Terps Travails

The Terps showed something yesterday. Much more than they had in any of their four non-conference games. Building a 23-14 lead in the 4th quarter against a good Georgia Tech team proves the talent exists to succeed. But it likely won’t this year.

From the head coach down to the trainers the belief that something bad is about to happen, that feeling almost feels palpable. The Terps end up with first and goal at the seven with less than a minute to play. A chance to take back the lead Tech had built to 27-23. Even then it was “what will go wrong”. Two running plays to net two yards kicked off the set of downs. Then 3rd and 4th downs, Sam Hollenbach went back to pass when the Jackets backup pass rusher, Michael Johnson treated Stephon Heyer like a turnstile and just crushed Sam. Now I like Hollenbach. The kid, like Kyle Boller is tough enough. But he too was waiting for something to go wrong, and it did. Back to back plays in which he was given no chance to succeed left his ribs aching and the Terrapins to ponder the prospects of another long ACC season.

I talked to Sun reporter Heather Dinich about the Terps in the preseason and I asked her which was more likely; the Maryland football team going to a bowl game or the basketball team back to the NCAA Tourney. Without a hesitation in the conversation she backed Gary’s bunch. At the time I though that strange. It’s easier to make a bowl game than the NCAA Tourney. Math alone tells you that. There are slightly more than 100 division 1-A football teams, and about 50 spots open for bowls. In basketball, more than 300 teams battle for 65 openings.

But she believed wholeheartedly that Ralph’s team was not ready to return to glory, lacking the leadership neccessary to compete in the ACC. Watching Maryland more than a quarter way through the season and she looks pretty smart.


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