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B1G 2021, Maryland Potluck #2: RON ZOOK. STUFFED HAM.

Really this is all for the URL slug “Ron Zook Stuffed Ham”.

Wisconsin v Illinois
The “Background” for this image explains that “Ron Zook...reacts after a fumbled punt attempt.” That man is now the special teams coordinator for Maryland. So...
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We’re going to try and do too much here:

Football: Not doing enough on defense and special teams.

We talked on Tuesday about how Maryland’s recruiting has ticked up under crootin’ guru Mike Locksley—and while we fixated on the offense then, MDPrideinMA (who will hopefully have a defensive deep-dive soon) was sure to point out that the recruiting has really led to an uptick on defense:

If Terrence Lewis can recover from his ACL tear in time, we can field a 17-star LB core

With Lewis, Branden Jennings, Ruben Hyppolite II, and Demeioun Robinson. They’ll all be freshman, except for Hyppolite, a sophomore, so the Linebacker Death Star can stay together for at least 2-3 seasons. Hyppolite is also the only non-top-100 overall guy out of those 4 so we can upgrade if he leaves early. It’s like a football experiment, what if you put Alabama’s freshman LB class on the 11th ranked defense in the B1G?

Posted by MDPrideinMA on Jun 22, 2021 | 1:34 PM

Maybe Locksley has dreams of a linebacker Voltron, but right now it’s just throwing everything that the wall and see what sticks. The Terps’ defense in 2020 was decent at keeping yards per play down, but they were nearly dead last in turning over opponents and only improved marginally on an awful 2019 defense.

And somehow, DC Jon Hoke didn’t get fired!

...he did, though, leave for the NFL.

So in comes Brian Stewart! The Terps’ DC from 2012-2014 is certainly a person who exists. And the Terps’ D was good back then!

That was also in the ACC and a different decade, but it can hardly be worse than the last couple years. Maryland still can’t stop the run (230 ypg in 2020), only registered two interceptions in 2020, and lost LB Chance Campbell to Ole Miss. Now, Ruben Hyppolite II is here to wow us, along with S Nick Cross and second-leading tackler Jordan Mosley, but Stewart’s got a lot of work to do. It’s worth noting he’s got those defensive recruits and potentially-excellent DB in Tarheeb Still (8 PBUs in 2020), but we’ll see if his second stint can be nearly as good as his first.

More importantly, though, the Terps have brought someone else back:


The Zooker is back in the Big Ten, baby, and he’s got his work cut out for him as the new Special Teams Coordinator at Maryland:

  • K Joseph Petrino notably almost went 0-for-2019, finishing 2/5 on FGs, then went 4/7 in 2020.
  • P Anthony Pecorella rebounded to a strong 42.1 ypp in 2020, but he and Colton Spangler have shared time and been largely underwhelming.
  • Since the graduation of KR specialist Javon Leake, the Terps have struggled to get anything going in the return game.

Can Ron Zook fix it? WHO CARES. RON ZOOK’S BACK, BABY!

So, writers:
(1) Regale us with some Zook stories.

(2) If you’re Locksley, are you just grabbing as many defensive athletes as you can and hoping things work out?

(3) Does the Brian Stewart re-hire work for Maryland? Is there any hope in the Big Ten East, or are you just closing your eyes, thinking of England, and hoping to win games 45-44?

larry31: [ed. note: I only asked Larry about special teams, so he’ll be along in the comments to clear up what I missed.]

I firmly believe special teams is close to being as important as defense or offense. But, I just don’t have anything interesting to say here. MD has had some good field goal kickers in the past, some terrible punter, and some decent punters. In Chris Ash’s last year at Rutgers (God, I miss him!) Md did a high pooch kickoff that landed at about the Rutgers 25 yard line. None on Rutgers fielded it and MD recovered. So, that was fun.

MNW: Honestly you could keep going with the Maryland defensive numbers, so I just kind of gave up midway through this. Last year they were really impressively out-possessed almost 35-25 in minutes, which...I mean, “bad” feels like an understatement.

This is one aspect of the game where I think Maryland’s offense does deserve more criticism. The defense is getting blown off the ball, which is a problem—and my answer to (2) would be the same as every other piece: RECRUIT SOME FUCKIN D-LINEMEN—but when you have an offense that can’t sustain drives and specialists who can’t flip the field, you’re pretty fucked. Opponents ground the Terps into little bits of shell in 2019 and 2020, and at some point there has to be more emphasis on winning time and field position. Do your defense some favors.

I would be curious to see how Stewart adapts to the pieces Locksley puts around him. I neither know nor care enough to deep-dive Maryland football from 8 years ago, but I would bet the makeup of this defense—and the star-studded linebacking tools Stewart has now—are different under Locks. Maybe find ways to use those linebackers as edge rushers in a 3-4 and put that athleticism to good use?

