Can the Terps Defy Death (Valley)?

Winning a football game in Death Valley is a rare occurance for Clemson opponents. Few venues in the ACC boast a larger capacity than the 81,473 seats in Memorial Stadium. The Terps have posted victories in Death Valley only three times since 1985- roughly 27% of the time.

The odds are against the Terps this time around too. Before the season started, every prognosticator practically handed the Tigers the ACC Title. Clemson possessed arguably the best QB in the ACC in Cullen Harper, and the best HB tandem in the country: James Davis and CJ Spiller. On paper, the Terps had no chance to beat Clemson on the road.

Then the season started. While Clemson’s backfield is still as talented as anyone’s; the Tigers struggled mightily out of the gate. Alabama rolled over Clemson in their season opener 34-10. Suddenly Clemson didn’t look so tough. However, it turns out that Alabama is a damn good team. They are blowing out everybody. Losing a nuetral site contest against the Crimson Tide suddenly doesn’t look so bad.

What’s more, Clemson has looked good since losing in week 1. They dismantled NC State (who just beat an excellent East Carolina team) and have been thrashing inferior opponents (something the Terps have not be able to accomplish).

Is Maryland up to the challenge? Physically, the answer is yes. Da’Rell Scott may be better than either of Clemson’s runners. Chris Turner has gotten better each week since taking over the starting job. Maryland has a bigger win to its resume than any victory Clemson has achieved. The Terps redeemed the entire ACC with their huge upset of California, but questions remain.

Can the defense keep the opposing team from stringing together long drives? So far the answer to that question has been “sometimes”. Terps defensive coordinator, Chris Cosh, has shown a reluctance to blitz. In my completely unprofessional opinion, college teams need to blitz. The opposing QB is always going to be a young kid between 18-22 years old. Force said youngster into bad decisions by bringing pressure! Resfusing to blitz is almost unheard of in football. It means the QB can sit back in the pocket and wait for receivers to get open. Simply put, Cosh’s scheme puts way too pressure on the secondary to make plays. For the Terps to win on Saturday, this needs to change. It is time for Cosh to show us something.

Can the Terps win on the road? Last year, the answer was “yes” The big win at Rutgers proved that the Terps can get it done. This year’s loss to Middle Tennessee State (shuddering) changed that perspective. If Maryland can’t beat a Sun Belt team filled with SEC cast-offs; how can they win in Death Valley?

I think the key for Maryland will be to control the time of possession by orchestrating long drives that utilize the Terps breadth of backfield talent. I think Da’Rell Scot is already the best tailback to wear a Terp uniform since Lamont Jordan and when it is all said and done; he could be the best ever. Maryland will need to lean on Mr. Scott on Saturday if we are to eke out a win.

Secondly, our kicker, Egekesaouiewfwe will need to get off the schnide. (I mentioned in an earlier game thread that I won’t refer to him by his given name until he gets himself out of the doghouse. Sorry, garbage kicks against E. Michigan won’t do it). The kid may be given the opportunity to be the hero on Saturday. He needs to seize the moment and make the most of his chances. The Terps have no margin for error. If we have a chance to put 3 points on the board, we have to be successful every time. No excuses.

There you have it. If Maryland’s defense plays aggressively (read: blitzes); if the offense controls the time of possession, and if our kicker doesn’t miss any FG attempts; the Terps might actually pull out a victory. That’s three if’s.

What do you think? Can they do it? I posted a poll on the right hand side. Is Turtle Soup made up of a bunch of homers or a bunch of pessimists?



  1. Of course they CAN do it…will they? Yeah, I think they just might. But they’re gonna need to get pressure on the QB because the defensive backfield is banged up and the more time the receivers have to get open, the more we’ll get picked apart and eaten alive.

    I think the Terps need to add a wrinkle to the offense…put Scott AND POrtis in the backfield with Turner under center. Will it be a run, a pass, an option (run or pass)? Get the defense confused and wasting timeouts. Keep them on edge and then just take it to them.

  2. GO TERPS beat the kitty cats.

    Meanwhile….Here’s some B-Ball Pick Up Game nuggets from my inbox:

    Hayes has been looking good, more assertive on the offensive end. hitting the open jumper with regularity, and occasionally finishing with his off (left) hand at the rim. Hayes looks stronger, and is playing with lots of confidence.

    Adrian Bowie continues to look much more comfortable from the perimeter, making more than his fair share of jumpers. With his ability to slash, this new found long range accuracy opens up his game and makes him a much more potent offensive force.

    Sean Mosley played as if his legs were tired as he was a bit careless with the ball, and his normally reliable jumper was not finding the mark.

    Cliff Tucker was effective doing the little things…a steal here, a nice pass there, a defensive stop. Things that help teams win. But his shooting is still streaky, and that is an area in need of improvement. Still, his versatility will help the Terps as he can play multiple positions. If he can become more consistent with his shot he’ll get significant minutes.

