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And the Band Played On?

Through dogged reporting and around-the-clock digging, it has come to my attention that there is some fan concern over whether Maryland’s student band created too much noise at times when the Terrapins were on offense. This blog post is not a joke, although my fan source came to me with this. I’m not about to do a three-part series on the topic, but a fan brought it to my attention and I am a bit curious whether there could be a rogue student band on the loose (that last part a joke, obviously).

More specifically, did the band keep playing while Maryland was lining up on offense? In theory, such a situation could make for too much noise as the home team is in the huddle and then tries to snap the ball.

I have to say that I didn’t notice it myself, but I was sitting way up in the new press box during the game, wide-eyed and slack-jawed as the JMU QB was running 70 yards in the fourth quarter.

Some Maryland offensive linemen said after the California game that crowd noise was an issue. It may be a stretch to say that the student band during a home game is to blame for some false starts.

My understanding is that the band is supposed to play quickly after a significant play. Did anyone feel that the band overstepped its bounds a little bit and played too long during some of Maryland’s offensive drives?

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 15, 2009; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Friedgen Wants to Cut Down on Penalties

Comments

When you see Maryland players waving their arms at the band to get them to shut up, that is not good. Yes the band played on while the offense was in their formations, this happened over and over and has been an ongoing problem at home games.

For those that think this isn't a significant problem, you might want to attend some of the games in person once in a while. The band IS loud, and they disrupted our offense repeatedly on Saturday helping contribute to three false starts in the second half alone.

If they continue to do this, it's open season on heckling them.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

EP where is the interview with L. Richmond Sparks. FREDTERP

Posted by: FREDTERP44 | September 15, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Eric,

This deifnitely did happen as I sit right on the field at the corner of that endzone. They also had speakers that were projecting what they were playing which were very loud and very annoying.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | September 15, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

this is the first year they've miked the band. you're supposed to stop when the team lines up, but as a musician, you want to stop someplace "appropriate" (ie, not in the middle of a phrase).

i also think there was a bit of a rivalry going on between the umd band and the jmu band. i noticed the maryland band was _much_ louder after the half. i also noticed that both bands were playing almost all the time.

it was making my ears hurt in the upper half of section 23. i have to say my experience saturday was more miserable thanks to the noise of both bands (and i mean noise, it wasn't music by the time it reached me). all that said, they are better than piped in, overplayed songs. i just think a first time amplification, play-happy drum majors, and a rival band in the house added up to a bad situation.

i certainly hope the band will rectify both the too-loud speakers and the playing to the snap while we're on offense for this week's game. but, they can keep playing to the snap while we're on defense. :)

Posted by: r3hsad | September 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

How about the halftime show on the field with the junior terps cheerleaders dancing to the lyrics "don't trust a ho, never trust a ho..."

This from the same school that forced the band to stop playing Rock n Roll Part II because a few old people who apparently had never been to a sporting event before complained about the word "suck" that the students use in the chorus.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

As a former band alum, leave them alone!

This isn't a problem at other schools where the band plays constantly, like USC and Fla st with their inane melodies every single down. It's a part of the game. I realize that it's probably giving the drunks in the stands some headaches, but this was never an issue before.

Besides, you have to learn to play with crowd noise. If you false start, that's on you, not the band, not the crowd. If the QB is asking for quiet, then by all means tone it down. Otherwise, get the snap count right the first time!

I don't know why the band is suddenly an issue. Bands are as much a part of the college game and tradition as anything else. For years, when the football team was mired in mediocrity, we were the most vocal fans out there, giving the team 100% support while the rest of the crowd were either staying home, sitting on their hands, or were too busy cheering for their fraternities than the team. Personally, to find that my band outplayed the JMU band was a moment of pride for myself. Don't take the band for granted!

Posted by: ecglotfelty | September 15, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

NO Absolutely NOT!
The Band and the Student section need to be louder...
Is your source from MTSU?

Posted by: JTurner4 | September 15, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Band people, no one is saying we shouldn't have a band or that our band shouldn't be loud or that we don't appreciate our band. None of those is the issue. The issue is that the band repeatedly plays when they are not supposed to and hurt the team on Saturday. If you don't believe me, turn on Comcast Sportsnet right now and watch the replay of Saturday's game. Pay close attention to the band in the 2nd half when the terps are on offense.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I didn't even notice it in the first half but just heard our band playing several seconds after we had lined up for a snap on back to back plays, and this was the first drive of the game.

