Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Friedgen


Maryland football team loses to Duke, hits rock bottom, sucks


I want to congratulate the Maryand football team, with every sarcastic fiber in my being, for losing to Duke 17-13 today. That’s the same Duke team that hasn’t made a bowl game since 1994. The same Duke team that, between the 1999 season and this very game, has gone 19-101. Seriously.

Not to go over the cliff too much, but I think it’s safe to say we’re currently the worst-performing team in the ACC. 

There’s no single remedy for Maryland. We won the turnover battle 4-3 (yay, only three turnovers!) but couldn’t capitalize. Didn’t score a TD until late in the third quarter, and it was our only one. 67 total rush yards, 182 pass yards to Duke’s 23 and 371. At least we stopped their running game. Not that that was a “key to victory” or anything. It’s like saying we stopped a cat from barking.

Questionable coaching calls everywhere. Another too-little, too-late, stat-padding comeback attempt. The Terps actually ended this one themselves by coughing it up twice in the final five minutes. Torrey Smith caught a grand total of two balls for 13 yards. 38% third down conversion rate.  What else do you need to know? Thanks to good old ESPN360, I didn’t actually watch the game. But judging by the various updates and discussion boards, that is a good thing. Thanks, ESPN360! I never thought your evil would pay dividends.

Oh, were you thinking Duke is up this year? Bzzzzt. No they’re not. They’re still Duke. Duke sucks. Fu*k Duke. If they make a bowl game then I’m Shirley Chisholm.

As for Maryland, I’m just searching for a phrase right now. What’s the phrase I’m looking for…noodle dicks? No, that’s too mean. I wouldn’t want to call these guys noodle dicks in a forum that is at least technically public.  If I were to call them noodle dicks, which they are, that would be an insult to The Kids.  You gotta respect The Kids.  Especially the kind of kids that bench 250 and run 4.5 forties.

Oh, wait, I’ve got the phrase now.  Losers.

It’s nice down here with us losers, isn’t it?  Sometimes, they drop a bucket of fish heads on us.  That’s when we party!

At 2-6, the absolute best-case scenario is a 6-6, .500 finish. Raise your hand if you think they can do that. If you have your hand raised, please keep it up while I come around and collect your wallets. After all, I have a bridge I need to sell you. I’m going to assume you’re interested and just take your money. Your raised arms enhance the convenience of my doing so.

The best thing we can do is just move on as a people. Loitering only contaminates the crime scene. Let’s do the decent American thing and just pretend the rest of the season isn’t happening. Deal? Deal.


Danny O’Brien: Under a Blood Red Shirt


Aye, top o’ the mornin to ye. Is there anythin more pleasin to these old Irish eyes than to see a fair young Irish lad take to those emerald fields as the startin quarterback?  Nae.

And that’s why I was so overjoyed to hear that redshirt freshman Danny O’Brien, the young lad, might be relinquishin his red shirt to take the helm for the Terps.  But then, I was equally dismayed to see Ralph Friedgen a back-peddlin on the offer, even though he still says he’s thinkin about the future.  Ralph’s gonna talk with Chris Turner now, and methinks he’ll be blamin the old media for his gaffery.

To help Ralph in his deliberations, I wrote a wee ballad to tell the tale o’ Danny O’Brien.  Here’s hopin you be enjoyin it.  Did I mention I’m also part pirate?   Aye, tis true.  One-quarter pirate me matey.  It’s a shame Bart Lafitte ended up goin to LSU.

(Intro…it be a single Irish fiddle, a-playin- ever so softly)


Danny Boy, his countenance fair,
His chin goatee so wispy,
he’d lay the defense on its ear
and torch their backs so crispy.

But nae he’ll get the chance I fear
to bail out the season.
Chris Turner is the man this year
for nary a good reason.

(enter the liltin o’ the Irish flute)

O’Brien has a shirt of red.
His play would be to waste it
But as a fan I want him to
play so bad I can taste it.

