Come one, come all to the First Annual Golden Terrapin Awards, hosted by me, Pete Volk. Maryland had their own awards ceremony about a week ago, so we decided we’d have our own…erm…less official one. We don’t have the funding (or NCAA permission) to give out actual awards to the athletes, so here’s an image to represent what we wish we were giving out.
So, without further ado, let’s get it started. Err, too soon after the Super Bowl halftime show to say that. Let’s try again. So, without further ado, let’s pump it. F*** it, let’s just go.
All images from UMTerps.com unless noted otherwise.
Best Coaching Decision:
Starting Danny O’Brien. Jamarr Robinson had the job for the first few games of the year, and when DOB came in during the Morgan State game and looked like the next coming of Tom Brady, most everyone knew Jamarr’s reign as the starting signal caller would be over soon. DOB got the start soon after, and had one of the best freshman years in the history of Maryland football.
Honorable Mentions: Playing DJ Adams at goal line back, going vertical in NC State game
Worst Coaching Decision:
Using Nick Ferrara as the kickoff guy. Travis Baltz beat Ferrara out for the starting placekicking job before the season started, so many people (myself included) figured Ferrara would redshirt the year, thus giving him an extra year of eligibility. The Maryland coaches disagreed, using him as the kickoff guy (where he wasn’t extremely effective, or at least not enough to merit him using a year of eligibility), and now they have a junior kicker instead of a redshirt sophomore next year.
Honorable Mentions: Not giving enough playing time to David Mackall, Jamarr Robinson’s three-play set, playing John Denver on the loudspeakers at practices before the WVU game
Funniest Coaching Decision:
Using massive defensive tackle Zach Kerr on the kickoff return and goal line units. The goal line strategy worked – Kerr was basically the new Refrigerator Perry and cleared the way for DJ Adams. Unfortunately, Kerr ended up blocking his own returners on occasion on the return team, as the Terps kept trying new ways to get Torrey Smith the space he found in 2009.
Honorable Mention: Tony Logan at quarterback.
More after the jump.
A.J. Francis Award for Funniest Player:
C’mon, the award is named after him, you think we’re going to give it to anyone else? If you don’t follow his Twitter feed, you’re doing something wrong. Go. Do it. Now.
Honorable Mentions: Kerr, Andre Monroe, O’Brien
Pam Ward Award for Broadcasting Blunder:
Anything involving ESPN3. Whether it was Warrick Dunn (and let’s face it, it was usually his fault) or not, whoever ESPN3 put in the booth was godawful and mute-worthy. I’ve suggested it before, and I’ll say it again – scrap these fools and have students broadcast the games. It can’t possibly be any worse.
Honorable Mention: A specific case – Ward repeatedly calling Mike Salvatico “Rahsaan Moore” during the Wake Forest blowout, scaring me into thinking the coaches had burnt Moore’s redshirt. Speaking of which…
Most Disappointing Burning of a Redshirt:
Max Garcia. After injuries piled up on the offensive line (Justin Gilbert, Pete DeSouza, Justin Lewis, etc.), Maryland was forced to play Garcia later in the year. He’s arguably the Terps’ best O-Line prospect for the future, so it was very tough to see him have to sacrifice a year of eligibility for only a few downs. I would have much rather seen someone like Josh Cary or De’Onte Arnett in for those few plays.
Honorable Mention: Mackall, but only because he didn’t get enough playing time.
Most Effective Burning of a Redshirt:
Matt Robinson. The 6’3″, 220 pound hard-hitting safety played in all 13 games his freshman year, recording 29 tackles and two forced fumbles. He will most likely compete with Travis Hawkins and Eric Franklin for the starting spot vacated by Antwine Perez.
Nolan Carroll Award For Injury With The Biggest Impact:
Justin Gilbert. Gilbert, who suffered a leg injury early in the year that sidelined him for the season, was Maryland’s starting left tackle and the anchor of a growing offensive line. The line did surprisingly well without him, but just think of the success the Terps could have had with Gilbert.
