Author Archive for Ben Linton

04
Jan
11

Maryland hires Randy Edsall

By Ben Linton

After firing Ralph Friedgen, the Maryland Terrapins have hired Connecticut Coach Randy Edsall to take the program in a new direction. The announcement comes a day after Edsall’s Huskies lost in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma. At age 52, Edsall led the Huskies from 1-AA to 1-A competition, winning two conference championships and accumulating a 74-70 total record in 12 seasons.

At first hearing of this news, I was disappointed. After Maryland fired Friedgen, citing decreases in ticket sales as a main reason for letting him go, how could a man that most Terp fans know nothing about create a buzz and excitement around the program and fill seats that Friedgen couldn’t? Who is to say that ticket sales would have actually increased next season if Friedgen had returned, with the Terps coming off a 9-4 season and the Fridge winning ACC Coach of the Year? I do not disagree with the hire, but I disagree with letting Friedgen go before his contract expired. Especially for everything the Fridge did for the program, he should have been granted the opportunity to stay as long as he wanted.

However, Maryland did hire a good coach to replace Friedgen. Edsall and Friedgen have many similarities: they both put their respective programs on the map and finished with similar records. Edsall a disciplined and defensive-minded coach, a very different candidate from other names mentioned as candidates such as Mike Leach. He is a safe hire, with no risks involved like with Leach. Edsall to me is a younger version of Friedgen, but he will need to prove himself to the fan base by winning before the seats get filled at Byrd Stadium. It will be a very interesting season in College Park next year to see how his team performs.

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30
Dec
10

Terps send Coach Friedgen out with a blowout win

Coach Ralph Friedgen enjoys the Gatorade shower after his Terps defeated ECU 51-20 in the Military Bowl

By Ben Linton

The Maryland Terrapins Football Team completed their turnaround season with a 51-20 demolishing of the East Carolina Pirates in the Military Bowl on Wednesday. Although the Terps (9-4) started the game sloppy, they finished strong, outscoring the Pirates (6-7) 35 to 17 in the second half. Running Back Da’Rel Scott had a monster day with 202 yards rushing, the majority of it coming on touchdown runs of 61 and 91 yards. The Terrapins sent a message to the college football world, proving that they deserved to be in a better bowl game.

But all of that was overshadowed by the emotions surrounding Head Coach Ralph Freidgen’s last game as coach at the University of Maryland.

In one of the most bizarre moves in the college football season, the Terps fired Coach Friedgen after improving from their 2-10 record last year, which awarded Friedgen the ACC Coach of the Year honor. Friedgen was under contract for one more season, but the University bought out his deal, as they decided to part seperate ways with the man that put this program back on the map.

In his time at Maryland, Friedgen guided his alma mater to seven bowls in ten seasons, and gave the program an ACC Title in 2001, his first season as coach. But since 2005, ticket sales declined, luxury seats were not being filled, and a nationally televised game against NC State in November was not sold out. All of these factors prompted new athletic director Kevin Anderson to get rid of the Fridge. Along with the departure of Friedgen, offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting James Franklin left Maryland for the head coaching position at Vanderbilt, because Anderson would not honor his commitment to the deal that was struck with the old AD in place. This leaves Maryland to start from scratch next year with a new coach and a new philosophy.

I do not agree with the way Maryland treated Coach Friedgen. After all he has done for the program, he should have been able to coach there as long as he wanted. The fact that Maryland had to fire Friedgen instead of him retiring also rubs me the wrong way. It is as if they had to force him out, where one more year would surely not hurt the program. This further confirms the harsh reality that college football is not about the coaches or the players; its all about the money. Frankly, Friedgen was not making enough money for the program and getting people excited about the team, and that ending up being his demise. Is it fair? Absolutely not. But that is just the way it is in college football. Consider a coach like Mike Leach, a possible candidate to replace Friedgen at Maryland. A coach known for controversy and a high powered offense would get the seats filled at Byrd Stadium if he were to be hired.

Whoever the new Maryland coach is, Friedgen left him with a pretty darn good football team. For that we at AllMetro Sports thank you for 10 great years of Maryland Football, Coach Ralph Friedgen.

07
Dec
10

Terps headed to the Military Bowl

By Ben Linton

After a huge turnaround season from last year, the Maryland football team has been rewarded by accepting an invitation to the Military Bowl. However, they will only have to travel 5 miles to Washington D.C. to take on East Carolina out of Conference USA. This will be Maryland’s seventh bowl appearance in 10 years under Ralph Friedgen, and will look to improve their bowl record to 5-2 as well as increasing their win total on the season to nine.

The Pirates are currently 6-6 with a 5-3 record in the C-USA. They are led by a familiar face to Terps fans, Dominique Davis, the ex-Boston College Quarterback. Davis leads the nation’s 7th ranked pass offense with 3,699 yards and 36 touchdowns on the season. Maryland’s 42nd ranked scoring offense should have their way with the ECU defense, which averages giving up 43 points per game.