It’s not that he would be the man
who’d save us from the grave.
In fact I think he’d be well served
to first learn how to shave.

But from a selfish point of view
(as most points of view are),
It’d be more fun with Danny Boy
o’er Chris or — ugh — Jamarr

Here ends me tale of want and woe
with just a simple plea:
If Danny Boy should be the man
the cornerstone of future plans
then keep him on your knee;
But if you’re givin up forthwith
or markin time til Tyler Smith
then why not give the boy his chance
and see if he’ll survive the dance?



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


I accept the fact that the football team stinks

After a long action- (but not so much sports) packed weekend, I finally got a chance to watch a DVR’d replay of the Terps game from Comcast SportsNet.  This was another one on ESPN360, which as I’ve said before, will not be receiving a subscription from me regardless of my Internet carrier. 

I’m not gonna go over the game in detail, because it happened a while ago and you know what happened.   The defense gave up 516 yards and 42 points, and their susceptibility to big plays reared up again.   You know how teams like to go to the run to set up the play-action pass for later in the game?  That’s what Wake did to Maryland, only they set up the pass for the rest of their season.  Oh, and the Terps lost Demetrius Hartsfield for at least three weeks.  The offense was equally dismal before some meaningless (and shameless) stat-padding in garbage time.

As of this post, I am officially accepting that this football team is not going to be good this year.  Sure, they might beat Virginia next week, but the default is still stuck in suck.   Everyone wants to say “hey, the division is still wide open!!!” after any win, and so forth, but it’s not wide open.  At least it’s not open to the Terps.   They have UVA at home, they’re at Duke and N.C. State, then home for Va. Tech, at Florida State, and end at home against B.C.  They’re 2-4 right now.  What’s the best-case scenario?  5-6?  6-5?  Blech.  That’s not even EagleBank Bowl territory. It’s just a matter of seeing whether our final record is enough to make the deciders buy out Ralph Friedgen. That’s the real drama for the rest of the season.


After Injuries, Offense is Running Uphill


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)


A Maryland-Clemson preview by The Hot Seat


What up.  It’s The Hot Seat, fool.  You know, I’m a lot like life insurance, or Santa Claus.  People don’t really think about me until it’s time to think about me.  But when it’s time, it’s motherfraggin’ time. Nothing else will do. Know what I mean?


No one’s learning that lesson any better than Ralph Friedgen.  Because I’m back in the CP, and I’m grabbin ALLLLLL the headlines. Ralph’s sitting on me for the first time in his career, and I am burning his a$$ like I was grilling a Chateaubriand.  From my perspective, better this year than last, I suppose.  You know. Because of the weight loss. But still…it ain’t pleasant for either of us.  But what other choice is there?  It’s program uncertainty this, and contract buyout that. Even The Bethany Beach Wave is piling on. And those beach people usually don’t get upset about anything. I should know. I vomited in a crib there once, and they didn’t even kick me out. They were just like, cool, have another margarita.

Okay, that last part never actually happened. I don’t get out much. I’m just a seat. Whatever, dude.

So back to the Fridge. What’s a fan base to do?  I’ll tell you what they do. They call me.  I’m like the Wolf.  I solve coaching problems.  I’m in my Acura, and BOOM, I was at Bentley’s in, like, 2.4 minutes.

And I’m cookin. I’m tellin you, man, I’m on overdrive. But it’s not working. Because Ralph’s contract ends after 2011. To get him out before then, it’s gonna cost $4.5 million. As we all know, the athletic department — hell, the university — just doesn’t have that kind of scratch. So basically, he’d have to quit. For him to leave that money on the table, I would have to get hotter than the blazes of Hell itself. Hotter than a Meagan Fox sandwich on Bar Refaeli with a side of Michele Trachtenberg. I don’t even know if that’s possible. Plus, it would just mean you’d get James Franklin that much earlier. Oh, you want to set him down on Yours Truly as well? Blow it up and start fresh? That’s another cool $1 million.

