University of Maryland place-kicker Brad Craddock has been selected as a finalist for the 23rd Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Tuesday.
Craddock, Maryland’s first-ever Groza finalist, is one of three student-athletes vying for the honor. The junior is joined by Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo, who won the award in 2013, and West Virginia’s Josh Lambert.
This season, Craddock has converted all 17 of his field goals attempts and has converted 23 straight dating back to last season, which is the longest active streak in FBS. Craddock is the only FBS kicker that is perfect this season with 10 of his successful tries coming from 40-plus yards.
Opening statement … “I’m just really proud of our players and happy for them. To come out there, their first experience playing Michigan and coming to the Big House and coming away with a win — and the way we did it, coming from behind, ending the game like we did, running the ball — I’m just proud of them. I really challenged our offensive line last Sunday and through the week and challenged our whole team — they came out and responded. It’s hard to win on the road, it’s hard to win here, but these guys showed their determination, their heart, their character, so like I said, I’m very proud of them.”
On the performance of Maryland QB C.J. Brown … “He’s a competitor, and he came out today and did all the things we needed him to do. He played the way that he’s got to play to be successful. He was using his legs, moving around back there. Again, we did some things to help him. We said we were going to let it fly, and we needed him to be the guy to run the ball for us. We got him on the corner a little more, he threw the ball pretty well, and he didn’t get down when we had four drops in the first half. He just kept battling. As I told you guys, I didn’t want to make a change. And I don’t know if that motivated him, but he was a warrior today. He was a great leader in the huddles and on the sideline, he kept everybody pumped up. I’m so happy for him. As a quarterback and a head coach, we both get too much credit when we win and too much blame when we lose, and I know he’s feeling good and he should — he played a whale of a game.”
Opening Statement from Edsall:
“I thought we had some opportunities tonight to put ourselves in a position to get a win, but we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had. Going into the game the one thing we talked about was that we knew we couldn’t turn the ball over. We turned the ball over four times, [one] time in the kicking game and [three] times on the offense. You can’t do that against a top-15 team and expect to win. We also knew that we couldn’t give up the big play defensively and we did that a couple times tonight. We knew we had to take advantage of the opportunities we were going to have offensively and we just didn’t get that done tonight. We’ll take a look at the film tomorrow with the guys and show them the things they did right and show them the things that they did wrong and work to get better. That’s all basically what we can do.”
Coach Dantonio on Playing at Maryland
“I think it was unique and a great environment. It gave an opportunity for Spartans across the east coast to come to a football game. I think it was a great crowd. This is Maryland’s first year in the Big Ten and it’s only going to get even more exciting as these rivalries begin to take shape.”
The Maryland football team’s now-infamous handshake snubbing, the low point of a 20-19 win over Penn State earlier this month, has been addressed privately and publicly.
Amends were made before the Nov. 1 game was even over, with Terps athletic director Kevin Anderson apologizing in person to Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and president Eric J. Barron.
Later, Maryland coach Randy Edsall began his postgame news conference by sharing his own apology and expressing regret and embarrassment over the decision of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, safety Sean Davis and tight end P.J. Gallo not to shake hands with the Nittany Lions’ game captains before the pregame coin toss.
Anderson then publicly apologized, saying he was “disappointed” in the actions of the Terps captains. After the Big Ten Conference issued Edsall a public reprimand, the university a $10,000 fine and Diggs a one-game suspension for his role in a skirmish that preceded the coin toss, the fourth-year coach again shared his disappointment in his team’s actions.
Two weeks later, the Terps have moved on, and members of the athletic department say there are no concerns over a similarly regrettable situation arising as Maryland prepares for a prime-time game against No. 12 Michigan State on Saturday night in College Park.
“The Big Ten has handled the situation,” Edsall said. “We’ve handled the situation. Our kids know they made a mistake. Not how they should have handled themselves, and they will make a better decision in the future.”
Many, if not most, Maryland fans seem to feel the same way.
Bruce Posner is a long-time Terps fan who hosts Maryland-related radio shows on 1300 AM. Even immediately after the game, Posner felt the win over Penn State overshadowed anything that happened before kickoff. He said that the pregame situation is not a concern going forward because of the leadership of Anderson and Edsall, an old-school coach who preaches the importance of academics, discipline and accountability.
“The real, true Maryland football fans would never excuse something like that,” Posner said, “but there’s so much resentment that built up over the years with Penn State, with the constant talking about the 1-35 record against Penn State [before Nov. 1] and some of the things that coach [James] Franklin said about Baltimore’s his territory [in recruiting]. And I don’t know how to say it. It was wrong, but I don’t think by any means the incident diminishes the victory.”
Maryland senior Brian Borucki said he feels as though the incident added to the emotion and energy of the game against Penn State and could help build a rivalry with the Nittany Lions.
Penn State players appeared to go through the Terps’ area of the Beaver Stadium field after Maryland exited the locker room. A confrontation between the two teams, and then the handshake snafu, quickly followed.
“I thought maybe we could revive that rivalry, and I thought we kind of did that,” said Borucki, a Columbia native who made the trip to Penn State for the game. “I think we kind of showed that we’re not going to be walked over anymore. So truthfully, if it wasn’t my team, I might have been a little upset with it. But since they are my team, I’m cool with it. I support them.”
