The Washington Times - August 26, 2008, 08:46AM

Dean Muhtadi insists he doesn’t mess around with EA Sports’ NCAA Football series.

But the genial defensive tackle has heard the game’s programmers weren’t exactly kind to him.

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“My brother called me the second it came out – actually, I think his friend got it early,” Muhtadi said.” He was so upset. He was dogging me on the ratings.

“They made me really slow, which is funny because I run a 4.78, which is the best for d-linemen on our team right now except for [Jared] Harrell, and he weighs 250. They made my jumps or vertical just terrible, and I just broke the all-time d-line vertical record this summer.”

Even when there was something good, it was usually accompanied by something that made no sense at all.

“They made my d-lineman moves pretty good. Maybe they saw the bowl game,” Muhtadi said. “I really have no idea how they do this. They lopped me, Bemi [Otulaja], Jeremy [Navarre] and pretty much all the d-linemen into one position, so the strings are all out of whack.”

And so are some other, shall we say, relatively non-negotiable stats.

Like height, which is already slightly higher in media guides than it is in real life for the most part.

“I think they made Bemi 6-foot-2 or something,” Muhtadi said. “I don’t know who does those stats, but that’s absurd because Bemi is like 5-2.”

But this story has a happy ending. Even with the low-balled ratings and a scrum at Muhtadi’s position, the world of video games allows even the wildest dreams to come true.

“My brother said he played a season with me and my guy went first-team All-American,” said Muhtadi, who was placed on scholarship in the offseason.

Consider this a scenario where the Terps would love for life to imitate art.

Patrick Stevens