Posts Tagged ‘Nolan Carroll


A Maryland-MTSU preview from President Barack Obama

obama-superman Good afternoon. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. You know, just yesterday I had a chance to visit with a few folks out at the Comcast Center.  Doin’ a great job over there. And while I’m here in Terp country, I wanted to talk for a moment about the true cornerstone of my presidency: sports predictions. So.  Let me take this opportunity — to — share some thoughts — on tomorrow’s — game.

Look.  You may recall that Middle Tennessee State upset the Terps last year in Murfreesboro — a city in which — I imagine — I am not welcome.

But I don’t wish to discuss the divisive politics of the past.  I wish to discuss Dwight Dasher, the MTSU quarterback — who does it all.  Literally.  He accounts for 80 percent of the offense and more than half of their all-purpose yards. Philip Tanner, their running back, is out for this game.  But no matter.  Because Dasher leads the team in rushing yards with 193, along with 435 passing yards. I’m sure that if Dasher could throw the football — to himself — he would also — lead the team — in — receiving.

Now.  Make no mistake. Maryland is experiencing some adversity.  Instead of left tackle Bruce Campbell, who is a mountain of a man, we have Paul Pinegar, whose last name — rhymes — with “vinegar.”  Instead of safety Jamari McCulloch, we have Eric Franklin. Instead of cornerback Nolan Carroll, who is — the team’s — fourth-leading tackler — we have Cameron Chism.  At least Nolan will be tossing the coin to start the game. In a similarly empty gesture of conciliation, I have asked my staff to consider Nolan as the nation’s first Czar of Tibular Health. He will be the first person to ever hold this office. No one — no one –will ever be able to take that away from him.

Look. It is all going to come down, once again, to the lines for this Maryland team. No one in this country should ever have to be embarrassed on television just because they cannot hold a block or wrap up a running back. And if they don’t come together as one, I fear that the Terps — could be ripe — for another — embarrassing — day.  But in the end, MTSU will be susceptible to the Terps’ attack. Under Chris Turner’s leadership, these Terps have always risen — off the mat — in times of need.

So. With all due respect to the Blue Raiders, I will select the Terrapins for the victory today. And this is despite my trepidation. I would not be the first president to witness a Middle Tennessee State victory over the Terps, but with any luck — I will be the last. Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the Terrapins of the University of Maryland.

Prediction: Maryland 24, MTSU 16


Wujciak: Walking the Talk?


When your defense gives up 90 points in two games, it kind of gets fast-tracked to the top of the oh-shit list. As previously noted, I think the Terps’ defensive success hinges on middle LB Alex Wujciak. Wujciak has a team-high 17 tackles. He’s certainly not playing poorly. But on further review, Wujciak has six solo stops, only 0.5 tackles for loss, no TOs forced or recovered. He’s like NFL Lavar Arrington — always getting there just quickly enough to jump on the pile and high-five his teammates. Put another way, Wujciak needs to do more than make tackles. He needs to make plays. And so far, he hasn’t made enough, in my opinion, especially in this new blitz-happy scheme.

A recent quote of his got my attention. When asked for his reaction to CB Nolan Carroll’s season-ending injury, he responded thusly:

“He broke his leg? That’s going to hurt us. He’s our leader.”

Interesting choice of leader, when Wujciak was the unit’s clear standout last year and earlier this summer discussed pretty extensively his desire to be a big-time player.  Is it just me, or is he reluctant in (or abdicating) this leadership role?  (Also, way to be aware of your teammate’s situation.)

I know he’s only 21.  And there’s plenty of blame to go around for the defense. Not every star player has to be William Wallace or Stephen Hawking (you know, minus the Lou Gehrig’s disease) out there. So maybe I’m drinking too much Haterade.  But he’s one of my favorite guys on the team. I have high expectations. Big hopes.  And out of the gate, it’s clear the D needs some on-field guidance. Wujciak was teed up by everyone — including himself — to provide that guidance. Here’s hoping he does. Soon. Anytime is good.

(Photo credit: Adam Fried/The Diamondback)


Dear Meow Mix Bowl organizers


Dear Meow Mix Bowl organizers,

My letter to you today serves a dual purpose.  First of all, I want to apologize to you and the entire Meow Mix family. I have belittled your bowl game event in the past, and I realize now that I was remiss in that.  Meow Mix is a very high-quality brand of cat feed.  Maybe the best.  I have found your Hairball Control variety to be particularly effective, with my fictional cat now horking up, oh, say, 25 percent less hair, thanks to your special blend of enzymes and catalysts. It also comes in little Xs and Os, much like our human cereal.  I like that.  Did you determine that those shapes make the feed more, like, visually appealing to the cats?  Brilliant.  Again, a tip of the cap to you for all the great work you do.