Man. I wouldn’t want to be you right now.

So now to the game. You know, honestly, I don’t know that much about football. I just show up, get the coach fired, and leave. I do my job, I get my glory, I go home. But from my perspective, both these teams are pretty mediocre. Clemson is ALWAYS mediocre. Dig up Bear Bryant to coach them and they’re STILL mediocre. To me, that’s just how Clemson rolls. But you know what? Maryland is worse than mediocre right now. They suck. They just plain suck. We could go through and be like matchups this, and “players to watch for” that, but what’s the point? That would imply that there are leverage points in this game…areas to be exploited. Until Maryland’s offense stops turning it over four times a game, and Maryland’s defense stops surrendering 72 points per game, isn’t it all just kind of a superfluous exercise? Not to get all political, but it’s like breaking down Iraq’s chances against the U.S. military. “Well, if the Republican Guard can just hole up in some key buildings, and the IUDs catch some Humvee tires…” No. That’s bull crap and you know it’s bull crap. It’s gonna be a butt-whoopin, period. Maryland is gonna get worked in every game until further notice. Or until Yours Truly — one way or another — rides out of College Park. Metaphorically, of course. I don’t really ride anywhere. Again. I’m just a seat.

Prediction: Maryland 13, Clemson 30

P.S., if you liked my guest post here, throw these guys a vote for Best Terps Blog in the Mobbie Awards. It takes two seconds, buddy. I know you can do it. Sheeeeeeeeit.


Rationalizing the Clemson Game

Hey, can I root with you guys for a while?

Hey, can I root with you guys for a while?

Here in the middle section of the Eastern Seaboard, this is a pretty doggone pleasant time of year.  The air gets a little crispness to it, but it’s still your choice as to whether to don the windbreaker.  Your choice, my friend.  The trees outside are just tipped with red and gold.   The rowdy teens are back in school.   The holidays are not so distant anymore.  And, of course, football season begins in earnest. 

That’s why it’s such a shame that the Terps are basically DOA as the meat of the ACC schedule begins.

There are five stages of greiving:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.   In looking back over my recent posts, I realized I’m firmly entrenched in the bargaining stage. Namely, I’ll pretend there’s respect to be gained in “playing for pride,” if it makes the rest of the season more interesting and non-humiliating. But you know what?  That’s no way to spend an autumn.

But as Clemson looms this Saturday (and make no mistake — they are looming), I’m just not seeing a way out of it.

There are things that Terp fans can cling to. Such as:

— Star Tigers running back C.J. Spiller is playing hurt and isn’t an every-down back right now.
— There’s not much to fear besides Spiller on the offense, which still shows an inability to close out drives and games.
— Nasty defense still strong (18th nationally in total defense last year, 26th thus far in 2009) under new head coach Dabo “Only A Football Coach Would Have This Name” Swinney, but still even the hometown guys don’t have much faith.
— Clemson is 2-2 so far, including a loss to TCU.

So Clemson isn’t exactly USC, but if you look at Maryland…well, they have the same problems only worse. How will they stop Spiller? How will the O-line keep the defense at bay? Is “just cutting down on mistakes” easier said than done?  Clemson has a new coach, while ours is on a seat so hot it’s turning the Medifast bars to ash before they can even reach his mouth.

I guess my point here is that I feel like this time of year should be exciting, but I’m too busy rationalizing for that to be true.  And what’s worse, I can see depression and acceptance on the horizon.   The terrain between “playing for pride” and “playing out the string” is characterized mainly by slippery slopes.  But hey, we’ll see.  Go Terps!


Punter Travis Baltz injured, Turner to just throw long interceptions on fourth down


Adding injury to insult, punter Travis Baltz is out at least two weeks after a late hit during Saturday’s loss to Rutgers. The best player on our special teams is said to have a “very swollen” ankle.

