisions. I’m very pleased with how he’s playing.”  This is the first year in as long as I can remember that there is a clear cut #1 starter at the QB position.  Consistency has been the knock on Turner in the past, but he’s going to benefit from having all the first team snaps he needs before the beginning of this season.  Backup QB Jamaar Robinson has progressed.   Should Turner suffer an injury, the reports out of camp indicate that Robinson is a capable backup.  Robinson also gives the team a QB that can get out of the pocket and make plays on the ground.

When Friedgen took the team over in November 2000, he was touted as an offensive coach that knew how to balance the run with the pass.  The team’s success during his tenure has been mostly due to stout defense and punishing running backs.  While Maryland has a very capable set of backs in Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett, they have three standout receivers that have emerged from a field of ten.  Torrey Smith, Adrian Cannon, and Ronnie Tyler have all benefited from preseason competition for roster spots.  According to Prisbell’s article, the focus of the competition has been on limiting drops.  If the receiving corps can succeed in achieving their goal of limiting drops to 3% of passes, 2009 will be Maryland’s Year of the Forward Pass.

29
Oct
08

maryland plays down to nc state but egekes them out

The Terps played just well enough to win their football game in the rain this Saturday against NC State.  Obi Egekeze has not been nearly as automatic as he was in 2007, but this weekend he made one when it counted most.  After missing a 39-yard FG that would have broken a 24-24 tie in the 4th quarter, Egekeze hit the game winner from extra point distance to give the Terps a win.  That win brought Maryland into a tie with Florida State for first in the Atlantic with a 3-1 conference record and boosted the team into the Top 25 for the first time this year.

Despite the win, Maryland once again played down to the level of a clearly inferior opponent.  NC State came into the game winless in the ACC and losers of three straight.  The Terps went back and forth with the Wolf Pack for much of the first half, never put them away when they took the lead, and let them tie the game at 24 midway through the 3rd quarter.  NC State’s offense came into the game averaging 18 pts/gm, and Maryland’s defense once again let a struggling offense play above its potential to stay in it.

Da’Rel Scott was Mr. Consistency, running 23 times for 163 yards and a TD.  Davin Meggett also came up clutch with a 39-yard reception on a lob pass from Turner to setup the game-winning FG.  Despite their efforts, the Terps still needed a FG from Egekeze on a wet field to ice the game.

The Terps have the weekend off, then travel to Blacksburg next Thursday to face a Virginia Tech team that has had trouble scoring and is having QB injury issues. That game will be on national television and is a definite statement game. The Terps will need a convincing win to move up in the polls before the home stretch against UNC, Florida State, and BC.

I can’t imagine Maryland will win out, but if they do they’ll be guaranteed a spot in the ACC Championship Game. If you detect a negative tone to this post it’s because I feel like I’m watching a team that is once again close to getting over the hump, but demonstrated that it is incapable of consistently performing at a high level.  Tech has a good overall program but is having a down year. I think we need to go into Blacksburg and win big for people to start taking this program seriously.

The schedule only gets tougher after that. We’re going to need all the confidence we can get in order to win the Atlantic. Here’s to hoping we get over the hump.




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