I sing your praises today, however, not only because of your unwavering commitment to delivering first-rate cat feed at affordable prices, but to ask that you add a new team to your bowl game watch list: my beloved Maryland Terrapins. I know, I know, we’re just two games in, and they’re 1-1. And they now finish a relatively easy homestand with Middle Tennessee State, Rutgers, and ACC opener Clemson. Not too daunting, but they probably need to go 4-1 to be a “contender,” and 3-2 to be respectable. Truth be told, after JMU I wonder about the prospects of obtaining either of these records. The ACC is soft this year and can definitely be had, but still, I wonder. And I worry.

And that, Meow Mix Bowl organizers, is where you come in.

You see, the thing is, we haven’t played particularly well as of yet. Our young and executionally challenged lines mean that we stall on offense, and need our defensive playmakers to overblitz and play help roles. And we have injuries. Big left tackle Bruce Campbell and little safety Jamari McCulloch are both out again this week, and now CB Nolan Carroll is likely done for the season. This is not good. And don’t get me started on Alex Wujciak. That’s another letter.

So anyway, this all brings me around to my request. Maybe you can go ahead and slot us in for Meow Mix this winter? Kind of like early admission to college; we won’t accept any other bowl offers, but you have to give us preferential status.  I know we would be honored to play in the Meow Mix Bowl. And I can speak for the program on that one. Really. I have that authorization.

So in closing, thank you again for providing such a top-flight cat feed formula — the cat feed formula so good, so delicate in its flavor profile, so toothsome for the feline pallette — that cats literally ask for it by name. Can Whiskas make a similar claim? They cannot.  When did you last hear a cat request Fancy Feast?  It is unpossible.  But also, and almost more importantly, thank you for considering the Maryland Terps for the Meow Mix Bowl, which provides an amazing fan experience for consumers young and old, who receive not only valuable exposure to the Meow Mix brand and family of products, but also to a moving and spectacular American football demonstration. Thank you for your time.

Bobby the sick boy with cancer


Terps Defense Needs a Hug, Alcohol


My name is Don Brown. I’m from Quincy, Mass. I don’t have any hobbies, but I do like to get >beeeep< after a victory on Saturday night.

–Don Brown, Terrapins Rising

Great quote, Don. After all, who doesn’t like to get beeped after a Terps W? Sometimes, I like to get so beeped I can’t even beep. However, I have a feeling he might have been downing quite a few mini bottles on the flight back from Oakland following the season-opening dismantling at Cal.

To further what is likely an inappropriate motif here on this back-to-work Tuesday, Patrick Stevens over at D1scourse has a rather sobering breakdown of Brown’s Maryland debut. It’s enough to make you want to hurl. Not since 2001 have the Terps given up 500 yards in one game, and only once in that time have they given up more than 40 points. Eight Cal plays alone racked up 300 yards. This signals that Brown’s attacking style kinda, sorta didn’t work at all. If you’re gonna send the blitz from all positions and angles, you’ve got to a) consistently make big plays in the backfield, and/or b) keep enough guys in the secondary area to put up some kind of “defense” against the home run. If you’re gonna try to confuse the offense with your super-complicated packages, it’s probably a good idea for the executors of said packages to not also be confused.

Also, what happened to all those big, big stars we were supposed to have? Where was highly touted D-line replacement A.J. Francis? Oh, he was invisible? But his training camp interviews were so colorful! He wants to be a rapper omg I can’t believe it that’s so cool. What didn’t translate for the redshirt freshman? He must be secretly injured. Even more surprisingly, though, was the absence of Nolan Carroll, our fifth-year senior and supposed leader in the secondary. Oh, was that him eating Jahvid Best’s road exhaust on the opening touchdown? At least he was on the screen. I didn’t see Alex Wujciak once. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Wujciak is the key. I’ll leave it at that.

At this point, let me add the disclaimers — just one game, hindsight’s 20-20, it’s a new scheme, this was the best team on the sked, it’s a young group learning on the fly. But after this meltdown, it’s clear that the defense is not just “a few plays away.” No. They need to work. So for the sake of Terp livers everywhere, get to it! James Madison — beatable, but no pushover — looms.

