Steffy “looked more than fine in the 1st half”? Are you kidding!?

“More than fine”. That’s what The Baltimore Sun’s David Steele wrote this morning. “More than fine”.

With all due respect to Mr. Steele, who has been writing since I’ve been alive, are you nuts?!?!?!

It may sound like bloggers and Terp fans are dumping on this kid, but there is no way that the Terp coaches can watch the tape from Saturday’s game and tell anyone with a straight face that Steffy was ‘more than fine’ in the first half. It’s right there on tape. As they say, the tape never lies.

First let me say again, Steffy is a good kid. He works real hard and I wish him nothing but success in whatever he does. Maybe it was the concussion he got in the Va. Tech game in his freshman year. Maybe it was some of the mistakes he made two seasons ago in relief of Sam Hollenbach. Whatever it was, he is a different player than the one we thought we were getting coming out of Pennsylvania 5 years ago. Remember he was the second ranked QB out of Penn that year behind Chad Henne (now with the Dolphins). He was a swift guy with a good arm. Now he looks scared back there. Not scared to play, but scared to make mistakes, scared to take chances. Perhaps scared to run with the ball after those heavy hits.

Let’s examine some of his first half plays. They let him throw the ball twice right out of the gate. The two screen type passes that the west coast offense is all about. It was about giving Steffy some confidence back there and he threw them fine. Most of us could have thrown those fine. Then they run the ball with fantastic results until a 3rd down, must pass down in Delaware territory. Here come the happy feet.

With the rush coming, the confidence is gone. He’s looking around, eyes locked on ONE guy the entire time. The ENTIRE time. Watch the tape. On his first 5-6 throws, he’s locked on the receiver from the time he gets the ball. Better teams bait him and return it to the house.

Later in the half on the play that we should have been called for grounding, the Delaware player blitzes right up the middle. Steffy has his eyes locked onto someone to the left and doesn’t see the blitzer until he’s right on top of him. How can you not be aware of your surroundings!? It’s not as if the blitzer was coming from the blindside, he was coming right up the middle. Be aware!

Those are what stands out for me in the first half. Sure, if we make those field goals, the score looks better, but when you look at the tape, Steffy is just not getting it done. Plain and Simple. Not to mention the second half, where he crushed any momentum gained by Barnes’ interception, by throwing it right into the numbers of a linebacker. Horrible. And he fumbled away another field goal attempt by holding onto the ball too long and taking a sack/fumble.

The guy is not a Div. 1 starting QB. Mysterious thumb injury or not, he will not win you games. He was supposed to not lose you games, but he gave it his best shot on Saturday. I’m not saying Chris Turner is a superstar, but the guy gets back there and plays the game. He may throw an interception here and there, but he takes chances. With so many talented athletes on offense, let them do the work for you. Get them the ball somehow. Let them make a play. Don’t throw into triple coverage, but show some confidence back there. Don’t bail everytime and look panicked. Turner is the guy who should be leading this team. There is too much at stake and the Fridge should not be putting his legacy and perhaps job on the line for somebody who tries hard and is a good kid, but just isn’t good enough to play QB for a BCS conference team.

We don’t need someone to be “fine” or “more than fine”, we need somebody to be good.

Delaware Game Thread

Welcome to our new home! Clearly it is a work in progress, but our move from MVN came with little notice.

Thanks to Hurricane Gustav, the LSU game has been moved from its time slot and guess who ESPN has decided to show instead? None other than the budding Terps – Blue Hens rivalry. Well, this certainly beats hovering over my laptop, watching the game on a slingbox.

Gregg and I are excited to see the Terps speed today. Our young RBs and WRs can run with anyone in the NCAA now. I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

I’ll be adding to this post throughout the game, but as always, please feel free to post comments below.

3:45PM – The ACC is going to be bad this year. Va Tech just lost to East Carolina? Yikes. The door is open if the Terps start strong.

4:02PM – Our field goal kicker sucks. I can’t pronounce his name, but he always seems to miss kicks. Steffy moved the ball at least. Let’s see if they can put a drive together after being buried deep in our own territory.