A quick Google (OK, I got curious) said that Stewart ran a 3-4 at Rice in 2017, and since Maryland:Big Ten::Rice:C-USA, this could work?

HWAHSQB: Ron Zook, Ladies and Gentlemen! Zook and Locks brought in a ton of talent to Champaign. In six seasons, Zook recruited 20 NFL draftees including five first rounders. All that talent led to.......18-38 record in the B1G. Good luck, Terps. Enjoy all those 5* linebackers, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


  1. 2007 was one of Iowa’s worst teams under Ferentz and the best Illinois team under Zook, and probably the best Illinois team of the last 20 years. Iowa beat Illinois that year because on a 3rd down Iowa got called for a penalty and was stuffed, bringing up 4th down. However, fearing a FG, the mad genius Zooker took the penalty and Iowa converted the new 3rd down and went on to score the game’s only TD on the drive. Here’s the thing. There’s no way Ferentz even attempts the FG there. It would have been a 50ish yard FG. Iowa would have DEFINITELY punted. Thanks, again, Zook!
  2. I mean, no. This is obvious, right? Safeties aren’t DTs. You need different types of players to field an entire defense.
  3. What do you mean by work? I just don’t see how it really changes anything. So, uh, no?

WSR: “(2) If you’re Locksley, are you just grabbing as many defensive athletes as you can and hoping things work out?” I mean....does Mike Locksley do anything else?


Southern Maryland, what in the damn hell:

Wikipedia says:

Stuffed ham is a variety of ham in which cabbage, kale, onions, spices and seasonings are chopped and mixed, then stuffed into deep slits slashed in a whole corned or smoked ham.[1] The ham is covered with extra stuffing, wrapped in a cloth to hold everything together, and then boiled until the meat and greens are fully cooked. Stuffed ham is believed to have originated in Southern Maryland, specifically in St. Mary’s County, and remains popular in that region to this day.[2] Often used as a Christmas ham, this preparation has been popular for at least 200 years. Typically the ham has a distinctively spicy flavor due to added seasoning. Recipes vary widely, since they are traditionally passed down from one family member to another.

I just...uh...

(1) Have you, would you, WHY?

(2) Do you stuff any meats with things that don’t traditionally go in meats?

larry31: Stuffed Ham!?! WTF? [ed. note: I don’t know what to tell you, man—it’s your state.]

Child’s play. If you going to stuff meat. Put on your big boy pants and do the Turducken. Chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey. Yes, it’s really a thing and looks delicious.

Beez: “and then boiled” pass. Hard pass. Why the eff aren’t you just baking the ham, making the other shit, and mixing it all together after the fact? What flavor value are cabbage and kale going to add to salty delicious meat like ham?

I don’t think I’ve stuffed meat with anything out of the ordinary, just things like pesto or cheese or whatnot. I do “stuff” my pb&j sandwiches with Cool Ranch Doritos, but that’s just having good taste and being a good American.

HWAHSQB: Yeah, southern Maryland. Stop boiling meat. That’s just a mistake. Every time. I don’t even boil hot dogs because meat is better baked, grilled, or smoked. C’mon, man! We’re never going to let you be part of the real B1G if you insist on boiling meat.

The only stuffed meat that I performed with any regularity was meatballs. I have one child that hated eating vegetables. It was a constant battle, until I discovered that he loved meatballs and you can hide an awful lot of vegetables in a ball of meat. One lb. ground beef, one lb. pork sausage, a few eggs and some bread crumbs or oats to hold it together, plus mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, tomato paste, and whatever other veggies you like thrown through a food processor. Mix together, form balls, brown them in a skillet and then bake until cooked through and your kid who fakes vomiting if you try to get him to eat something healthy will wolf them down.

I also managed to get him to eat a load of fruit by mixing it into pancakes.

WSR: Oh man. You prepare that pretty much any other way than boiling it and I’m in. Smoked. Grilled. Roasted. Why did you ruin it, Maryland?

Eh, not really. Maybe it’s something I need to work on for 2022. Start stuffing things into a chuck roast and throwing it into the smoker.

MNW: It’s called a Jucy Lucy, WSR. The only things to stuff into meat are (1) cheese, and (2) more meat. And in Minnesota, we do one of those things very, very well.

Stew: It looks like an abomination. I’d still probably try the ham (and scrape all the other stuff off). Because it’s ham. It can’t be that bad, right? RIGHT?!?

As for stuffed meats....I stuff meat into other things. Huh...I do use an injection on my brisket, but it’s not really meating this definition. I’m going to have to work on this, I think. Yeah, gonna have to figure out a way to stuff meat into other meat.


Stuffed ham?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    (21 votes)
  • 15%
    (20 votes)
  • 68%
    Dear God, Maryland Week needs to be over.
    (90 votes)
131 votes total Vote Now