(Photo credit: Tony Avelar/AP)


Training camp’s got me all buzzy


This season’s training camp in College Park is a little like Lenny Dykstra’s bankruptcy. It’s intriguing, it’s kind of exciting, and at the moment, it’s raising a lot more questions than it’s answering. But unlike Nails, we’re not ready to “do the 11” on Maryland’s prospects just yet. For truly, as Terphed indicates, now is when hope springs eternal. There’s a buzz in the air. And anyone who knows me knows that I will stop at nothing to catch that buzz.

It’s evident where the question marks are: Can the offensive and defensive lines (lost four and six guys, respectively) solidify? Can feature back Da’rel Scott keep the momentum he gained, lost, and regained last season? Can linebacker Alex Wujciak be a real, honest-to-goodness star? Will Chris Turner “Lay it Down,” or will it be more of the old “Round and Round?” Can punter Travis Baltz use his heat-ray vision to melt those defenders who would rise against us? Can punter Travis Baltz also kick extra points and field goals? How can a D-1 school have so much difficulty finding a decent place kicker?

But let us not ponder these areas. Now is a time for optimism. Without further ado, the upsides:

— Punter Travis Baltz. He’s on the Ray Guy Award watch list. I can’t even see him no more. The air is just too rarefied.

— Offensive skill position players. Da’rel Scott coming off a 1,133-yard season including a 174-yard, two-touchdown A-bomb on Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl. The receivers are young, but Torrey Smith, Ronny Tyler, and Adrian Cannon could lead an underrated attack. Lansford Watson might become a receiving threat at tight end.

— Secondary. Hello! I’m Nolan Carroll. You might remember me from such projects as “2006: The Year I Was A Mediocre Receiver.” But after that season, I switched to the other side of the ball, toiled my way up through the special teams ranks, and am now a heat-seeking missile in the Terps’ defensive backfield. If you watch “Terrapins Rising,” you know that. If you don’t, please learn that. Anthony Wiseman is at the other corner slot. Terrell Skinner, Jamari McCollough, Kenny Tate (who also switched from wideout), and Antwine Perez comprise a rock-solid safety corps.

— D-coordinator Don Brown. He’s got a bunch of crazy blitz schemes and plays an aggressive style and what not. Sounds like a good d-coordinator to me.

So there you go. I’m sure I missed some, but whatever. I’m not a scout, nor do I play one on my blog. We’ll just have to see how it all shakes out…between the white lines….of BATTLE!

(Photo credit:


Terrapins Rising recap: Episode No. 4

Have a few words with the CANNON

Have a few words with the CANNON

Thought I would offer a little retrospective on each episode of Comcast SportsNet’s documentary show Terrapins Rising. Think Hard Knocks, the scrubbed-clean collegiate version. Where are the recaps of episodes 1-3, you ask? SHUT UP! I’m lazy in the summer. And ornery! I’m like the Derrick Coleman of Shell Games. Maybe if I could peel Terphed’s lips away from the keg tap, I’d be a little more pleasant. I’m like a single mom in this bitch. He’s the Vin Baker of Shell Games.

So episode 4 was pretty good. It started with a scary moment, when Doak Walker award candidate Da’rel Scott and arguable top defensive player Nolan Carroll collided and collapsed during a scrimmage. Or rather, it would have been scary if it hadn’t happened four months ago and I already knew they were both okay. (The show chronicles spring practice, new season practices start Aug. 10.) Always jarring to see someone carted off the field, though, as Carroll was. Luckily all he got was a headache.

The show also served to introduce viewers to receiver Adrian Cannon. A lot of the receiver talk currently centers on Torrey Smith, but if Cannon can find some consistency, look out. Either way, they both have real nice wide receiver names. How can you go wrong when your top two guys are Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon? Smith and Cannon, son. And that’s real. Throw LaQuan Williams in there, and we can NOT lose.

Finally, the show followed Jamarr Robinson, who is battling, apparently against himself, for the backup QB spot. He seems like a smart guy, charismatic, well-respected, but I want everyone to just admit that he isn’t going to become a factor for this team. It almost seems unfair to him. The guy never makes any plays! Let’s just go ahead and make a clean break, put Daffy Duck or whoever in the backup slot, and go from there. I think that’s the best thing.

Until next week!

Photo credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass (former Diamondback photog)


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May 2020