Posts Tagged ‘Travis Baltz

30
Oct
09

How Is the Football Team Spending its Bye Week?

Ever wondered what football players and coaches do during the bye week? Specifically wondering about the Maryland football team, who after consecutive losses to UVA and Duke now finds itself at 2-6 and nearly becoming the universal pick for worst team in the ACC?

Well, wonder no more. Through our inside sources, Shell Games has provided this exclusive update on coach and player bye week activities. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

— Chris Turner: Shivering in a Simi Valley irrigation ditch

— James Franklin: Shivering in the film room

— Don Brown: Shivering in the bar room

— Ralph Friedgen: Shivering beneath an Old Country Buffet steam table

— Demetrius Hartsfield: Shivering in a training room hot tub

— Entire offensive line: Shivering through inspirational visit to spackle factory

— Anthony Wiseman and Cameron Chism: Shivering. Just shivering. So dark. So very, very dark.

— Da’rel Scott and Davin Meggett: Carrying footballs along the beach. Sipping cold drinks out of football-
     shaped glasses. Clutching stuffed footballs in sleep. Shivering.

— Nick Ferrara: Long Island. Banging.

— Travis Baltz: Saving shivering children from trees

— Torrey Smith: A whirlwind tour of the country, stopping in Oakland, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis…
     you know, just for shits and giggles.

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28
Sep
09

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

Hbowl2008_062_travis_baltz

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)

20
Sep
09

Middle Tennessee Freaking State Freaking Owns Freaking Maryland

Look at this photo.  Look at it!

Look at this photo. Look at it!

They beat us in their house last year. Now they’ve beaten us in our house this year. All this talk about revenge game, and this and that, and this is what happens. Another year, another group of Blue Raiders jubilant at Maryland’s expense. Gah. I’m gagging. Need air. I need to breathe!

Okay. Get a hold of yourself, man. Whew. So I should probably mention that I didn’t actually watch the game, mainly because it will be a cold wet day in Hades before I cough up any money to the Evil Sports Programming Network for ESPN360.com. They could put the Super Bowl on there and I still wouldn’t pony up. Fuck them. That’s right. Fuck you, ESPN. Fuck ESPN360.com. And fuck this fucked up ACC TV deal. You want my wallet, you pry it out of my dead hand.

Whoa. Okay. Breathe. I’m a little angry. The morning after and I’m still upset. I may be misdirecting a bit but I’m still salty with ESPN for doing this. Anyway, a bunch of us were getting updates from a friend via cellphone, and it looked like we had it in the bag. That is, until Middle Tennessee State drove the length of Byrd Stadium in the final moments to kick a game-winning field goal. Read that sentence again. Guess what the key play was on the drive. Cameron Chism — Nolan Carroll’s replacement — was burned for 35 yards. What was a team strength — secondary — is now a glaring weakness. Jamari McCulloch can’t come back fast enough.

Other problems: Poor tackling. Missed field goals. Turnovers, including one by backup QB Jamarr Robinson, who played a whopping three snaps but somehow managed to lose a fumble. Again, the lines were porous. And in general, the offense and defense don’t seem to be, what’s the word, functioning.

Bright spots: 287 all-purpose yards from Torrey Smith. To be fair, Chism had two interceptions. Chris Turner had 288, 2 TDs, 1 INT, although he was sacked four times. Travis Baltz had a 40.6 punting average. Rock solid!

Bottom line: Two consecutive losses to Middle Tennessee State = unacceptable. Period. Ralph Friedgen has a lot of work to do. Everyone says his job is safe because the assumption is he’s going to fulfill his contract (this season then two more) and then fade into the sunset. Fine. But right now, there’s a playing-out-the-string feel to all of this that can’t continue. Fridge seemed angry after the game. Good. I think the team can round into form during the ACC season, but it’s not gonna happen automatically. Get to work, guys. This is humiliating.

