Friday, September 15, 2006

That Was Ugly...

My father likes to tell me, sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. And boy did the bear eat good last night as the Terps got crushed by West Virginia last night. Two years ago when West Virginia won 19-16 in overtime there was a lot of woofing by West Virginia fans about how good they were because they had finally beaten Maryland. But Maryland had 6 turnovers in that game and West Virginia needed overtime to win at home. West Virginia was simply overrated that year. This year however, give them credit, they got 5 turnovers at home and the game was over in the first quarter as they won by 21 points.

Maryland fans should have seen this coming. Unimpressive performances against William and Mary and Middle Tennessee were warning signs. So what the offense and defense were vanilla? The Terps should have enough talent out there on the field to play conservatively and win by 30 and they didn't. As the Redskins also learned, you can play close to the vest in the preseason and perfect things in practice, but there's no substitute for game speed.

There were indications that Maryland was going to stack the box against the West Virginia offense and force the Mountaineers to throw the ball. The Terps didn't do that until goal line situations. It was believed that West Virginia was going to do the same to Maryland, but with a 14 point lead before ever taking the field, there was no need to do that.

Now is West Virginia 21 points better than Maryland? I don't think so. 10-14 points better, but not 21. Even the most partisan West Virginia fan has to admit that they got uncommon luck. Two West Virginia fumbles turned into Mountaineer touchdowns. That's not skill or talent, that's luck. Two fumbled kickoffs by Maryland, again, that isn't skill or talent that’s just luck. Maryland had nothing going right for them and they got thrown out of their offensive game plan before the offense ever took the field. West Virginia also lost their composure with a large lead. That isn't a good sign for West Virginia fans.

There were some good things for Maryland. Keon Lattimore was impressive despite only gaining 48 yards on 15 carries and the team as whole did not give up when the second half started.

Finally, a word about the whole Steve Slaton saga. Too many commentators live in the here and now. It is easy right now to say that Maryland made a mistake by spurning Slaton in favor of Morgan Green. Green prepped last year and is red shirting this year. Slaton is clearly a good player, but the Maryland staff gets paid big bucks to make these kinds of executive decisions. They've been doing it for years. Let's see what Morgan Green does on the field before we crucify The Fridge for his choice.

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