Honorable Mentions: Ben Pooler, Desmond Kearse, Pete DeSouza, Torrey Smith (played hurt most of the year)
Pha’Terrell Washington Award For Least Convincing Breakout Season:
Davin Meggett. Sorry Davin, but 720 yards, four touchdowns, and one 100-yard game just doesn’t cut it for me. Although Meggett was Maryland’s leading rusher, D.J. Adams had a better year and Da’Rel Scott’s Military Bowl showed the explosiveness Meggett hasn’t displayed yet.
Honorable Mentions: Jamarr Robinson, Kevin Dorsey, Pete DeSouza (pre-injury, of course), Travis Hawkins
“Kid” Award For Most Awesome Hair:
Alex Wujciak’s locks. Justus Pickett will have this award claimed for the next four-five years, but Wujciak’s iconic hair wins out this year.
Most Anticipated Newcomer of 2011:
Adrian Coxson. The transfer from Florida will have a lot of pressure on him to replace Torrey Smith, but he’s certainly got the skill to do it.
Honorable Mentions: Quinton Jefferson, Nigel King, Desmond Kearse (he kind of counts), and Justus Pickett
Best Play (Defense):
Adrian Moten’s leaping, perfectly timed, fumble-causing, goal line stand of perfection.
Honorable Mention: Kenny Tate’s goal line stop later that game, Nick Peterson’s blocked punt, Mackall’s INT return
Kevin Barnes Award for Hit of the Year:
Cameron Chism against NC State. BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE.
Worst Officiating Call of the Year:
Honorable Mention: DJ Adams’ “first down” against NC State.
Best Pass & Catch of the Year:
Really, you can pick any of those, but my vote goes to the one at the 1:43 mark. DOB threaded that ball perfectly, moving to his weak side, past two defenders in the end zone. Perfection.
Run of the Year:
Da’Rel Scott against ECU. Just pick one. This one was just more readily available on Youtube.
Newcomer of the year (defense):
Robinson, for reasons stated earlier.
Honorable Mentions: Dexter McDougle, Kearse, Bradley Johnson
Newcomer of the Year (Offense):
Danny O’Brien. Was there any doubt? DOB finished with 2,438 yards with 22 touchdowns against eight interceptions in the air, ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown while going 7-3 as a starter.
Honorable Mentions: D.J. Adams and his 11 rushing touchdowns, Will Yeatman
Most underrated (special teams):
LaQuan Williams. Williams was everywhere on special teams, blocking, tackling, sacrificing his body on nearly every play. He finished with only 13 tackles, but forced a fumble and blocked a kick.
Honorable Mentions: Emani Lee-Odai, Nick Peterson
Most Underrated (defense):
Demetrius Hartsfield. When playing alongside two stud senior linebackers, it’s hard to stand out, and Hartsfield is a guy who had a quietly solid season. He finished with 88 tackles (10 for a loss) and returned an interception for a touchdown against Morgan State.
Honorable Mentions: Darin Drakeford, A.J. Francis.
Most Underrated (offense):
Haroon Brown. While he only had three touches on the year (one rush, two receptions), Brown was a very effective blocker who filled in for the injured Taylor Watson more than admirably. That will be an interesting position battle to watch next year.
Honorable Mentions: Entire offensive line, LaQuan Williams, the blocking ability of receivers on screens
Most improved (special teams):
Tony Logan. After returning 15 punts for 100 yards in 2009, Logan rebounded with 31 returns for 560 yards and two touchdowns, becoming one of the most dangerous returners in the country.
Honorable Mentions: Baltz, LaQuan Williams
Most Improved (defense):
Joe Vellano. After suffering from injuries for most of his career, the defensive tackle had 63 tackles, including 14 for a loss, with six sacks while establishing himself as one of the best interior linemen in the conference. Vellano took advantage of the decision made by many coaches to double-up on Francis, and had a fantastic year.