    Dino Gregory has been hitting his mid range jumper. He is definitely stronger, and like Tucker, will have to do the little things to find his playing time.

    Dave Neal is limited athletically but he can shoot, plays smart, is strong doesn’t have a propensity to do the “WTF was he thinking” type of things.

    Landon Milbourne has played consistently hard during pick up games. Pretty much outrunning everyone on the team. He’ll play both the SF and PF position this season. At the 4 spot he will be hard to handle in an open full court offense. He’s been showing a lot of leadership. Landon’s speed and quickness are his greatest assets, and his perimeter shot has been solid.

    Braxton Dupree looks great, down about 25 lbs from last year. He is KEY to any success this team may achieve this year. He is the one potential low post scoring force, though he has yet to show it at this level with any consistency.

    The guy has the ability to score with either hand, and has a tremendous outlet pass. Scoring inside is great, but his ability to get rebounds and start the break is critical.

    Last night, Jerome Burney was a defensive force, blocking two jump hooks from Dupree, and adding a number of rim rattling dunks on the other end. The main thing we need from JB is defense and rebounding. He is not much of a scoring threat at all, so any points are a bonus.

    Steve Goins has been playing some recently, and appears to have decent hands and a nice touch. He’s having difficulty adjusting to the speed of the game at this level and stamina appears to be a problem, so his conditioning will have to improve for him to get on the court this year. Definitely a work in progress, but he is strong.

    If Dupree and Burney stay healthy or don’t get in deep foul trouble, it’s doubtful Goins gets playing time this season. Mainly looks like an insurance policy/emergency help as a freshman for this year.

    Greivis Vasquez NEVER gets tired, he never stops hustling, he is constantly encouraging teammates (and on occasion, berating them!), and always tries to win.

  3. Good stuff DBR. Nice to hear the youngsters are coming along somewhat in the offseason.

    I don’t think the Terps have a prayer in Death Valley. Any kind of effort on their part to keep themselves in the game will be exciting. It they actually pull it out, it will be wonderful to watch. Death Valley is loud as hell. They have good fans down there and it is always tough.

  4. Hey guys been a while since I have the new site! Goings is in! still no word on JSK according to Gary him self. You can read about this and more here!

  5. Thanks DBR! Looks like they applied themselves in “summer school.” Jeremy, I like your analysis. The only thing I’d add is that I think the Terps will need to put 31+ points on the board. If the offense can light it up and the defense can give them some good field positions with turnovers, I think they’ve got a chance. If the offense sputters, I don’t think our D can win the game for us without the offense showing. Oh, one more thing, we need some big plays from our special teams. A couple of good kick-off and punt returns would help. Go Terps!

  6. Basketball updates are always a nice thing to read about. It has been many months since seeing our beloved Terps play last. This year will be very interesting to watch. The first games against these non-conference opponents are must wins if we are to have any confidence going into the ACC. Thanks DBR as always for the great info!

    On to Terps football…Clemson is beatable. We’ve seen it. Granted it is against a really good team. We do need to blitz and show them different things on offense. I love Brian’s idea of having Scott and Portis in the backfield with Turner at quarterback. The Clemson D will literally have no idea where the play is coming from. Will Turner throw it? Will Scott run? Will Portis run? Will Portis throw? It just provides so many different possible combinations on each play.


  7. DT Travis Ivey could play this week vs Clemson. Coaches hope he is good for some 15-25 plays backing up Jeremy Navarre. That could be big as the Terps starters, especially Navarre, have been worn down of late with 65-70 plays a game.

    Don’t know what kind of condition he’s in but the Terps desperately need some depth on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers OL is young and kinda nicked up so if we can keep our guys on DL fresh hopefully they can bottle up the thunder and lightning.


  8. Nice update DBR, I am getting excited about the season.

    We can beat Clemson but we need to hang about 35 on the board to do it. Our D is just too banged up and not aggressive enough to stand up to their O.

    Go Terps!

  9. Thanks for the update DBR….I couldn’t help but notice that there was no mention of GV. Is he still in recovery mode or is he doing the ramba with Chavez in Venezuala?

  10. Stevend the email I got only had a small mention about GV at the end. My guess is that “the observer” saw no significant change in his game. The other players were either, better shooters, more confident, leaner, stronger etc.

    But based on other updates I’ve received GV seems to have healed from his offseason ankle surgery and is going at full speed.

    After watching OSU beat USC I have hope for the Clemson game. Can’t wait til noon tomorrow.