4:06PM – The running game looks good. They need to keep softening up the Blue Hen’s D with some nice runs. That should open things up for Steffy. He needs all the help he can get.

4:10PM – We have ourselves a running game! Look at Terrell Scott go! Keep pounding it Franklin. Keep pounding it.

4:12PM – Another missed field goal. Awful. We run it down their throats and then we fall in love with pass. Steffy on third down is downright scary. Echedfsdaoguro is going to kill us this year.

4:23PM – It is hard to imagine that the defense isn’t a little discouraged. They held Delaware scoreless but Maryland should be up by 14 points. Steffy gets another chance. God help us.

4:25PM – Meggett and Scott are making me forget about Ball and Lattimore. Portis gets another shot but he needs to throw the ball once or twice to keep Delaware from stacking the box.

4:40PM – The defense looks pretty solid, but without offense; we look terrible.

4:41PM – Yeah baby! There you go. The pass wasn’t terribly accurate, but it was single coverage. The best part was that the Terps capitalized immediately. 7-0 Maryland.

4:45PM – The Maryland defense is back on their heels. They are getting no pressure on the QB. The RBs are moving the pile.

4:50PM – Nice stop by the defense. The Terps forced them into a tough field goal kick. Can someone explain to me how Delaware has a better field goal kicker than Maryland. I realize he missed it; but it was partially blocked and was still on target. 7-0 Terps

4:55PM – ESPN just showed us a glimpse of the Fridge’s office. They mentioned how proud the Fridge is of the photo of him and George W. Bush. Just thought you would like to know that.

5:00PM – This is a nice little drive. I’d like to give a special thanks to the official for blowing that intentional grounding call. Overall, Steffy has managed the clock well; but he is not able to do anything with his throws if his first option is covered. It’s either a panicked scramble or a throwaway.

5:01PM – Egekoioiue makes it a trifecta. New Rule: I don’t have to spell Egekrfkrksuu’s name correctly until he proves he can make anything other than an extra point. Halftime – 7-0 Maryland. Suffice it to say that I am underwhelmed thus far.

5:23PM – Now that is how you start a half. Let’s jam it down their throats and start putting this game away.

5:24PM – Classic. Steffy throws an INT right into the LB’s chest. What a terrible QB. Get rid of this kid already!

5:36PM – The Terps need to stick with the running game. The coaching staff has spent too much time in the monkey house when in comes to Steffy. Here’s what I mean: when you go to the Zoo and first walk into the monkey house, you can’t believe how bad it smells. After spending 10 minutes in there, it smells fine. The coaching staff doesn’t realize how bad Steffy is because they are too close to the situation. He is an absolute shit show.

5:40PM – Trivia Time! Who is worse? Egekeosaouu or Steffy? The coaching staff says Egekkrkeiu as the Terps go for it on 4th and 18 and forgo a 48 yd field goal attempt.

5:45PM – Thank heavens for our defense. Granted if we could kick field goals, we would be up 19-0; but the defense has really been great. here’s the plan for this drive: run, run, run. Put Portis in and run the option.

5:50PM – I’m glad Coach Franklin is reading Turtle Soup. Delaware can’t stop the run. Maryland scores easily with successive runs by Scott and Meggett. Finally, we finish off a drive. 14-0 Maryland.

6:00PM – Portis looks no better than Steffy. Can we please see Turner? Please?

6:10PM – The defense is really playing fantastic. I’m just hoping for one more score at this point so we can get away with a cosmetic win.

6:22PM – The Terps have not been able to pressure Delaware. That scares me as the schedule gets tougher. Teams will picks apart if QBs have all day to throw the ball.

6:28PM – So much for a cosmetic win. This next series will be fun. Delaware will stick eight guys in the box and try to stop the run. Who comes to QB for Maryland?

6:32PM – Predictably, Maryland goes three and out. Turner’s wild overthrow on third down was the lowlight. Nothing like sweating it out against an inferior opponent.

