Maryland Minute 8.13.09 - A.J. Francis Emerges, Defensive Line Links Aplenty

Your future favorite Terp? He might already be mine.

AJ Francis = Quote Machine - DC Sports Fan
I already mentioned AJ Francis' musical prowess, but I would be remiss if these great quotes were left out.

"While I was redshirting, I hated it," Francis said. "I would get amped up to play every game, I traveled to every game, and in every game except for the Boston College game and the Bowl Game, there was a chance that I could play if someone went down. But Looking [sic] back now, it was the best thing to happen for me. I was weak, immature and had a lack of discipline that would have gotten me eaten alive out there.

...

"Darin is a knucklehead," Francis said. "Darin is one of the goofiest kids I know, but he is a hell of a football player. He is a lot more progressed at this point than I ever would have expected from a true freshman linebacker."

...

"In a 50-yard race, I would need a 40-yard head start and he would have to run backwards, just so we could tie," Francis said. "But seriously, Caleb is so fast and agile that trying to tackle him is like trying to catch water in your hands."

The Caleb Porzel joke is one of the funniest things I've heard in a long time.

Masengo Kabongo Makes a Good Point, Likes Ice Cream
This defensive line has gone from bad to amazing in a period of a few hours, thanks to the introduction of AJ Francis and Masengo Kabongo:

"You know what? You're right, we're inexperienced. But ... [Pauses dramatically to munch on ice cream sandwich] talent can beat out experience sometimes. If we can bring it together as a team and work together, we'll be just fine."

Indeed, Masengo. Indeed.

Players - Yes, AJ Francis is Among Them - Love Brown's Scheme
Now that AJ Francis is officially my favorite Terp, it's time to quote him:

"With this new scheme, like if you get the right blitz call for a certain play, you can make anybody look like an All-American," said defensive tackle A.J. Francis. "The last defense, there were things that we did certain times, especially against shotgun situations, that weren't right. This defense is a lot easier to run right."

That's the one thing that gives me hope about the Cal game - there's no film on this defense. It can only be a plus.

Maryland line gets defensive on lack of respect - TWT
Heather Dinich: Pissing off and motivating Terps for...well, just about ever:

At least that rundown didn't have the personal overtones of another similar ranking from another site, this one poking at the Terrapins' questions at the position.

"It basically said the reason we're the 12th-ranked defensive line in the ACC is because we have so much lack of experience and lack of depth that I'm the starting nose," redshirt freshman A.J. Francis said. "That's what it said. When I read that, I've never been more motivated in my entire life."

Even without Dion Armstrong, I still have trouble swallowing this group will be last. Travis Ivey has all the makings of a Dre Moore-esqe season, Masengo Kabongo and AJ Francis have talent and will be media luminaries, and I'd be surprised if one of Derek Drummond, Jared Harrell, or De'Onte Arnett isn't at least average.

More on Armstrong
Still very disappointed about this, even though things are looking up (see above).

"He came in this morning and thanked me and said he was sorry he disappointed me and said he was going to transfer," coach Ralph Friedgen said. ... Yet his academic issues prompted Friedgen to concede he "wasn't really counting on him" for this season. "I said 'Fine. It's time to move on,'" Friedgen said. "I don't want to get into the whole thing and make a big deal. We have to worry about kids who want to be here. That's where I'm going with that."

Pat Stevens' Practice Notes
Lots of interesting things here from Pat Stevens, but the two I liked were:

* Another day, another Kenny Tate interception. * Two true freshmen Friedgen wants extended looks at in Saturday's scrimmage are center Bennett Fulper and guard Pete White. "I think both of them will be good players," Friedgen said. "I think if you see they may develop, hopefully you have them by the third or fourth game and you've added to your depth. That's what I'm hoping is going to happen. Pete's got to drop a little weight. ... He's very much in the thick of things because that right guard is up for grabs."

It'd be great if White could lose a little weight - he could be one of the best options at RG.

Jordan Williams Has Some Inflated Expecations - IMS
Sorry, Jordan, but if you're giving 10 and 10 with an occasional 20 as a freshman in the ACC, I may just qualify that as "star".

"Like they said when they recruited me, they need size in the middle. Greivis Vasquez was telling us, we don't have to be [stars] but if we can give 10 and 10 or maybe 20 points here and there, we're going to be really good," he said.

Good read, though.

CFN's Best RB Units: Maryland #15
That seems about right. There's so much depth and a frontline, all-ACC caliber starter, so I was hoping for top ten, but that was probably a bit too much.

Bryd Suite Update - TWT
Progress from last time, but not a whole heck of a lot of it.

Maryland has sold season deals for 40 of the 64 suites with just more than a month before they open; at this time a year ago, Maryland already had sold 28.

...

But the greatest priority, athletic director Debbie Yow said, is meeting a debt requirement of about $2.4 million annually over 20 years. For that to happen, the Terps need to reach the 48-suite plateau this season.

...

Yow said she didn't believe the Terps had reached a ceiling but admitted it could be "unless you develop a consistent level of excellence." She said such a standard would require a series of nine-win seasons, including bowl games. Maryland hasn't won nine games in consecutive seasons since Friedgen's first three years.

"You have to create a need," Yow said. "People have to feel like they need the tickets. Not that they want them. But that they need them for quality of life - 'My life is incomplete if I am not at Maryland watching them beat Rutgers. It's incomplete.' You do that by winning."

Really, Rutgers is the main draw? I'm on board about the 9 wins a year, though.

'Dog Days - D1scourse
An interesting tidbit from Pat Stevens about Maryland's 21 point underdog odds against Cal:

And should this spread hold up, it will mark the biggest Maryland has faced since a 2000 trip to Clemson, when the Tigers were favored by 31 1/2. Which means, of course, it would be the largest of coach Ralph Friedgen's tenure. The largest to date (according to Steele) was a 19.5-point spread at Clemson in 2006. The Terps won 13-12.
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