This was the commentary that I sent to the EMU student paper. I don't expect this game to offer much suspense.
Let me say, 38-13, Maryland wins. Ralph Friedgen is concerned because he says EMU runs a no-huddle spread offense similar to the one MTSU ran so successfully against the Terrapins. But the only way I see Maryland losing is if it chooses to sleepwalk through this game like it did in Murfreesboro, Tenn., two weeks ago. Maryland is a consistently inconsistent bunch, so that should give EMU hope. Friedgen has tried everything to motivate players --- challenging them, playing nice guy, even blaring music at the end of practice to liven up the mood. This is a senior-laden team that often plays to the level of its competition. Clemson is up next for Maryland. The Terps will get up for Clemson; the question is whether they will be fired up for EMU. For what it’s worth, players say they have learned their lesson and want to make a resounding statement against EMU. Quarterback Chris Turner told me, “We want to murder Eastern Michigan.” Running back Da’Rel Scott is questionable with a left shoulder sprain, but watch out for true freshman Davin Meggett, the son of the former NFL player, Dave Meggett.
One player to watch:
With Scott potentially limited or out, I would keep an eye on Darrius Heyward-Bey the whole game. Maryland’s best receiver has world-class speed and could very easily be in the NFL next season even though he is only a junior. You will not catch Heyward-Bey in the open field unless your last name is Bolt. Maryland wants to get the ball to Heyward-Bey as much as possible, but a lot of that falls on the shoulders of Turner, the son of the former drummer for the heavy-metal band Ratt. Turner played a great game against Cal, a near flawless game, but he is prone to being inconsistent.
State of the program:
Some fans at Maryland feel the Terps should be a legitimate power. I find that to be unrealistic. I think a more realistic goal is to win seven or eight games most years and every few years challenge for the ACC title. A vocal segment of the fan base wanted Ralph’s head after the loss at Middle Tennessee State. They really wanted him fired. My question to them was: Who do you think you can bring in to do a better job? The program is really overshadowed in this D.C. market by several pro teams from a variety of sports. Friedgen would have probably been under more criticism had Maryland been the biggest game in town. It is not. Case in point: A noon kickoff for Cal at Maryland and there were plenty of empty seats in the upper deck of Byrd Stadium. I expect the same number of empty seats Saturday for a game that is not expected to be as interesting as the Cal-Maryland game was.
Perception of Eastern Michigan:
I know more about the MAC in general and its reputation with quarterbacks than I know about Eastern Michigan. I have covered the MAC final in men’s basketball before and really enjoy the teams, fans and campuses. But I have to admit: Before the season, I ranked Maryland’s games from toughest to easiest, and this was the one I marked as easiest. EMU has never beaten a team from a BCS conference, right? Having been to most college campuses in the country, I’m disappointed to say I have never been to Ypsilanti. Always wanted to, and will someday.
Ralph Friedgen is really enthralled with EMU’s punting situation. He spent more than a minute on two separate occasions explaining that EMU uses three punters and that two are right-footed and one is left-footed. He actually got me eager to see EMU’s punters, if you can believe that.
Posted by: Lee | September 19, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Charles | September 19, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: John R | September 19, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.