  11. Just got an other B-ball email…this time about recruiting:

    Heads up…if you’re on campus and see Jordan Williams limping, he’s got a badly sprained ankle. People that are hoping for him to pop to UMD this weekend should lower their expectations. The recruiting game for Williams has blown up suddenly and all at once, and it could take some time to sort it all out. He’s a ’09 recruit that nobody was talking about before June so this is all new and kinda overwhelming to him and his family. He also has an official to St. John’s planned for October 4, and a possible trip to Marquette later in the month. Indiana is also in the mix.

    Chuck Driesell and Robert Ehsan made another trip to the Patterson School this week to check out Kazemi and to meet with his advisor who’s opinion will factor greatly in Kazemi’s decision. The advisor planned to be at the visit that all the coaches, including GW made last week but he lives in Houston and Hurricane Ike altered his plans. Louisville, UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Seton Hall,Missouri, Stanford, Rice, Oklahoma State, and Arkansas have all visited Patterson to see Kazemi work out. From that group, Seton Hall and the Terps have emerged as early leaders, and official visits are planned to both campuses.

    Kazemi can’t visit schools until he takes the SAT on 10/4. At this time, it looks as though he will visit UMD October 17 for Maryland Madness and the Homecoming football weekend.

    Marcus Thornton is beginning to breakout, and the Georgia native (he either goes to Jerome Burney’s or Landon Milbourne’s old HS) has offers on the table from Clemson and UM. He is hoping to visit College Park on October 17 for Maryland Madness. Thornton is a 6-8 forward with outstanding athleticism.

  12. Oregon State’s win should be quite an emotional boost for the Terps. Since we played the Beavers so close in the bowl game last year, the Terps have got to be thinking, “if the OSU can knock off #1 USC, we can take out #20 Clemson.” Come on Terps make our weekend special!


    Word is that 6-8 Forward James Padgett, from Lincoln HS in Brooklyn, popped to UMD today with a verbal commitment. This is the Terps first verbal for the Class of 2009. Padgett chose the Terps over offers from Pitt, Providence, St. John’s, West Virginia, Seton Hall, South Carolina, and Oklahoma State. Sources say the commitment is pretty firm as he wants to get away from the NYC area. His game is described as 15′ and in, a very good athlete and, given the style of ball played in Brooklyn, a warrior.

    He caught the coaching staff’s attention in July during AAU play in Las Vegas. He’s not a flashy player but does produce/fill the stat sheet without a lot of spectacular ‘wow’ plays. And I’m told this kid is willing to do ‘the dirty work inside’.

    Padgett is one of the top players in New York according to NYC Hoops. They claim he’s a tough player on both ends of the court and is one of the major reasons for the success of his HS team which has won back-to-back league championships.

    Meanwhile Jordan on campus with his parents as you read this.


  15. That’s awesome. I like to hear the words “likes to work hard and do the dirty work”. Our championship team was full of guys like that. We are full of guards right now, we could use some post players.

  16. Thanks DBR. I know its premature, but i hear those kind of words you think about Lonny, Ryan Randle, Jamar Smith. Guys that maybe weren’t as blessed but guys that played in the paint. Based on our offense, you know Gary loves a big guy in the paint he can feed the ball to, so this will surely add needed depth.

  17. Looking at DBR’s comments about Landon, Eric, and (to a lesser extent) GV,got me to thinking… there anything better than Junior year in a college basketball player’s life? They are shedding the “underclassmen” tag and (hopefully) realizing that their time to shine is a limited one. They start to take responsibility for the team, realizing that they are the ones who will determine their own legacy. I know that the start of my junior year in college park was a realization that I would not be there forever and it was time to get something done. With EV sounding more resolved, Landon sounding more explosive and GV sounding, well, I guess, just like GV, I can’t help but be excited about this upcoming year.

  18. The Terps getting a guy out of the famed LIncoln HS in Coney Island is interesting. Anyone read “The Last Shot” by Darcy Frey? On of the greatest sports books of all-time in my opinion. Also noticed Linocln is coached by Tiny Morton, he of the Seton Hall team that went to the Final Four in ’89.

  19. Eddie good observation. In fact, Seton Hall coaches visited Padgett in his home just this week.

    Padgett is a run/jump athlete who does some quality work around the rim.

    According to Padgett’s HS coach coach Dwayne Morton said Padgett chose UMD because, “He liked the fact that he will get to play right away and he loved the campus.” In addition Morton said, “Padgett also liked the coaching staff.”

    This kid visited UMD in a few weeks ago and described his visit to one reporter as “fair”. At that point it looked like Padgett to UMD was possible but not likely. Just goes to show how topsy turvey recruiting is. And if the past 12 months has shown Terp fans anything it’s that ANYTHING can happen with recruiting.

    The Terps need to put a huge push on Jordan Williams, show him as much love as the NCAA will allow and try to get him to pop like Padgett did. If he doesn’t pop, then perhaps they take Kazemi if he wants to come. I am guessing the coaches would like an answer from Jordan Williams before mid October, when Kazemi is tentatively scheduled to visit.