6:34PM – Delaware throws a pick on the first play. Terps still need to a first down or two. Let’s get a moral victory. Don’t punt this away! Finish the game with the offense on the field.

6:42PM – That was an unimpressive win.  At least we can run the ball.  The staff needs to figure out the QB situation or we could lose at Middle Tennesee State next week.

Turtle Soup Is Moving

Hey Soupers! Not only is today the start if the college football season; it is also the start of a new era for Turtle Soup. MVN has been so great to us over the years, but we are moving on. All traffic to this site will start redirecting to our new home.

Please bookmark us. It will be the same great site, content and community (assuming you all switch over).

MVN Is No More

MVN has decided to stop supporting college sports since Turtle Soup was the only property that had any traffic. I sincerely apologize for the total lack of site design, but I literally had to throw this up at the last minute. Gregg and I will still be writing for the site.

There are two ways to get here:

We will post a thread about the game tomorrow.

Game 1 – Delaware

Alright Soupers. Game 1 of the football season is upon us. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to finally see some Terps football after last season left a bad taste in all of our mouths after the offensive collapse against Oregon State, and the 3 tough winable games that our boys just could not get.

It’s a new year with a new Offensive Coordinator and some new and exciting players. I’m interested to see how Kenny Tate plays in our defensive backfield. What about Davin Meggett as our backup running back? He seems to have all the goods for a youngster. Of course the story of this team and perhaps what will define this season and maybe even Ralph Freidgen’s tenure in College Park is the Quarterback race.

The Fridge has chosen Jordan Steffy and it’s up to us to support that decision until Steffy proves himself one way or another. We’ll see, but for the sake of this season I think we all hope Steffy can get it done.

As for our first opponent, devoted Souper Wheels gave us a nice preview and I’ll reprint it here:

Delaware returns 6 starters on offense and 8 on defense. They run a 1 back, 3 wide with a TE offense. Their top returning RB ran for 395 yards last year (playing behind a 1,500+ yard and 20+ rushing TD All American), and they have a fairly large O line (6’3” 285 lb average) with only 2 returning starters. All three receivers are under 6’, although one caught 73 balls last year for just over 1K yards.

On defense they run a standard 4-3 set. They return 7 of their back 8 players (LBs and DBs), including their top 2 tacklers. All three LBs have really good size (all 6’2” 230 lbs). Both DTs are new starters but have some size (both listed above 285 lbs). Of course, being a D1AA school, Delaware’s size really falls off after the starters.

We all know that Delaware has one of the top D1AA programs in the nation, and the preseason rankings reflect their success (Delaware is a preseason Top 10 pick in almost every forecast). The program is used to winning, so they won’t be awed by MD’s stadium, fans, or red jerseys. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a close game at the half, although I am hoping it is not close.

If Ralphie was calling the plays, I’d expect 3 yards and a cloud of dust against Delaware. He would just want to grind out a win, taking advantage of MD’s size and depth. Having seen a couple KSU games over the past 2 years, I think that Franklin might come out calling a bit of a loose game. So much of this team depends on the confidence of their offense, specifically at the QB spot. This is a game where MD should have the back ups in after the 1st drive of the second half. That’s what I’ll be looking for. If Steffy is still in there halfway through the 3rd quarter, I tend to think that the game will be close.

So Terp fans out there, what do YOU want to see out of this first game? What would define as success in the season opener? And how are you all who do not have DirecTV going to watch it!?

***Note to all readers and posters****

Unfortunately, our powers that be are shutting down MVN this weekend for a major upgrade. The upgrade is not unfortunate as the sites should be much improved, but we will not be able to post from Saturday morning thru Monday night. I would have loved to have put up a thread to discuss the game this weekend, but Turtle Soup will have to wait until Tuesday morning to talk about the season opener. Thanks for everyone’s patience and Go Terps!!

Hoop Schedule Released

Well folks, here it is.

And it’s not easy.

