DBR Update – 10/31/08

Happy Halloween folks.

Not much going on this week with the football team on bye and basketball season yet to get underway.  I’ve been trying to write a basketball preview for weeks and I just can’t seem to a get a sense of this team.  I’m sure I’m not the only one. It will be a wild ride in College Park this year.  More to come on this later.  For now, here is the latest from DBR:

Lots of speculation about the Jin Soo Kim situation, but until we hear a final decision has been made , that’s all it is…speculation. It’s really an effin’ mess as JSK is already behind in terms of learning the system, practice time and conditioning (although he may have been slowed there by recovery from shoulder surgery). You’d have to think that the coaches have an 8-9 man rotation in mind by now.
JSK’s status affects recruiting, as the numbers are tight, and the Terps are still, pursuing Arsalan Kazemi, 6-7. However I’m told that Rice may be the leader for Kazemi as that school is in Houston and Houston is where Kazemi’s adviser lives. Also, Kazemi stands a better chance of stepping right in and getting major minutes as a freshman at Rice. Kazemi visits UMD in about a week.
Clearly a ‘ship would have to be available in order for UMD to sign Kazemi this fall. If JSK gets rejected by the NCAA, then we have a ‘ship. However you’d have to think that UMD would honor Kim’s commitment and he could sign with the Terps next fall, if all his academics are in order. Right now it’s ‘hurry up and wait’. A final decision should be coming in the next week or so, if not today, depending on yet another possible appeal.  It’s Halloween so lets hope the NCAA Clearinghouse gives UMD a treat today.
A new recruit has popped up on UMD’s radar for 2010 and it’s 6-6 SF Daryus Quarles. Word is that he’s terrific shooter.\

Survival! Terps Now 6-2!

I hate not being able to watch these games. With all due respect to Johnny Holiday, listening to him doing the broadcast is infuriating. The guy misses things and won’t tell you what happened until 5 seconds after the play is over. I ended up just listening to the crowd in the background to determine whether it was a positive or negative play.

This team is something, and no matter how close it was, this was a big win.

To quote Rob Schneider from Necessary Roughness: “In a monsoon, it’s anybody’s game.”

And it was.

Since I didn’t watch it, I’ll defer to you guys for specifics, but all that matters is that the Terps put together one hell of a final drive, going over 90 yards and overcoming 2 holding calls to kick the winning field goal. Kudos to Obi Egekeze for hitting that 47 yarder early in the game and with what sounded like a sloppy field, you can’t blame the guy that much for missing the other FG, can you? He hit it when it counted and we are now 6-2, bowl eligible and have a long season still to go.

Not sure what was wrong with the defense today. It’s hard to believe a defense can play that great last week and then stink it up one week later, but they did come up big late and gave the offense a chance to win it, and they came through.

We’ve got as good a shot as anyone, as you can see that Virginia now controls its own destiny after upsetting Georgia Tech. I still think the UVA loss was a bad loss, but the Cavs have sure turned it around, haven’t they?

Let’s be glad the Terps got this victory and move on.

Terps/NC State Thread

Today we’ll find out a lot about our Terps. Will they rise up and defeat an inferior foe, or will they once again play down to their competition and allow the Wolfpack to hang around to beat them in the end. I wish I had the answer, but I have no idea which Terps team will show up. And since the game is not televised except for ESPN 360, I won’t be watching. (Though if anyone can find a way to watch it elsewhere online, please let me know!)

I’ll be listening to Johnny Holiday and following the game online, so if anyone is able to see it out there, please chime in now and then with some comments so I can follow what is going on from the fan perspective!

The weather is not expected to be good, but I think a team with a good offensive line and solid running backs (and a QB who can run) can still have a good day. That is us, so there should be no excuses!

Go Terps!

A Note from DBR – 10/24/08

Before we get into DBR’s latest from the recruiting trail; the Terps need to care of business on Saturday. No excuses. If we aren’t 6-2 24 hours from now, I am giving up on the season (not really, but I am damn tired of the inconsistency).

