Halftime – Wow. What a stinker.

I have to say I’m shocked. Sure, the terp fan in me could see this coming, but I did not want to believe that the team would come out and play like a bunch of bums, thinking this was going to be a romp. They have looked listless in offense, very little creativity in the play calling. No screens, no slants, nothing.

The defense looks horrendous. No tackling, confusion on what a QB making his THIRD START EVER is going to do.

Just getting beat from one end of the field to the other. Do I have faith in a second half comeback? After what happened last week, it’s possible, but the difference is UVA has cashed in on all of its scoring opportunities. We are not staring at an 11 poing deficit. We are 21 points down.

Who can we blame?! I’d love to blame somebody, but I have no idea why this team contiinues to do this to us and itself.

Marylands Holds It Together Against UVA

I apologize for my tardiness with the post-game article. I was without access to the Internet last night. Fortunately, I was able to watch the game because ESPN remembered the University of Maryland has a Men’s Basketball Team. Shocking, I know.

Unlike the Duke game, where Maryland was only able to put together 20 minutes of exceptional basketball; last night’s game had about 33 minutes of good hoops.

Maryland completely dominated the first 10 minutes and were able to extend their lead in the middle 20 minutes. The final stretch saw UVA climb back into the game on the shoulders of an injured Sean Singletary (can someone put a body on him?).

In the end, the Terps held off the Cavs, thanks in large part to Bambale Osby’s FT shooting.

On the whole, there were more positives than negatives last night. The Terps were able to cut down on the turnovers. For most of the night we saw Greivis Vasquez, not his alter-ego, Nik-Caner Vasquez. Eric Hayes was deadly from three-point range, AND to my extreme excitement, I even saw Hayes run around a screen and hit a jumper. (It was the Juan Dixon curl play and he ran it to perfection).

Gist and Osby are a force in the ACC. Outside of Hansborough, I haven’t seen a frontcourt that can match up with Maryland. Osby’s FT shooting has vastly improved from last year and that makes him a real threat when he gets the ball in post. Gist has a tendency to fall in love with his outside shot and I think he needs to demand the ball more in crucial situations. But again, his play in the ACC warrants 1st team All-ACC consideration. He has been that good.

Here’s the bad part: a solid 33 minutes will not cut it on the road against Georgia Tech. Maryland needs to play a solid game from start to finish with no lapses. That is how road games are won in this conference.

These next two road games are crucial. Georgia Tech can match us athletically, but if our guards can limit the turnovers and Osby and Gist show up as they have been; the Terps can win. After that, it’s a revenge game against BC. I think these games are must-wins. But lets not look too far ahead.

Right now, it is all about beating Georgia Tech.

Maryland Gets Shoveled by PooVA

Questions that remained unanswered after Saturday’s loss:

How many times can Al Groh call that shovel pass before Maryland stops it? Will the Ralph Friedgen ever throw the ball down the field again (Could some one introduce him to Darius Heyward-Bey)? Seriously, when did the Fridge become so conservative? I used to think it was because he had no confidence in Steffy, but now I’m not so sure. Chris Turner looked fine tonight and Maryland has one of the fastest players in college football. Why can’t we throw one or two deep balls to him per game? Even if it gets intercepted; it is as good as a punt. Where’s the risk?

The Terps had so many chances to win this game. The dubious pass interference call on the last drive. The bad spot on fourth down. It’s really maddening. The Terps have now lost two games that they should have won. This is a talented team, but until the coach starts believing in them more, they aren’t going anywhere.

Terps vs. PooVa

So UVA is 6-1? Who have they played? They have a nice win against GaTech at home, but then again, so do the Terps. Besides that, show me the quality win? UConn? Middle Tennesee State? Pittsburgh and Duke are terrible. Somehow, UVA is #19 in the BCS standings? Explain that to me please. Any team that is 6-1 deserves respect, but Maryland should feel confident coming into the Homecoming game on Saturday night. This is a rivalry game (or as close to one as Maryland Football has to a rivalry game) and the Terps are playing well right now. Oddmakers essentially have this one listed at even money (the home team always gets 3-4 points and Maryland is 4 point favorite), but i can’t figure it.

Our Terps are better than the media or the national polls suggest. Aside from WVU, the only team that has beaten Maryland this year is Maryland (that’s the last time I reference the Wake game). Perhaps the media is knocking us down for the way we have been winning. After all, it has not been all peanuts and balloons. Let’s not forget the near collapses against GaTech and Rutgers. Maryland escaped both of those contests, but not after nearly blowing big leads. Somehow, they keep finding ways to win. This attribute is a hallmark of Ralph Friedgen. Frankly, I think the Terps should be getting credit for winning this way, not getting knocked down. It illustrates character. Winning teams have character.

(Of course, the Terps lack of respect at the polls could simply be because no one outside of the Maryland is actually watching, but that’s another story.)

Remember the Clemson game last year? What about the Miami game? Florida State? NC State? Maryland has squeaked by quite a bit over the last two seasons, yet our boys continually seem to come out on top, aside from Wake Forest. (Dammit! I told you to forget about Wake Forest!). How long can the magic last? No one knows, but if Chris Turner continues to gain confidence; he will be able to take pressure off the defense. Our running is solid and so is our run defense. Two things that UVA has yet to face in tandem this season.

Here’s my prediction: if the Terps can prevail against the Cavs, then I expect a fired up 7-2 Terps squad to play host to BC for the Coastal division title on November 10. As a Terps football fan, could you hope for anything more? We know that our boys won’t be playing for a national title any time soon, so being in the hunt for the ACC Title is our only goal. Tomorrow will be the next step in that long process.

UVa Post Mortem

Wow. Thank you for all the comments. I was too exasperated to write anything last night, but the game spoke for itself.

I think part of the reason why we have passed the 50 comment mark less than 24 hours after the game is that by and large, the entire state is mystified by what is happening in College Park. Everyone knows Gary can coach and has competed at a high level everywhere he has gone.

(Although his Wikipedia entry mentions that he exclusively runs the flex offense. When you can game plan for a team by reading the coach’s Wikipedia entry, you know it is time to tweak the offense! Warrants mentioning.)

So why do we suck so bad? It can’t all be Gary’s fault. It’s impossible. His system works with the right players. His has proven it over and over again. Personally, I believe that losing Billy Hahn (he’s available, by the way) has hurt the program tremendously. As was mentioned in an earlier comment, Gary doesn’t develop a personal bond with his players. This is evident after they leave the program, while they are there, and of course on the recruiting trail.

(There is a reason why Kovarik left with Patsos and didn’t stay on. He could have been a top assistant with all of the turnover.)

Billy Hahn filled this void wonderfully. Is Driesell Part Deux the answer? Remains to be seen. One thing is for sure. Billy Hahn knew what players fit in with the flex offense and he had a way of bonding with them. That is just not what Gary is good at. Unlike the hated (and I mean hated) Coach K, he needs a second fiddle who fills that role with the players.

I’d be willing to bet that there are more ex-players who talk to Hahn, Patsos, et.al than still talk to Gary.

Gary needs to fill this gap and fast. He may have already done that with Driesell, but we won’t know until we see what next year’s recruiting class looks like in two years.