In my opinion, the Terps got shafted by the bowl selection committee. Even though the Maryland finished third in the ACC, they received the 8th bowl slot. The NC State Wolfpack, who Maryland beat 38-31, will be headed the the Champs Sports Bowl to play against West Virginia in Orlando, Florida. Even the Clemson Tigers, who finished 6-6 on the year, will be headed to the Meineke Car Care Bowl to take on South Florida. Maryland proved throughout the course of the year that they were better than both these teams, and its a shame that they were not rewarded. I feel like the Military Bowl does not award the Terps for how great of a season and turnaround this was. But I’ll still take a blowout win in the bowl game and a 9-win season any day.

The Terps and Pirates will play on Decemeber 29th at 2:30. The game will be televised on ESPN.

03
Dec
10

Maryland Athletic Director Speaks on Bowl Situation

By Ben Linton

Here is the video from the new Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson’s speech about the football team’s bowl situation. Anderson first congradulated the Terps for its 8-4 season, in which Ralph Friedgen and Danny O’Brien were awarded by the ACC as Coach and Rookie of the Year. He also stated that Maryland will not know it’s bowl destination until Sunday.

Maryland also had other players be awarded by the ACC for their achievements this season. Wide Receiver Torrey Smith, Punt Returner Tony Logan, Linebacker Alex Wujciak, and Safety Kenny Tate all received first team all-ACC Honors this season. Smith led the Terps in receiving with 65 receptions for 1,065, while posting school records this year in touchdown receptions (12) and all-purpose yardage (5,183). Logan led the ACC in punt returns with and 18.8 yard average, which is also good for third in the FBS. He returned two punts for touchdowns this season as a Junior. Tate and Wujciak led the defense in averaging 22.3 points against per game, ranking 6th in the ACC, and improvement from last year’s 11th place finish.

Defensive Lineman Joe Vellano was named to second-team all ACC, while offensive Lineman Paul Pinegar was granted an Honorable-Mention Selection. Check back on Sunday when Maryland finds out their bowl destination.

02
Dec
10

Loss To Vikings Puts Redskins in Precarious Position

By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins just made their road to the playoffs a lot more difficult and treacherous when they lost at home to the previously 3-7 Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. Even with Adrian Peterson sidelined for much of the game, the Vikings beat up the Redskins by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Redskins, who were already previously banged up heading into the contest, allowed 137 yards to Peterson and Toby Gerhart combined, while only gaining 29 yards rushing themselves. Donovan McNabb was sacked four times and pressured throughout the contest.

Key Play:

Down 17-13 with 7:15 left in the game, Redskins Punt Returner Brandon Banks had an electrifying 77-yard punt return to put the Redskins up 20-17. However, rookie Linebacker Perry Riley was called for an illegal block in the back that nullified Banks’ return. I don’t question the call at all; it was a clear penalty, but it was away from the play and Banks had already passed the defender Riley hit. Just a dumb mistake by a rookie that cost the Redskins the game. Washington would go on to stall the next possession, and the Vikings ran the rest of the clock out. Simply put, if Riley doesn’t try to light someone up and look good the Redskins win the game.

This loss truly stings for the Redskins. Four of their last five opponents currently hold winning records and are fighting for playoff position. The Skins will likely have to go 5-0 or 4-1 in these games in order to make the playoffs, saying that this would be a stretch would be an understatement. But Washington still has two games against the New York Giants and a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two teams that they are chasing right now. There is no better way to catch up to these teams by beating them head-to-head, but the Redskins will need a better performance than this in order to win against those opponents.

29
Nov
10

From 2-10 to 8-4: A Tribute To The 2010 Maryland Seniors

Torrey Smith hauls in the third of his four touchdown receptions against the Wolfpack.

By Ben Linton

With a 38 to 31 win over North Carolina State, the Maryland Terrapins finished a terrific season, in which they turned their win total around by six games and became bowl eligible. A lot of Maryland’s success this season can be attributed to the play of it’s Seniors, who took the field at Byrd Stadium for one final time on Saturday. Often times when you hear coaches talk about their group of seniors, they always say, “They have overcome so much adversity in their time here.” I feel like that statement is too cliche and used to much in situations when it is not needed. This is not one of those cases.

As a college football player, overcoming adversity usually happens following a loss. But when you lose 10 games in one season, the stress just mounts and can be hard to handle. What this group gave Maryland this year was just a chance, a chance to play in the ACC Title Game. Although the Terps didn’t make these dreams come true with a loss last week, just the fact that they were in the conversation is truly amazing and gratifying to these group of student-athletes. Maryland has increased their win total by five games so far this season, and have already clinched a bowl-berth. Tomorrow they will play for each other, for pride, and for a better bowl. Here’s a look at some of the seniors that have made success this season possible:

Adrian Cannon- Wide Reciever

Cannon made an impact as a sophomore in his first career start in the Humanitarian Bowl, where he caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Chris Turner en route to a Terps victory. Last year as a junior, he hauled in 44 passes for 468 and 4 touchdowns. In his final season in College Park, Cannon has 36 receptions, 324 yards, and one touchdown. At 6’2, 204 lbs., Cannon is a physical receiver with good hands and is hard to bring down. His signature play will be a screen pass where he overpowers the corner with a stiff arm and runs for a first down. He will be missed.