As for the updae, I can’t tell you how excited I am for the Leek Leek era. I don’t care about the kid’s skills. This needs to happen.

The week started off great with the commitment of Jordan Williams (JW plans to sign a LOI with UMD on 11/12), and then we hit a speed bump with the news about Jin Soo Kim.
Lots was discussed yesterday about JSK’s status so I won’t rehash that only to say that “time keeps on tickin, tickin” into the future and I’m not feeling to confident this will work out in JSK/UMD’s favor. This underscores the Terps efforts with Arsalan Kazemi. He has taken the SAT’s and has an offer from UMD. Kazemi wants to sign early and from what I’m told Rice & UMD are his leaders. However Kazemi wants to play a lot as a freshman and that, along with his advisor living in Houston, could tip the scale in Rice’s favor. Kazemi is a 6-7 combo forward and is scheduled to visit College Park on 11/8.
No feedback from Roscoe Smith or anyone that tripped with him to Maryland Madness. I kinda got the feeling that the main reason he came was to show support for his friend Sean Mosley. Word is that Smith is VERY high on UNC and the Tar Heels are showing interest but have not yet offered. Everyone I talk to indicate that as soon as UNC offer’s Smith a schollie he’ll pop to them.
Meanwhile, the coaches continue to do a good job of identifying recruits EARLY and getting them on campus for visits. Today two recruits will be making unofficial visits along with their coach…someone named Keith Gatlin LOL.
The players are 7-0 freshman (class of 2012) Deng Leek, and his brother , 6-6 Leek Leek, a sophomore (class of 2011).
In other recruiting news, Junior forward Marcus Thornton, 6-8, is scheduled to make an unofficial visit on Monday. And, a kid DBR would love to see UMD get, junior forward/center Will Regan will be on campus on November 14 for the game against Bucknell, and will stay over for the football game against UNC.

Terps have an open practice at 12:15pm on Saturday.

Jordan Williams Commits to Maryland

As has been widely reported; Jordan Williams verbally committed to Gary Williams today. It was also reported that Gary Williams had no idea what Jordan was committing to; as it had been that long since Gary had actually recruited anyone. OK, I made that up. I couldn’t resist.

Seriously, this is a huge win for Maryland and in particular Coach Williams. Everyone knows how much he hates to recruit, but Gary clearly put in the time with this kid. He made Jordan feel wanted and really sold the program.

Jordan Williams is a guy you build around. Maryland can place him alongside fellow recruit James Padgett and boom; there is Maryland’s froncourt for the next four years.

Now, I haven’t had the chance to see Jordan Williams play; I will defer to the more knowledgable on that front. I just know the following: He is a big-time recruit of the four-star variety. Can someone name me that last four-star big man that Gary Williams nabbed out of high school from a state other than Maryland? (for the record, James Gist was a four-star player out of Good Counsel in Wheaton, MD in 2004). My guess is Chris Wilcox, but that is going back to 2000. (Can someone verify this?)

So to recap, this is the first top quality big man THIS DECADE (Wilcox signed his LOI in 1999) that Gary Williams has recruited. The last sentence tells you everything you need to know about the last five years of Maryland Basketball.

As such, I’m excited for what the Jordan Williams saga symbolozes: a rededicated Gary Williams. He has seen the error of his ways and has put forth the necessary effort to bring home the bacon. The fact that he was rewarded with Jordan Williams saying “yes” proves that hard work pays off. I’m sure that Jordan Williams will be great and hopefully, his name will hang from the rafters one day. For now, I’m just going to celebrate the fact that a 63 year-old man still has the fight in him to succeed in the ACC.

Maybe the tide has turned for the Terps. The start of the season is a month away and there will be plenty of locker room material in the form of preseason predictions to motivate the team. One thing is for certain. The coach still has the desire to win.

Five Football Games Left

Can anyone figure this team out? Going back to last season, the Terps have won five straight contests against ranked opponents. They have also lost to Middle Tennessee State in that time.