We have the only student band in America that doesn't understand the concept of silence while we are on offense.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Excuses...if you can't hear the snap count, watch the ball. Again, I think the penalties are more attributable to poor concentration, nerves, or fatigue.

Checking the Play-by-Play stats from ESPN, the Terps only had three false start penalties in the entire game. The first occurred in the 3rd quarter (with 1:38 to go), the others occurring in the 4th quarter at 12:18 and 11:23 respectively.

These penalties occurred fairly close to each other, but in 3 different possessions. I think this magnified the fans' frustration and gave the appearance that the band caused it.

If the band were such factor, more penalties would have been committed during Maryland's offensive possessions. Maryland had over 60 total plays in the game and only 3 false start penalties, so I don't see much evidence to support this theory.

JMU also had 3 false start penalties: two back-to-back in the 1st quarter and one in the 3rd quarter.

Posted by: SirPelleas | September 15, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

If the band were such factor, more penalties would have been committed during Maryland's offensive possessions. Maryland had over 60 total plays in the game and only 3 false start penalties, so I don't see much evidence to support this theory.

Posted by: SirPelleas | September 15, 2009 7:58 PM

This is just a hunch, but you don't watch much football do you? 3 false start penalties in a home game?? That is completely unacceptable. You shouldn't have ANY false starts at home (let alone three) where the crowd is typically silent while the offense works.

It isn't a surprise that all 3 false starts occurred in the 2nd half. This was when MD employed a hurry up offense and when the band did not recognize it and continued to play as the team tried to snap the ball.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I watch a lot of football and I understand the rules. I agree that those penalties are unacceptable, but I disagree that the band caused them.

I would argue that when MD employed the hurry-up offense, the penalties resulted from poor coordination and focus. So perhaps the Fridge should work on that in practice this week.

Posted by: SirPelleas | September 15, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

It isn't a surprise that all 3 false starts occurred in the 2nd half. This was when MD employed a hurry up offense and when the band did not recognize it and continued to play as the team tried to snap the ball.

------------------------------------

But people who were at the game, as I was, would remember that the 4th quarter false starts occurred on the opposite end of the stadium from the Maryland Band. As did all three JMU false starts. Seriously, the "Mighty Sound of Maryland" isn't all that mighty.

I'm more inclined to blame the false starts on an inexperienced offensive line.

And if you think this is really such a big deal, call Dr. Sparks.

Posted by: dlgood | September 15, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if the idiots who decide where groups like the Maryland Band sit realize that you really can't see the action on the field from the end zone as well as you could from the sideline, they wouldn't have moved the band there several years ago and the directors could cue the band more quickly.

But then again, these are the people that moved the cannon from the sideline (where it performed without incident for about 50 years) to somewhere just north of Cole Field House. Sometimes, you can actually hear it.

Posted by: mdbeachbum | September 15, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Good point about cannon, it should never have been moved. And Rock N Roll Part II should never have been censored. Maybe we can get both back, somehow. Our home field advantage is not what it was, even as recently as a few years ago.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I have watched a fair share of College Football in person in venues much larger than Byrd Stadium and if the Band is the issue for the team and perceptions of the fans then they, the team, and the Athletic Department have a long way to go before they understand what big time college football is all about. But the lack of understanding of what a big time college football program looks like has been a problem of this Athletic Department for decades.

Posted by: ehpercy | September 15, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

if the Band is the issue for the team and perceptions of the fans then they, the team, and the Athletic Department have a long way to go before they understand what big time college football is all about.

Posted by: ehpercy | September 15, 2009 11:09 PM

The defenses of the band are getting more and more ridiculous on here. Are band members and their supporters really this obtuse? No one is suggesting the band is "THE" problem. What fans appear to be upset about is the fact that the band is playing when they should not be and it could be disruptive for the offense. Why these band people can't understand this and keep misrepresenting the issue is baffling.

So let's clear this up once and for all. We love the band. The band should be loud as can be when the team is on defense. But the band should never be playing while the team is trying so snap the ball. End of discussion.

Posted by: MDfan2000 | September 16, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

There is absolutely no excuse for the band to be playing while the offense is at the line of scrimmage at a home game. If you don't understand this concept, not only do you not understand the theory of home field advantage, you don't understand the game of football. There is only one man that can remedy this situation and his name is Special K.

Posted by: aviscardo | September 16, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Ok, so its obvious that the Maryland teams problem is not a lack of talented players or a depth issue, but its obviously a problem not being able to hear. PAHLEEEEES. (1) either Ralph Friedgen should start having the band play at the teams practices so they can get used to the noise; (2) the school should ban the band from playing during any game except halftime; or (3) maybe the team should just play better and stop making excuses.

and yes, I played in the band from 1974-1977. I don't remember Randy White or Jerry Claiborne making those excuses.

