Maryland Terps

Injured Barkley won't play in Sun Bowl

Injured Barkley won't play in Sun Bowl

EL PASO, Texas (AP) Matt Barkley came to Southern California as a hot-shot recruit, seemingly destined to be the Trojans' next star quarterback. For the most part he delivered on that promise during a record-breaking four-year run as USC's starter.

Barkley, though, won't get to give a grand finale.

He won't play in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech on New Year's Eve because of a lingering injury to his right shoulder. Doctor's didn't clear him to play, coach Lane Kiffin said.

``It's a tough day,'' Barkley said. ``As you heard from Coach Kiffin I won't be playing on the 31st. I've worked as hard as I could to get back for this game, but nature's not allowing it and the doctors aren't allowing it, which is the most important thing. They're looking out for my best interest, and I trust their judgment in how things have turned out.

Kiffin said Max Wittek will start. The redshirt freshman will be making his second career start.

``I'm still here for the guys and still trying to help Max and even Cody (Kessler), if he needs to play - to help those guys get ready and with the game plan. I'm trying to be here as much as I can for this team to finish strong.''

Barkley's throwing shoulder was injured during USC's second-to-last game against UCLA and he didn't play in the season-finale against Notre Dame. Wittek started the game and the Trojans lost to the Fighting Irish to fall to 7-5 on the season.

``I know he wanted to play,'' Kiffin said. ``He wanted to finish on a good note. He's not been hurt very much in his four years here, but unfortunately when he has he's missed some really big games.''

Barkley was a celebrated prospect from southern California- he went to the same high school as Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart - who grew up dreaming of playing for USC. He won the starting job as a freshman in 2009, beat Ohio State on the road in second game of his career and appeared on the way to becoming a college football star to rival Leinart, Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez.

Barkley went on to rewrite the Pac-12 record book during a USC-record 47 starts over four seasons, becoming the conference leader in touchdown passes, yards passing, completions and total offense.

But so much more was expected from him and the Trojans this season, when Barkley announced last January that he would return for his senior year.

Coming off a 10-2 season, and out of a two-year stay in NCAA jail for rules violations, USC started this season ranked No. 1 and a consensus national title contender. Barkley was the Heisman Trophy favorite and an almost certain high first-round NFL draft pick.

Neither he nor the Trojans could reach those high expectations.

Barkley was not bad. He threw for 3,273 yards in 11 games and 36 touchdowns. But he also threw 15 interceptions, the most since his freshman season.

``I'm at peace. Yeah, absolutely,'' Barkley said. ``I try to find peace in every situation. It's not what I thought would happen, it's not I don't think the most ideal situation. But at the same time, I do have peace and I know that whatever the case is right now, I can make it into a great case come April (in the NFL draft), which is what my goal is now.''

He will end his career having played in the postseason just once. He led USC to a victory against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl in `09 as a freshman.

Barkley, the only three-time captain in USC history, owns 20 school records and 10 Pac-12 records. He is the Pac-12's leader in total offense (12,214), yards passing (12,327), completions (1,001), TD passes (116) and combined rushing and passing TDs (122). He's also the only player in league history to have 2,500 yards or more of total offense four times.

``I think that Matt has had a great career here at USC,'' Kiffin said.

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Reliving Cliff Tucker's epic buzzer-beater for Maryland vs. Georgia Tech on its 10th anniversary

Reliving Cliff Tucker's epic buzzer-beater for Maryland vs. Georgia Tech on its 10th anniversary

With 1.5 seconds to go and down by one, Maryland guard Eric Hayes scanned the floor and found his teammate Cliff Tucker on the left wing. 

Tucker didn't have to time to make a move, so he simply let it go from three and canned the game-winner to give the Terps a shocking late-season win over Georgia Tech. It was the third victory of a seven-game winning streak to close the 2010 season for Gary Williams and his group. 

It's been 10 years since Tucker stunned Georgia Tech with his epic buzzer-beater, which is still one of Maryland's best basketball moments in the program's history.

The 2010 Terps, led by Grieves Vazquez finished the season on a 10-1 sprint into the ACC tournament. They won the regular-season conference championship, beating out the eventual National Champion Duke Blue Devils, but ultimately lost their conference tournament opener to, guess who, Georgia Tech. 

Maryland entered the NCAA tournament as a four-seed. After an easy win over Houston in the first round, the Terps fell to Michigan State by two points. The Spartans went on to the Final Four thanks to Northern Iowa upsetting top-seeded Kansas, so Maryland was left to wonder what could have been if they got past Tom Izzo's bunch. 

So in the end, the season wasn't the success it was setting up to be as Tucker helped lead a late-season surge. But hey, they'll always have his buzzer-beater. 

Tucker passed away in a car accident in 2018. 

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Astros scandal leaves union, MLB trying to figure out future of technology in baseball

Astros scandal leaves union, MLB trying to figure out future of technology in baseball

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Replay rooms have become ground zero for what’s next for technology in Major League Baseball.