At 5-2, the Terps are still positioned incredibly well to have a successful season. However, if history is any kind of indicator; being positioned well is exactly when the wheels start to come off for the Terps. For evidence, one need look no further than the UVA loss three weeks ago (Yes, I realize that UVA beating UNC this weekend means that UVA might not be that bad).

Nevertheless, if the shutout against Wake is going to serve as the spark to a spectacular finish, then the Terps will need to break with history.

There can be no more letdowns. The Terps have homecoming this coming week against NC State. The Wolfpack have played horribly (except for the win East Carolina). Maryland should kill them and get to 6-2. Note, the most important word in the previous sentence is “should”. With this team, are you willing to say that they will win for sure?

How many times in a season can a team get caught sleeping on an opponent? The Terps have done it twice (both times on the road). If they can’t beat NC State, then they are truly lost.

I believe that the domination of this past weekend vs. Wake was a turning point. They destroyed a Top 25 team. Maryland’s other big wins have not been so convincing. If indeed we have seen the turning point, then the Terps will still need to demonstrate their superiority against the ACC’s upper echelon.

The season ends with games at Va Tech (Thu. Night), followed by home games vs. FSU and UNC. The season ends at BC. None of those games will be easy but they will all be winnable. If Maryland has turned the corner; then they will win three of the final four. If not it’s another trip to the Emerald Bowl.

Jekyll Shows Up; Terps Rout Wake

Ah, how nice was it to see the good Terps again. We sure did miss you guys. Here’s hoping you stick around for a while this time!

I have to say, what a performance by the entire team on Saturday as Maryland dominated Wake 26-0. This was a total team effort and the first time all season the team has played a complete game. I think we need to call out the team every week if that’s what gets them to play this way.

Let’s start with the defense. Wow. Hey Chris Cosh, that is how you coordinate! The Terps put pressure on Riley Skinner all day long and the defensive line had perhaps the best game I can remember. They swarmed to the ball all day. Sure, the receivers dropped some passes early on, but there are always going to be those kinds of mistakes. The offense put the D in some tough situations early on, but they were able to force FG attempts and that was huge. At one point, Wake went 6 possessions without getting into Maryland territory. The Terps tackled extremely well and here’s hoping they can play that physical in the coming weeks. Wake hadn’t been shutout in 10 years! Cosh, you are off the hook once again, but PLEASE LET’S SEE SOME CONSISTENCY.

Next up, the offense. Da’Rel Scott had a brutal first half with 3 fumbles (2 lost), but threw a great ball to Darrius Heyward-Bey on a halfback option and ran the ball okay the rest of the way. Interesting offensive gameplan letting Chris Turner throw over 40 times, but it worked. Turner was really good and in control the whole game. Oh, and they decided to get Heyward-Bey involved. What a concept! The guy caught 11 passes and we won. Hmmm.

Kudos really have to go out to the offensive line. The offense would not have been able to throw the ball so much if the O-line did not protect. They played physical as well and opened up some nice running lanes too. The O-line had its best game by far. Davin Meggett had some nice runs and he should be on the field more as well. I would love to see a backfield with Portis, Scott and Meggett for a couple of option plays. Who do you run to! Are you reading this Franklin!

More praise to our reborn kicker Obi. The guy is money right now. Even when they don’t look great, they go through. Great job Obi getting your confidence back and those kicks in the first half and early in the second half were bigtime.

So here we are. 5-2, 2-1 in the ACC. Will we be ranked? Maybe. Do we deserve to be ranked? I say not quite yet. I say they must prove they can play well in back to back weeks and if they come out next week against NC State at home for homecoming and whoop em, then we’ll be deserving. So let’s enjoy this for about a day and start thinking about NC State. In fact, we should put a number by NC State so the Terps think they are a ranked team.

Go Terps! We are proud of you today. The ACC is wide open and this could be a special season if they really really want it!