Posted by: garyolney | September 16, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

A huge part of home feild advantage is that the offense can hear the snap count and fire off the ball before the defense can react. "IF" the music was making the signal calling inaudible that is a problem.

Veteren players who have played on the same line for a couple of years have the timing down pretty well with or without noise. Young inexperienced players have more of a problem with noise.

The band should do everything they can to be quiet when Turner is calling signals! The Terps are in for a long season and need all the home feild advantage they can get.

Posted by: donmac1 | September 16, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Way to go, Glotfelty! I guess I trained you well in the HP Band!

As a UM Band alum, as well, I think this is another case of "Blame the Band". But while I'm at it, since when is it necessary to put a microphone on a 200+ piece marching band? For over 100 years, the band has been able to entertain and provide the musical spirit for the Terps. Is the MIGHTY Sound of Maryland now so weak that it needs and electronic boost? I hope not.

Posted by: luv2bikva | September 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Seems like some of you have been spending too much time at band camp and need to get that trombone out of your *ss. The issue couldn't be any more simple: PLAY AS LOUD AS YOU WANT WHEN WE ARE ON DEFENSE! STOP PLAYING WHILE WE ARE ON OFFENSE!

Posted by: brianxp | September 16, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

NCAA rules prohibit bands (and stadiums / arenas in general) from playing while the offense is at the line of scrimmage or during a play. This is so as to not create an unfair advantage when the home team is on defense. When the team is in the huddle all bets are off.

For the most part, this rule is never enforced (especially during extra point attempts). I suspect if JMU's Athletic Dept. complains a note will get passed to the Band.

If the Band (250+ people) is being amplified, that's a problem and really not necessary, and might make it hard in the huddle to hear, but that's not the fault of the Band. That blame falls to the people who are "producing" at the stadium, running sounds boards, etc. The Band is doing the same thing it's done at football games for 80+ years now.

Posted by: kingrob76 | September 16, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the old grade school excuse from homework, "My dog ate it."

Posted by: SirPelleas | September 16, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

My seats are directly behind the band in the endzone and I can't say I really noticed any issues. The band seemed to me to stop playing at appropriate times. If anything, the one thing I noticed was that when MD had a 4th down (on offense)that the QB did nothing to silence the crowd which was cheering in support of the MD team. (and trust me you could tell it wasn't the JMU fans, there weren't THAT many there)

Posted by: titoalvarezjr | September 16, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

What would really solve this problem is bringing back Duffner... That way the band could play whatever they wanted.. The fans could sit wherever they wanted...The fans could also bring flags to wave to cheer the team on...The atmosphere the band gave us when they used to be able to play Rock n Roll Part II, Byrd used to ROCK... The problem is the bans is in direct competition with the sound system itself.. Stop trying to be a pro stadium, bring back the college feel....

Posted by: frostanna | September 16, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Section 5: In the second half it was very obvious to me and the surrounding fans that the band was playing past the point where they should have been silent and causing it hard for the Terp offense to communicate at they lined up. Some fans even made loud remarks about it.

Posted by: RFRboy | September 16, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The band seemed to me to stop playing at appropriate times.

Posted by: titoalvarezjr | September 16, 2009 12:40 PM

Either you weren't paying attention or you don't know what the appropriate times are. The game was replayed on tv last night, I watched most of it, and you could hear our band loudly while we were in the huddle, lining up for a snap, and sometimes even during a play. It was absolute incompetence by the band and whoever is in charge of them should be fired before the next home game.

Posted by: brianxp | September 16, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The band got into a competition with the JMU band and lost sight of bigger picture. The JMU band was playing over the MD band performance etc... and the 2 bands got caught up in all that stuff.

It was annoying from a fan perspective, but it had absolutely no impact on the gameplay.

Posted by: mcmelton | September 16, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

It is a college football game we're talking about, and I hope no one's saying it's the band's fault for the penalties.
Let's move on though.

Why is the band there? To help the crowd in support of..... the football team!!
Can't see how not paying attention to what the team's doing on the field accomplishes that. Clearly it's the right thing to do first to question why it happened, and for someone at the University to communicate effectively that it better not happen again, or the team will do without them.

As for over-amping, should be a simple rule of doing a sound check. Not sure how you lock away either team's PA equipment so it doesn't say get turned up on a crucial 4th quarter 4th down... It would be nice if they could just figure out how to set it up acousitcally so no amps are ever needed.