The ongoing Houston Astros scandal has brought the use of television monitors anywhere from the dugout on back into question. Monitors are now in place, a delay on the feed is also demanded and general access to the rooms is in question. That’s the current status. The players’ union and MLB are trying to figure out what’s next. Full removal of access to the replay room seems unlikely. More stringent rules about what occurs in there are being considered by the union. Both sides know public relations management is at stake as much as functionality.

Max Scherzer, who is among the players on the MLBPA executive board, is one of the leading voices in deciding what’s next.

“This is where the situation’s fluid,” Scherzer told NBC Sports Washington. “That, as players, this is how we see it: there’s a benefit to us in the game to be able to watch our at-bats, watch our pitches, where the pitch locations are and see what just happened, make adjustments on the fly. And, if we’re able to do that, it makes the game better. We can compete at a higher level. Everybody. So, I don’t necessarily believe we need to take replay away given where we were last year with it. There are rules and things we’re very cognizant of [when] trying to eliminate catcher’s signs on those replays so we can’t steal that.”

Replay rooms have replaced real-time discussion on the bench. In the past, players had no choice but to turn to hitting or pitching coaches, or teammates, for information when returning to the bench. Questions about hips leaking or swing path or tipping pitches were covered in conversation. Those still take place. But, the replay room has become an in-game magnet for both hitters and pitchers.

“For a hitter, if you’re looking at your swing, it’s more like positioning that you know is good or bad with your swing,” Ryan Zimmerman told NBC Sports Washington. “It’s not like you’re going in there and looking at the sequence of the signs. It’s more mechanics and things like that. Same thing a pitcher would look at with their windup.”

Another thing being checked by hitters? Decisions against them from a prior inning. Irritation from a blown strike call can end up back in the batter’s box.

Scherzer also uses the replay room immediately after his start ends and his shoulder care is under way. He ices, does his maintenance routine, then pops into the room to review specific pitches from big moments. He’s trying to understand if the process or execution were correct. And, he wants to do so when everything remains in the fore of his mind.

“You’re so emotionally connected to these pitches, you want to be able to see what happened,” Scherzer said. “What just happened? What do these replays look like while everything’s still fresh? I don’t look at every pitch, but I go look at some of the big pitches, so what happened in this situation? For me, I’m self-correcting my instincts, was this a good pitch or was this a bad pitch and kind of getting that instantaneous feedback, so when you go home and sleep at night, you know what you’re sleeping on. You know what you’re thinking about as you kind of process what just happened.

“I get it, obviously those replays could be available after the game. If I’m not using replay to undermine the game, I’m using replay to benefit myself, I don’t think we have a problem. We need to be careful about how much regulation we put into the game. At the end of the day, replay for individual players is not a problem.”

What is?

“Using it to be able to convey signs in real time.”

The Nationals’ replay room requires a player to leave the dugout, head up the steps then take a left into the clubhouse and a right into the hallway adjacent to the clubhouse. It’s a few feet from Davey Martinez’s office. Inside, Jonathan Tosches, manager, advance scouting, watches the lone live feed and fields calls to determine if the team should challenge. The rest of the monitors are on an eight-second delay. A human monitor, installed by MLB and called a “chaperone” by the players, is also in the room. Another is wandering to denote if a player was on their cell phone during the game. Even more monitors were present during the 2019 playoffs.

So, the line becomes about coexistence. The players are considering a longer delay on feeds in the room -- perhaps up to 20 seconds. They hope, at a baseline, one (well, two) bad apples have not spoiled the situation for the bunch. They are also operating from a fundamental understanding of human nature: the issue with temptation is it exists no matter what.

“I wonder if all of the camera angles and the cameras that we have around, I wonder is it tempting for teams to try to do what the Astros did and bend the rules to cheat and try to gain an unfair advantage? I honestly don’t know,” Doolittle said. “Was that the natural progression all along, when you have this many cameras in the stadium looking at so many different things? I don’t know.”

“You want to reduce temptation by altering what’s available during the game,” Scherzer said.

“No matter what you do, there’s always going to be somebody who tries to cheat,” Zimmerman said.

Which leads to one more, non-technical element. Players want the league to take complaints more seriously. The conundrum for the commissioner’s office is wading through what’s sour grapes and what may be an actual grievance.

“One thing we keep coming back to, the players, that stuff with technology seems almost secondary,” Doolittle said. “One of the big changes that we would like to implement, that we would like to see, is some sort of system where a club or a player can file a complaint or tip. If a club could say to MLB we think something is going on here knowing that it would be taken seriously and investigated.

“Because after this scandal with the Astros, we now know MLB had had several reports from teams asking for investigations or asking them to check it out and they didn’t do anything and nothing changed, nothing came to light until there was a whistleblower. A guy put his career on the line to talk about this publicly on the record. It shouldn’t have to come to that. They had some knowledge of this and it didn’t look like it was taken seriously. If we had a system where we knew some reports would be taken seriously, and acted upon in a timely manner, I think that would help a lot, too.”

The one unified thought is the current system is not working. The 2017 World Series champion was shown to cheat. The 2018 champions are under investigation. The 2019 World Series champions are a secondary story in their own complex. Something needs to change.

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