Adrian Moten- Linebacker


Moten made the play of the year for the Terps in the first game of the season vs. Navy. With Navy at Maryland’s goal line, Moten leaped over the line and sacked Ricky Dobbs, forcing a fumble that Maryland would recover. He looked like superman on that play, and has made many other superb athletic plays this year for the Terps. He will end his career with 200 tackles, 2 fumbles forced, and 6 interceptions (4 this season.) He has great potential to become an NFL player, and with hard work he can get there.

Antwine Perez- Safety

Perez really broke out in his senior campaign making big plays and big hits as at the safety position for Don Brown’s defense. In 2009, he posed 34 tackles in a reserve role. He played all 12 games this year as a starter, and made the most of it, collecting 61 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a sack. He will not go unnoticed in this year’s NFL draft and will be able to find himself a spot on an NFL roster next year.

Da’Rel Scott- Running Back

After the great years of having Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore in the backfield for the Terps, Scott knew coming in that he had some big shoes to fill. What Scott had that previous Maryland tailbacks did not was breakaway speed. Scott is probably the fastest running back Maryland has had since Bruce Perry, and his speed killed in 2008 when he had all All-ACC season, running for 1,133 yards with 8 touchdowns as a sophomore. Scott has battled injuries and split time with other Maryland running backs since, but has still had a great career as a Terp. He finishes his career with 2,201 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

Alex Wujciak- Linebacker

If there is any player on the Maryland team that personifies this year’s defense, its Alex Wujciak. A two-time All-ACC selection, Wujciak has been high in the charts in tackles the past three seasons, and is one of the best playmakers at linebacker in the college game. He is a sure tackler with surprising speed for his size, and has four career interceptions, two going for touchdowns. He will be greatly missed next year in the middle of the defense, and it has been a pleasure to watch him make plays for the Terps.

Other notable seniors include: P/K Travis Baltz, DL Drew Gloster, WR Emani Lee-Odai, OL Paul Pinegar, WR La’Quan Williams

Thank you for a wonderful season and some great memories, Seniors.

25
Nov
10

Redskins Limp Out Of Tennessee With a Win

 

By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins, who were already banged up heading into Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, overcame eight more key injuries to escape the Titans 19-16 in Overtime. After missing a 47-yard field goal at the end of regulation that would have won the game, Kicker Graham Gano redeemed himself with a 48-yard game winner in overtime to give the Skins a win. Had the game gone any longer, the Redskins entire offensive line may have been injured, because they were dropping like flies at LP Field.

Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Redskins were already down two key players in the secondary, LaRon Landry (achilles) and Carlos Rogers (hamstring). This was not a good sign for the Redskins, whose 31st ranked pass defense had to rely on Reed Doughty and Kevin Barnes to somehow contain Randy Moss. Surprisingly, the Redskins did not do a good job, but a great job, as Moss was held without a catch and the Titans only racked up 222 passing yards.

The running back situation was also a concern when Clinton Portis went down with a groin injury. With Ryan Torain out and Chad Simpson injuring himself in warmups, the Redskins were left with only Keiland Williams, who handled the rushing duties, going for 68 yards on 23 carries.

There were a few bright spots in this game, however.

  • The Redskins defense, who gave up 59 points and 592 yards to the Philadelphia Eagles a week earlier, stifled the Titans offense, only giving up 373 yards and did not allow a touchdown (the Titans scored on a punt return.)
  • Remember all that talk about Donovan McNabb running the two-minute offense? Well, with 1:37 remaining McNabb beautifully manuevered the Redskins into field goal range to win the game. Unfortunately, Gano missed the kick, but it was nice to see McNabb prove his doubters and possibly even his coaches wrong. He had one of his best performances of the season, throwing for 376 yards with 1 td and 1 int.
  • The Redskins came into the game last in the NFL in 3rd down conversions at 22%, and were 0 for 10 against the Eagles on Monday Night. But the Skins were very effecient on third down against the Titans, converting 8 of 16 plays for a 50% conversion rate.

The Redskins may not have won this game as convincingly as they should have, but when was the last time we’ve seen that? I’m sure they will be satisfied with benefiting from the Titans’ self destruction with the whole Vince Young-Jeff Fisher controversy. With the win the Redskins improve to 5-5 on the year and are on the cusp of the playoff conversation. The Skins are currently 8th in the NFC standings, but with a win next week against the Minnesota Vikings (3-7), they will find themselves in the middle of the playoff hunt. Funny for a team that was so thoroughly embarrassed just a week ago.




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