Posted by: Eismahn | September 16, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Now that is the funniest excuse in a long time... the band made us do that.... stop grasping for excuses, UMD is not that good period! Explain the other years at home??? before you know it, there wont be people at the game to make noise!

Posted by: rvanags | September 16, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

It was annoying from a fan perspective, but it had absolutely no impact on the gameplay.

Posted by: mcmelton | September 16, 2009 1:08 PM

This is debatable, but even if I were to agree that it didn't have an impact on the gameplay in this particular game, that doesn't mean it couldn't potentially hurt the team in the future. If they continue to play loudly while our offensive guys are trying to hear the play called, signals, audibles etc, it could easily make it more difficult for the players to hear. I'm telling you, they were loud as hell on saturday at the worst times.

Viscardo is right, Special K is the answer to this problem. I used to have his email address but he got a new one...post it here if you've got it. We need to get him involved.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 16, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Reading Barnos "excuses" about how the band played such a big roll in the game are hilarious.

Keep 'em coming.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 16, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The band is at fault for the decline in both the football and basketball programs. The sports programs took a downward turn when the band stop playing the "History of rock and roll Part II" song (aka the "you suck!" song) and now there is no fire in the team or the fans. Debbie Yow must go!

Posted by: DaveLopan | September 16, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Why the reactionary need to defend the band? They screwed up and hopefully it won't happen again. But if you didn't watch the game you really shouldn't comment on this...this means you POOPY. I don't think anyone ever said the band played such a "big role" POOPY. What we are talking about is the "possibility" that it will play a role and could be problem down the line if it is not fixed.

So let's say it all together now:

No one is blaming the band for the close game.

No one is saying we need to get rid of the band.

No one is saying the band sucks.

What we are saying is the band should SHUT THE F*** UP while we are on offense in the future.

Capisce!?!?

Posted by: brianxp | September 16, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Brianxp: Word. Not one of us was blaming the band for the close game. What we are saying is that is the 30 years i've been going to Terps games, I don't remember the band ever playing while we were on the line on offense. In addition, I don't ever remember the band needed amplification. Don't play while we are on the line of scrimmage on offense! If you want to have some band nerd battle with JMU, do it at band camp!

Posted by: aviscardo | September 16, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

aviscardo, you and i are in agreement. No one said that stuff about the band, that's why it ticks me off that those who are defending the band are claiming we said those things when we didn't.

Posted by: brianxp | September 16, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

EP didn't notice, and obviously, the Fridge didn't notice.

If the players had an issue with it, what kept them from telling one of the coaches, who would tell the Fridge, who could have sent one of the 200 towel boys/girls over to the estimable Dr. Sparks and tell him to CUT IT OUT!!!

Something's wrong in the chain of command here...

AND for crying out loud, BRING BACK ROCK & ROLL PART II!!!!

Posted by: mabkhar | September 16, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Terps fans making more excuses for mediocrity? Does this surprise ANYONE?

This week I suggest the fat a$$ses on this blog who are whining start tuning their instruments and become the new band. And when I say tune your instruments, I don't mean eat more beans ;)

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | September 16, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Why not keep the band quiet on defense as well? Because otherwise you're going to drown out the middle linebacker barking out blitz calls or defensive line stunts.

Stifle the bank at halftime! Otherwise we'll wake up the bumbling drunks in the stands.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | September 16, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

If anyone has ever been to a Penn State or Ohio State game, you'd find the amount of noise generated in those stadiums far surpasses Byrd Stadium even with both bands playing.

Come on people, stop the excuses.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | September 16, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I bet this thread makes it onto Sports Soup.

Posted by: SirPelleas | September 16, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Come on people, stop the excuses.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | September 16, 2009 5:43 PM

Learn how to read. No one made any excuses you geek.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 16, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Why not keep the band quiet on defense as well? Because otherwise you're going to drown out the middle linebacker barking out blitz calls or defensive line stunts.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | September 16, 2009 5:39 PM

Hah! You're not really this stupid are you?

Posted by: Barno1 | September 16, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Barno with back-to-back posts where he name-calls and insults other posters.

You stay classy pal.

As for the band, it's all their fault. For everything at UMD, from overpriced dining hall food to the shuttle buses being late.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 16, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

No excuses, Barno1? You blamed the false starts on the band. False starts, which BTW, occurred on the exact opposite end of the field from the band.