    Oh and I got an email telling me that Dave Neal dunked a few put backs in pick up action. DAVE NEAL DUNKING? Gotta be the new S&C coach’s effect. Go Dave.

  20. It’s gonna be a long game today. Terps are chasing on D, which is not a good sign.

    That DB Allen is pathetic…he’s lost out there.

  21. Clemson has 100+ yds rushing in the first quarter. YIKES.

  22. Big play on special teams. Let’s punch it in!

  23. Dammit, 3rd and goal from the 1 foot line, and we jump early…Dicks!

  24. OMG that penalty was a killer. You’d like to think we could get 1 yd on two tries, even with the lack of ground game we’re showing so far today.

  25. Another critical penalty kills a big run. Get your heads out of your asses boys!

  26. FUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. WOW. I am way behind on the action. I’m following GAME CAST online :)

  28. Another freakin’ penalty…this is gettng ridiculous. Mental errors all around.

  29. Two trips inside the 5…6 points. That is not going to cut it on the road. Especially against a team that we’ve only stopped because of turnovers.

  30. Can’t stop the run…how much longer till we change up the defense? This is pathetic

  31. D is getting blown out. O not taking real advantage (TDs) of turnovers. You can’t do this on the road.

  32. Clemson is doing whatever they want to do on offense. They must feel like it’s an intra squad scrimmage. I can’t follow the Game Tracker anymore. It’s way too discouraging seeing Clemson getting 6, 16, 35 yard rushes and the Terps getting -3, 2, 2 yards rushing. And has DHB touched the ball yet?

  33. @DBR,

    No Heyward-Bay isn’t getting the ball. He had one that he let go through his hands, and Turner has floated ducks his way, and isn’t finding him when he’s wide open either. It’s just looking like a long day at the office…

  34. 17-6 and this game isn’t nearly a close as that! The coaching on both sides of the ball is horrble for MD. We need to completely change what we are doing. Use the talent we have to our advantage. This is like a stat boosting scrimmage for Clemson,the QB has all the time in the world, huge holes in the line, pathetic… if we don’t make the changes, second half will be a 30 point blowout.

  35. Chris Cosh, prepare your resume.

  36. +3 in turnovers, -13 where it matters. Let’s cut it to 4 at the half, we get the ball to start, make the Tigers nervous!

  37. What was that crap? 3 plays where each pass was under 5 yards down the field? Take a goddamn shot when there’s only 45 seconds left!

    Who are the coaches? They’re terrible today!

  38. That should say “What are these coaches smoking?” (I know, totally different than what I actually typed the first time)

  39. Overmatched…in every way.

    MD’s defense has that “flood gates about to open” look and feel.

    MD’s offense can’t run the ball, so they have become predictable. The 3 flase start penalties have totally disrupted their flow. All starts and fits. We don’t see that from Clemson. They are in the flow.

    Spiller and Davis = Good. Both will be millionaires next year for sure.

  40. I don’t know how that was a pass interference call, but that was nonsense. We just look terrible though. Turner has no arm strength with those floaters he tossing around out there.

  41. Back in it! DHB looked like he ran out of steam on that end around, getting caught from behind but a 4 yard TD pass and we’re within 4!

    Let’s go Terps!

  42. Killed our momentum with that timeout…why are we running up the gut when we haven’t been successful all day. Where’s the misdirection? Turner still can’t throw on target…

    But we’re still in this thing!

  43. Woot! LET’S GO TERPS!!!

  44. Nice stop on 4th and 1, lets close this bad boy out!!!

  45. 32 seconds left. game should be over but another costly penalty. The game is still in our hands!

  46. And it’s in the books! 20-17 MARYLAND OVER clemson!!!

    Great job by the defense in the 2nd half! Cosh should prepare his resume during every game!

  47. Unbelievable game…amazing.

    How did they win that game? I watched it and I can’t believe it.

  48. I’m not sure if I’ve got this right, but after about 200 yards rushing in the first half, it seems like our fine terrapins only gave up 25 yards rushing in the 2nd. That is a pretty amazing turnaround.

  49. Great win on the road in Clemson!!! I didn’t see the 3rd quarter, but this was an UGLY win- great, but UGLY. We should be ranked in the top 25 now, however, there is a chance that we won’t if you base it on the performance of this game. If you just look at the final score it is HUGE, beating Clemson in Death Valley. We have tons of talent,we just have to show consistency and adaptability when things aren’t working. Congrats to the team.

  50. Caught most of the 4th quarter on the internet radio. This Franklin guy must be great at the x’s and o’s. Is it true this team hasn’t come close to reaching its potential? If so, a lot to look forward to I haven’t been following this team as closely as others on this blog.

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