(Photo credit: AP photo/Murfreesboro Daily News Journal)

06
Sep
09

Even Travis Baltz got outplayed

Aw, man! Geez. As if getting crapped on 52-13 wasn’t enough, the jewel of our special teams entire roster was handed his hat in a mano-a-mano punt-off. That’s right. The mighty Travis was beat out.

I know what you’re thinking. Something like that, well, it’s just hard to believe. Hard to accept. But the numbers, I’m afraid, do not lie. Better take a seat. I’ll wait. In fact, pour yourself a drink while you’re at it. I know it’s 10:18 in the morning, but a steady nerve is paramount at times like these. We do what we must to steel ourselves. TRAVIS BALTZ HAS BEEN BESTED, WOMAN! DON’T YOU SEE WHAT THAT MEANS?!?!? Now bring me the snifter.

Ah, that’s the stuff. It’s very stiff. Very burny. Now I have the courage I need to explore the stats. For Baltz, the punting average was 38.8. For Cal Punter Bryan Anger, himself a Ray Guy Award watch lister, it was 44.8. For Anger, three punts landing within the 20 yard line. For Baltz? Zero. Never mind that the Terps were rarely close enough to the red zone for Travis to have that opportunity. Never mind that! I know if Travis were here, he wouldn’t make those kinds of excuses. Neither will I.

I’ll be honest, man. I don’t know where we go from here. I just…don’t know. Maybe Travis just needs a little time. He’ll be back to fight again. If I know Travis, which I don’t, then I know that.

10
Aug
09

Training camp’s got me all buzzy

maryland_girls2008_01

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: TechSideline.com)

30
Jun
09

Our punter is like the Ferrari, no no, the MAYBACH of punters

Writing about football in June is like starting the Christmas shopping season on November 1…but until people buy more Thanksgiving crap, you leave the poor retailers little choice. After all, what would you have the Hallmark store do? If you don’t want to see Xmas ornaments in the summer, buy more Kewpie snow globes and Administrative Professionals Day centerpieces. Or else, stare down the maw of a world lacking these products. It would be just like that video game.

The same goes for sports media. There are no offseasons. The beast must be fed.  The machine must be oiled and luby at all times. That’s why I’m doing a story about a punter right now. Punters are the Santa Clause mouse pad of the Shell Games offseason. Well, that, and the fact that the Maryland football team stinks.

Yeah, that’s right.  Wrapped up in the offseason analysis and optimism, like a ball of dog crap inside a warm fluffy layer of mashed potatoes, is the simple reality that the team is likely headed for more mediocrity. At best.  The Terps lost four guys on the O-line and three on the D-line. Only 10 starters total are returning. Perhaps that’s why a lot of different places, including this outstanding if depressing preview from the New York Times college sports blog, basically have the Terps squeaking into a bowl, any bowl, as the best-case scenario. (Perhaps the EagleBank Bowl?!?! Fingers crossed!)   Recruiting problems — yes, more recruiting problems! — are also  to blame here, according to the Testudo Times.

So with 7-5 or thereabouts on the horizon again, on to what do we hang our rationalizations when the leaves begin to assume their autumnal splendor?   The punter.  That is what. Travis Baltz, baby.  Also known as the team’s only All-America prospect.  I gotta say, he has legs for miles.  Last year he made all-ACC first team with a 41.1 ypk average. And mind you, he was just a sophomore.  Can you believe it?  My head spins when I ponder the upside.  With a weapon like that in your field-position-battle arsenal?  Forget about it.  Thanks for coming, guys.  Because when our possession’s over, that’s when it’s game over for you.   So just keep inciting us into those false starts, you oblivious fools.  Travis Baltz will be our Grond.

Field position battle count: Opponents, jack squat. Maryland, eleventy thousand. That’s the only scoreboard I need.

So yes, big things expected from our punter. BIG THINGS. Here’s hoping he can block for himself as well.  With the upside of Baltz, anything is possible.  See you between the white lines, buddy.   Santa mousepads?  I’ll take three cases.




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badge/terps.win.jpg

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