See your post above
(Posted by: Barno1 | September 15, 2009 8:17 PM )

Of course, you also said "Special K is the answer to the problem" -- which is pretty silly since Special K is neither a drum major nor the band director. If you have a problem with how the band is playing, you might try Sparks.

Posted by: dlgood | September 16, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Poopy is such a moron. He complains about people insulting the notorious insulter imterpsfan2, even after that guy had just called us all "bumbling drunks" and "fat *sses on this blog" yet Poopy sees no problem with that. Poopy is hands down the least intelligent human being I have ever encountered on a blog. And that is really saying a lot.

As for the idiot imterpsfan, who asked why not get the band to stop playing on defense too, i have to second the notion: are you really that stupid?

Posted by: MDfan2000 | September 16, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

No excuses, Barno1? You blamed the false starts on the band.

Posted by: dlgood | September 16, 2009 8:15 PM

I said they "helped contribute" to false starts and they do. If you don't understand the game of football and how noise affects an offense, please do us all a favor and do not comment on this issue.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 16, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

In tomorrow's article, Prisbell quotes Brian Ullmann of the MD athletic department as saying: If we are in hurry-up, we don't even do (band play). However, the JMU band did play while we were on offense, which did cause some confusion."

Amazingly, Ullmann blatantly lies not once but twice in this statement. A) the MD band clearly played repeatedly while MD was in hurry up mode. B) claiming it was the JMU band that was playing while MD was on offense is an absolutely disgraceful lie and he should be reprimanded for this.

It is not even remotely difficult to determine which band is playing, as they are seated on opposite ends of the field and play a vastly different array of musical verses. To try to blame JMU's band for MD's problem with its own band is beyond the pale.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 16, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps you can help me out Barno - namely the band "helps contribute" to false starts - but only does so when they are on the opposite end of the field. Since Five of the Six combined false starts occurred when teams were over 80 yards from where the UMD band sits.

Was the band any less noisy than the crowd at Cal? How many false starts did we have at Cal? Have we heard any quotes from Phil Costa or Chris Turner?

You've said that the band is an "ongoing problem at home games" -- how do our False Starts compare home vs. road? Do we have any data? From where I sit at Byrd, the band hasn't seemed all that loud or distracting.

Posted by: dlgood | September 17, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

dlgood, first of all, the band had speakers and were extremely loud at the last game and could easily have disrupted the play on the field on the other side of the field. I sit about 70 yards from the band and they were damn loud where I was seated. As for your insinuation that it's okay for the band to play at inappropriate times since according to you it doesn't effect anything on the field--why then are there specific rules prohibiting the band from playing during the action? Why not just let them play whenever if it doesn't effect anything? Please explain that one to us all.

Posted by: MDfan2000 | September 17, 2009 2:52 AM | Report abuse

As for your insinuation that it's okay for the band to play at inappropriate times since according to you it doesn't effect anything on the field-
----------------

It's not an "insinuation" - I'm asking for some data to back up your assertions. Right now we have anecdotes. You say you heard the band and found them disruptive. I didn't.

You also say the band "contributed" to false starts. There were six false starts during the game if we count both teams.

Was either band playing during any of these six false starts? What songs? Like I said, I didn't even notice them.

Did the players say anything? Was this performance any different than other performances? I'm trying to look at this logically, which means asking questions and looking at data with at least some degree of detachment. Because Occam's Razor points to 'inexperienced offensive line' before anything else.

And yeah - if it looks like the band really was disruptive, sure that's an issue and Ralph/Yow should call Dr. Sparks and get them in line. But regardless - this team has road games and they need to be able to play through noise. Better to learn that in September.

Posted by: dlgood | September 17, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Though I do not think the MD band can or should be blamed for any false starts (by either team), I DO think the band felt threatened by the presence of JMU's band. (JMU's football team may be I-AA, but its band is among the best in the country). I was in section 302(above the JMU band) and was surprised that I could hear the MD band from across the field so clearly throughout the game. It was not until late in the game that I got my answer, when I noticed the mics in front of the MD band. I think the MD band got into a bit of a "one-upmanship" battle with the JMU band as the game went on. But to go back to my main point, the MD band should not be blamed for any false-start penalties. That's just silly.


Posted by: PaulCasanova | September 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

the director of the band, dr. sparks, is in direct communication with the public address people who tell him when and when not to play. dr. sparks, in turn, tells the drum majors when to cue the band and when to cut them off. leave the band alone; they're big fans like anyone else and they've been playing this way in the stands for years with seemingly no problems. the terps just stink this year so stop making excuses for them, get over it, and look forward to basketball season.

Posted by: donsean | September 22, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

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