The 2008-09 Basketball Schedule:

Sat. Nov. 8 vs. Northwood (exhibition), 2:00 pm
Fri. Nov. 14 vs. Bucknell, 8:00 pm
Tue. Nov. 18 vs. Youngstown State, 8:00 pm
Fri. Nov. 21 vs. Vermont, 8:00 pm
Thurs. Nov. 27 vs. Michigan State (at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando), 7:00 pm, ESPN2
Fri. Nov. 28 vs. Gonzaga/Oklahoma State winner (Old Spice Classic in Orlando), TBA
Sun. Nov. 30 vs. opponent (Old Spice Classic in Olando), TBA
Wed. Dec. 3 vs. Michigan, 7:30 pm, ESPNU
Sun. Dec. 7 vs. George Washington (BB&T Classic at Verizon Center), TBA
Fri. Dec. 12 vs. Delaware State, 8:00 pm, CSN
Mon. Dec. 22 vs. American, 8:00 pm, CSN
Sat. Dec. 27 vs. Bryant, 2:00 pm, CSN
Tue. Dec. 30 vs. Elon, 8:00 pm
Sat. Jan. 3 vs. Charlotte, noon or 1:00 pm, CSN
Wed. Jan. 7 vs. Morgan State, 8:00 pm, CSN
Sat. Jan. 10 vs. Georgia Tech, noon, Raycom Split
Wed. Jan. 14 at Miami, 9:00 pm, Raycom Split
Sat. Jan. 17 at Florida State, noon, Raycom Split
Tue. Jan. 20 vs. Virginia, 8:00 pm, Raycom Split
Sat. Jan. 24 at Duke, noon, ESPN
Tue. Jan. 27 vs. Boston College, 7:30 pm, ESPN2
Sat. Jan. 31 vs. Miami, 8:00 pm, Raycom Split
Tue. Feb. 3 at North Carolina, 8:00 pm, ESPN2
Sun. Feb. 8 at Georgia Tech, 7:30 pm, FSN
Sat. Feb. 14 vs. Virginia Tech, 4:00 pm, Raycom Split
Tue. Feb. 17 at Clemson, 7:30 pm, ESPN2
Sat. Feb. 21 vs. North Carolina, 3:30 pm, ABC
Wed. Feb. 25 vs. Duke, 9:00 pm, ESPN
Sun. Mar. 1 at N.C. State, 7:30 pm, FSN
Tue. Mar. 3 vs. Wake Forest, 9:00 pm, RSN
Sat. Mar. 7 at Virginia, 3:30 pm, ABC
Mar. 12-15 ACC Tournament at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta

Last 5 games: (home vs. UNC, Duke, and Wake plus 2 tough road games) We’ll need some big wins to be dancin. Start praying Gary has some more magic up his sleeves!

Steffy Is Your Starter

For better or worse, Jordan Steffy was named the Terps starting QB on Monday morning. Apparently all three QB’s were close and the Fridge said he expects all three to play at some point, but apparently he feels the most comfortable with Steffy at the helm.

Here is an excerpt from the Washington Posts article this morning:

Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin canvassed a handful of players for their opinions, and about two-thirds felt Steffy was the right choice. Franklin then conferred with Friedgen, who made the final call.

The players also noted that Steffy prepares more than any other QB. Not sure exactly what I think about the whole thing. I guess Steffy gets his shot to prove everyone wrong and if he falters, I’m sure it won’t take half a season to make the switch. It’s up to Steffy now to go out and lead this team.

What the Weak Dollar Means to College Basketball

Recently, I am sure you have heard the news about foreign multi-nationals coming in and buying up US assets. First it was an Abu Dhabi conglomerate buying the Chrysler Building. Then, it was the venerable and iconic Anheuser Busch being sold to a Belgian Company for $52 Million. As comedian Lewis Black put it, “You know you are in trouble when you are losing out to Big Waffle.”

What other deals lurk on the horizon? How about Josh Childress signing with a Greek team for $20MM/year tax free? the Atlanta Hawks countered with a mid-level exception offer of $5.5MM. You don’t need to know a thing about basketball to correctly guess which offer was accepted.