Great. Thanks so much for that, Rutgers special teams player Steve Beauharnais. Nice surname.  What is that, some kind of foo foo breakfast sauce?  Guess who’s getting a flaming bag of dog poop punted against his dorm room window this week.  If you said “Steve Beauharnais,” you are correct.

But on the field, where do we go from here?  If Baltz misses extended time, what chance will he have of meeting Ray Guy?  How will the offense function without its safety net?  They can’t fumble on EVERY possession. For those times when a turnover didn’t happen, backup Ted Townsley and place kicker Nick Ferrara combined for a 32-yard average and one bobbled snap. Powerhouse.  By comparison, Baltz was averaging about 40 yards and — if you can believe it — has ZERO turnovers on the season. Not exactly filling the shoes there, backups. What would Ray Guy think?  We need to get you all one of those inspirational message bracelets.  WWRGT.  So that you may never forget.

With the Terps needing to reassess the goals of their season, Baltz and his run for the Ray Guy Award could have taken on a role similar to that of Zach Greinke and his bid for the Cy Young Award, which is currently the only thing keeping Kansas City Royals players and fans coming to the ballpark. Baltz ranks 63rd in the nation in punting and fifth out of nine guys on the watch list. Perhaps not Ray Guy material, but he could have rebounded. We could start taking a knee for the first three downs. Heck, punt on first down. Would it change things THAT much? See, this is outside-the-box thinking. Are you reading, Fridge? You can’t put a price on this stuff.

(Photo credit: Some woman named Anne)


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.


Terp Football Fans: Should I show up to boo, or just burn my ticket?


I’m glad someone woke up John Feinstein. He must have finally finished his latest tell-all book about the William and Mary soccer team.  Let me guess: it’s a place where sports still mean something.

Just a couple weeks after making some waves by claiming rightly that ACC football is irrelevant on the national stage, yesterday Feinstein noted the growing swarms of Boo Birds at Maryland and Redskin games. More fans seem to be eating their “Boo Berries,” if you get my drift.  They’ve got a case of the “Boos.”  Their teams “make them sick” to the point where they want to “lash out like Huns after a break-in at the meadery.”  If you take my meaning.  Because mead is an intoxicant.

Sometimes I hear a little too much talk radio in Feinstein’s columns, but he’s right. Terp fans are angry over what could be a dreadful season. And I’m not talking about the overreactionist “OMG SOMEONE NEEDS TO THROW ACID IN DEBIE YOWS FACE” contingent. A lot of the rank-and-file fans seem to be getting fed up, too, and they’re fighting back with their mouths and, more ominously, their wallets. Another Post story today notes that attendance is down at Byrd by nearly every measure: last Saturday’s MTSU game had the smallest crowd since 2002. Season ticket sales are declining. And that’s even before we bring up the luxury boxes.  These people, they just don’t know true poshness when they see it.  That’s REAL particle board, people!  That stuff doesn’t grow on trees.

Does the economy play a factor?  Surely.  But would the attendance dip be as bad if the team wasn’t also dipping like a bag of Scoops at an AA meeting?  (zing.)  No. Look at Michigan, one of the hardest-hit states economically. The Big House is packed every time.  Byrd could be, too.  The team doesn’t have to win the ACC every year — just be competitive.  Don’t embarrass your fans.  Is that too much to ask?  For instance, what about that Murfreesboro vacation I was planning?  You think I can still show my face there?  And I heard they just got a Mattress Discounters.

Bottom line:  we wouldn’t be having any of these conversations if the team was winning.  In many ways, sports is an easy business. 

(Non-topical final note:  If you think the Lions don’t have Sunday’s game circled on their calendar, you haven’t been watching the Skins. Booo, Snyder!)


Contact the authors

Tips? Questions? Comments? Tirades? E-mail us here.
Add to Technorati Favorites
September 2020