Honorable Mentions: Antwine Perez, Kenny Tate
Most Improved (offense):
The entire offensive line. After an abysmal year in 2009 (the unit was one of the main reasons for the 2-10 debacle), the O-Line rebounded nicely with a great year. They have a ton of starters returning next year, and their lineup will most likely look like Gilbert-Gonnella-Fulper-Lewis-Dill, with Garcia, DeSouza, and Pete White coming off the bench. That’s a ton of experience.
Honorable Mentions: Kerry Boykins, Matt Furstenburg
Best Senior (special teams):
Travis Baltz. The kicker/punter made 14 of his 18 field goal attempts, 53 of 54 extra points, and averaged 41.7 yards per punt. Baltz had a very solid season to cap off a very good career.
Honorable Mentions: LaQuan Williams, Emani Lee-Odai
Best Senior (defense):
Adrian Moten. The outside linebacker had the best year of his illustrious Maryland career, recording 77 tackles (seven for a loss) with six passes defended, four interceptions, and three sacks. Moten was a vocal leader for the team on and off the field, and he’s going to be hard to replace next season.
Honorable Mentions: Antwine Perez, Alex Wujciak, Drew Gloster
Best Senior (offense):
Paul Pinegar. He was the anchor of a vastly-improved offensive line, and had to play a variety of positions throughout the year. After starting the season at center (moving from left tackle, where he was previously stationed), Pinegar moved to right tackle after an injury took down Justin Gilbert (moving R.J. Dill to left tackle).
Honorable Mentions: Da’Rel Scott, Adrian Cannon, LaQuan Williams
Game of the year:
Navy. It went down to the wire, ending on last-minute goal line stand from Kenny Tate, and was just a solid defensive game throughout. Maryland’s running game was actually successful, but it was the defense that really won this one.
Honorable Mentions: Military Bowl, North Carolina State
Best Individual Performance (defense):
Kenny Tate against Navy. That last goal line stand sealed the game, but you can’t forget the rest of his game – 12 tackles and two forced fumbles. It was good enough for him to be named Bronco Nagurski National Player of the Week, so it’s good enough for a Golden Terrapin.
Honorable Mentions: Joe Vellano against Duke, Antwine Perez against Boston College, Adrian Moten against FIU
Best Individual Performance (offense):
Torrey Smith against NC State. Smith broke multiple school records with his 14-reception, 224-yard, four-touchdown performance in his last game at Byrd. DOB and Torrey just had their connection on point that game, and it was arguably the best performance ever by a Maryland wide receiver.
Honorable Mentions: DOB against NC State, Da’Rel Scott against ECU, D.J. Adams against ECU
Special Teams MVP:
Tony Logan. The man is a game-changer. Schools just stopped punting to him midway through the year.
Honorable Mentions: LaQuan Williams, Travis Baltz
Kenny Tate. He established himself as one of the premier defensive backs in the nation, finishing the year with 100 tackles (11 for a loss), four sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions. His decision to return to school instead of going to the NFL is huge for a defensive unit that will be learning a new system under the next defensive coordinator.
Danny O’Brien. While the Terps went 2-1 before DOB was named as the starter, the difference in the skill and excitement of the offense was palpable after the coaching staff made the switch. As only a redshirt freshman this past year, DOB obviously has a bright future with the Terps, one that we will all be excited to watch. We’ll just have to wait and see if the weapons in place for him next year will be enough. With Torrey Smith gone, the Terps will have to rely on Adrian Coxson, Kevin Dorsey, Kerry Boykins, and maybe even Nigel King, Marcus Leak, or Tyrek Cheeseboro to pick up the slack.
Honorable Mentions: Torrey Smith, Paul Pinegar, R.J. Dill
Thoughts? Any categories we missed? Any ones you would have picked differently? Let us know in the comments.