Some may think this is a blip on the radar, but let’s take a look at the underlying economics that made the deal possible. The US Dollar is currently worth a paltry .67 Euros (In 2002, the two currencies were at parity). $20MM/year is suddenly only 12.5MM Euros. Granted that is no small sum, but there are a Greek soccer stars who routinely sign for that kind of money. Childress could never earn that kind of money in the NBA.

As basketball continues to grow in popularity, so too will the demand for the games best players. Even the college game is not immune. Let’s look at the case of Brandon Jennings. Jennings may be the best prep point guard in the country. Jennings just jilted Lute Olson and the Arizona Wildcats to play in Europe for a year before planning to enter the NBA draft in 2009. Hailing from Compton, CA; economics certainly played a part. Whether or not Jennings would have ever qualified to play in college academically is immaterial. As illustrated above, a weak dollar means that euros go a lot further these days.

(What’s more, who’s to say that if Jennings is successful that he doesn’t decide to remain in Europe? He won’t be able to get $20MM/year as a lottery pick.)

Basketball players historically have had at maximum, 15 years of earning potential in the NBA. Most NBA players have far shorter careers. If as a prep player, you can extend your professional playing days by four years by choosing to play overseas; the option becomes a viable one. Especially, when European club teams can approach NBA salaries.

Josh Childress doesn’t even start in the NBA and he signed a contract worth $20MM/year. How much could Lebron, Kobe, or D-Wade earn overseas? $50MM/year?

In years to come, why would a player like Greivis Vasquez play for free in college when he can earn millions in the Spanish league? Not evey D-1 player has the skills to play overseas, but many of them do. Better than half of the starters in the ACC wind up playing professionally (most overseas). I think it is inevitable that we will start to see a migration of prep players to Europe. The weak dollar only exacerbates this migration.

This trend may soon force the NCAA to deal with the elephant in the room. Big-time college athletes (by that, I mean those playing revenue producing sports of football and basketball) generate millions of dollars for their schools, yet they earn no money for their efforts.

We’ve all the arguments for and against pay college stars, but if high school start going to Europe in en masse, the NCAA may be faced with having to either start paying their athletes or see college athletics slowly disintegrate.

The QB Question

The Fridge says he’ll have a starter named this weekend, but after hearing it was a two man race all spring and summer long, it seems Josh Portis has had one hell of a last two weeks. It’s now been reported that it is a 3 man race for the starting QB job with all candidates showing both strengths and weaknesses.

Jordan Steffy is the safe pick (according to Fridge). He won’t make mistakes, but will not wow you. I believe Freidgen’s words were something like he’ll “dink and dunk you”. We’ve all seen Steffy in game action and I think it’s safe to say, he’s not the fans first choice. He works hard and deserves credit for that, but he has yet to show he can lead this team and stay healthy. After years of uncertainty at the position, we need somebody who can make things happen. I think Steffy can get us 6 or 7 wins, but not 8 or 9.

Chris Turner is the guy we saw grow up last year. He wasn’t always perfect, but when you lead a team to wins over two Top 10 teams, one at home and one on the road, you see he has something special. It’s well known the guy doesn’t practice as well as he plays in games. Personally, I’ve seen enough to know I think he deserves the chance to start the season and let his play dictate whether he stays in the role.

Portis is the wild card. I think it’s safe to assume that he will be on the field in most games regardless of who is ultimately chosen to start. He brings that added dimension of game breaking speed and agility (we’ve heard) that this team desperately needs. Portis should not be your starter, but can come in for a change of pace or we could even play two QB’s on the field at the same time. That should sufficiently confuse the defense.

Alright Terp nation, who should start?

Hoops Talk

Ask and ye shall receive devoted readers. While football season is around the corner, the hoops season isn’t that far off. Stories are coming out on web sites all over the place and most of them have our Terps headed for another NIT. We all know Gary works best when expectations are low, so here’s another chance for him to pull a Lou Brown from Major League and give all those sportswriters “a big fat s&$%-burger to eat”.

This is your forum for Terp basketball. Post away and thanks again to all you posters for all the great information and insight. We will follow up this post with one about football so everyone can choose which sport to chat about.