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.

Bob Lipper – A-Hole Extraordinaire

Soupers–

There is nothing like a tirade from an ignorant Virginian to rouse me out of hibernation. Bob Lipper, who is apparently a professional sports journalist, wrote a grimy piece of yellow journalism for the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the Tyree Evans affair.

In his “article”, he trashes Gary Williams and the program that he built at Maryland. Lipper suggests that Tyree Evans is better off now that he withdrew from Maryland. That may be true, but Lipper’s rationale is nothing but a poor attempt at character assasination.

After you’ve read the article, I encourage you to read my email to Mr Lipper (below):

Bob, how dare you write such drivel about a coach who will be in the Basketball Hall of Fame! Did you interview any of Coach Williams’ former players for this story? Wouldn’t that have been a balanced way to write an article? Couldn’t they provide insights into how Williams is as a mentor?

Williams has been at Maryland for 19 years yet somehow Maryland is a “burbling stew”? I suppose Evans would be better suited to go to UVA where the coaching carousel has not stopped turning since Terry Holland left in 1989. Sure, the Terps have missed the NCAAs a few times in recent years; but Williams runs one of the best programs in the country.

Leaving Williams’ on-court achievements aside; your article disgraces Williams’ honorable track record of taking in players with troubled backgrounds.

He took in Juan Dixon—an orphan who’s heroin-addicted parents died of AIDS. Dixon completed his senior season 6 credit hours short of graduation. He is too busy earning millions in the NBA to worry about completing his degree right now. Williams also recruited a player by the name of Johnny Rhodes. Rhodes grew up on the hard scrabble streets of Southeast DC where he got shot in a drive-by while still in high school. Johnny Rhodes graduated. Williams recruited a player by the name of DJ Strawberry– a kid whose high profile father, Darryl Strawberry, spent much of DJ’s childhood in and out of rehab. DJ left Maryland in good academic standing and is currently making millions playing for the Phoenix Suns.

Those are three examples that I came up with in about 10 minutes of research on the Internet.

Not only does Gary Williams know how to turn young basketball players into NBA-caliber talent; he also knows how to turn them into men. Your claim that Williams did not graduate a player from 1997 – 2000 is completely misleading. Many of those players actually earned degrees after the six-year period that you use as a standard. Most Maryland players turn pro after their days in College Park come to an end, either in the NBA, the NBDL, or overseas. Earning a degree often takes a back seat to earning seven-figure salaries. Did you even check to see how many players earned degrees after this arbitrary “six-year period”? Of course not.

During Gary’s tenure, every single Maryland basketball player except for one (Chris McCray) was able to maintain academic eligibility during their college career. Gary Williams is not responsible for ensuring that his players graduate. His responsibility is to make sure that they reach their senior season on track to earn a degree. No senior Terp can take the floor unless they have completed enough credit hours to be a senior in academic standing. If they fail to graduate that is not Gary Williams’ fault or responsibility.

Just because you dislike the University of Maryland (perhaps because we consistently beat up on Virginia schools); it doesn’t give you the right to pen this libelous garbage. For shame!

Gary is not perfect. We all know this. But, running his name through the gutter because you have an axe to grind is disgraceful. I encourage you all to let Mr. Lipper know how you feel about his opinions.

He can be reached at (804) 649-6555 or blipper@timesdispatch.com.

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