This was the second incident for which Maryland has been disciplined by the Big Ten. In October, men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski was suspended one game and fined $10,000 in October for his actions toward officials after a controversial overtime loss to Northwestern.
Maryland’s athletic department has dealt with few issues involving student-athletes in recent years. The football program’s Athletic Progress Rate (APR) has reached all-time highs since Edsall took over as coach in 2011. The football team’s APR, which measures eligibility and retention, increased its multiyear score from 922 (2009-2010) to 950 (2012-2013) and its single-year score from 905 to 977. Both are program bests since the APR’s inception in 2003.
“It would be unfair to label them” for what happened at Penn State, said former Terps and NFL standout Shawne Merriman. “An entire program shouldn’t get a bad rap for a couple guys making a mistake. And I know, talking to Coach Edsall and talking to Kevin Anderson, how much they preach to guys about staying on top of academics and doing the right thing.”
Other Maryland alumni, such as former Terps quarterback Stan Gelbaugh, had a more lighthearted response to the Penn State situation. Gelbaugh was with the Terps for four straight losses to Penn State during the mid-1980s. He started Maryland’s 20-18 loss to the Nittany Lions at Byrd Stadium in 1985.
“If I knew it took not shaking their hands to beat Penn State when I was there,” Gelbaugh said, “I might not have done it, either.”
Butler Community College defensive end Ulric Jones is one of the top junior college prospects in Kansas. He has a great offer sheet that includes some of the nation’s best programs.
Maryland was one of the first to offer Jones, but his stock continued to soar. He always kept the Terrapins in mind but kept his options open, and at one time favored west coast programs like USC, Oregon, and California.
The Alabama native went very quiet in regards to his recruitment the last several weeks, but sent a message to Scout this morning that he has made his verbal commitment to Randy Edsall and Maryland.
Stefon has given everything he has for Maryland. At this point of his career, he might opt out for the NFL draft.
Two Maryland football players — junior wide receiver Levern Jacobs and senior inside linebacker Alex Twine — were charged Thursday with second-degree assault, according to Maryland court records.
Twine was arrested and is scheduled to appear in Prince George’s County District Court in Hyattsville on Oct. 3. Jacobs was issued a summons.
The charges stem from a July 19 incident.
Jacobs is Maryland’s No. 3 wide receiver and had 47 catches for 640 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Twine is the top backup at inside linebacker behind starters Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree.
“We are aware of the situation and are in the process of gathering more information,” Terps coach Randy Edsall said in a statement. “We take these matters very seriously.
UMDKBradCraddock Brad Craddock interview
UMDQBCJBrown CJ Brown
Quotes from Coach Edsall:
“Evan Mulrooney was released from the hospital just now, just came into the facilities. I talked to him for a little bit before I came in here. He looks good, he had a viral infection. I don’t know what it was, but he’ll be out for an extended period of time until the doctors clear him, however long that will be we don’t know, but hopefully first and foremost he gets healthy and then once the time comes he’s able to get out there with us and he’ll be out there but not until he’s cleared 100 percent to be able to do those things.
“Quinton Jefferson is still with his wife as they are finding out exactly the issues she might have. I spoke to Quinton today and he’s in good spirits, but in our program it’s all about their faith first and foremost and then the family, then academics, then football and then the social so our thoughts and prayers are with him and his wife and his family and hopefully everything works out well from that standpoint.
“Looking forward to fan appreciation day on Saturday. Give our fans a chance to come out and watch us scrimmage and then also get a chance to interact with our players afterwards, get some autographs. I know our guys are really looking forward to that, they like spending time with all the people who come to support them and watch them so we’re looking forward to Saturday.
“And then lastly we have a new website MarylandPride.com. It’s a really interesting website, giving people an inside look, supporters, recruits, an inside look to what goes on here. What goes on in the life of a student-athlete, goes behind closed doors, be able to see the camaraderie, the love these guys have for each other and just the demands they have on them as student-athletes and how they manage their time and what they do and they’re very appreciative of all the people who support them so if people get a chance to check that out, there’s going to be things up there new each and every day. A lot of content that we think will be really good for people to get to know more about our student-athletes and our football program.
Following a morning walk through, the Maryland football team held its first full practice of the 2014 season Monday afternoon at the on-campus practice facility.
During the two-hour session in helmets, jerseys and shorts, head coach Randy Edsall and his coaching staff focused primarily on individual and unit drills before moving into team and special teams drills. The Terps will add shoulder pads on Wednesday before moving to full pads on Friday.
Maryland returns nine starters on the offensive and defensive side of the ball and 52 letterwinners from last season. The limited turnover in personnel during the offseason should make preseason preparations a little bit smoother for the squad.
“It’s comforting going into the season having the depth and the experience that we have coming back,” said Edsall. “But in terms of what we want to get done installation wise, that hasn’t changed. We have a couple of guys now who understand and know how to practice and how to do those things. That makes it a little bit easier.” from umterps.com
Maryland football’s November 15 home date against defending Rose Bowl champion Michigan State is set for a 8 p.m. kickoff and will be carried live on the Big Ten Network, the conference announced Tuesday.
For the Terps, it is the first scheduled televised primetime game since Maryland took on Notre Dame at FedEx Field on Nov. 12, 2011, and its first home contest to be featured in primetime since facing Clemson on Oct. 15, 2011.