The Washington Times - September 17, 2008, 08:09AM

Every season, I try to to write at least one off-the-wall story that requires a good, solid canvassing of Maryland‘s football team.

In 2006, it was about playing EA Sports’ NCAA Football video games. Last year, it was all about nicknames.


It’s no one’s idea of hard news, but it does something that some television camera-infested gaggle on a Tuesday afternoon or after a game makes extremely difficult: It exposes the personalities of the players.

These are, after all, 18-to-22-year-olds, so you know there are some good ideas and snide outlooks floating through many of their minds. You can get a better sense of how these guys tick, for example, when a guy like Morgan Green slyly smiles and says his nickname is Jail Cell “because I look like I just got out of prison.” Green’s delivery of that line remains my favorite part of that story.

Anyway, this year’s goofy idea was on jersey numbers. Usually, I’d use the hour of open locker room on media day to do the work for this, but I wasn’t smart enough to come up with the idea until a few days later. But Eastern Michigan week seemed like a good time to target this story anyway, since it’s hard trying to come up with good ideas for storylines.

So here is the link, but be assured the blog will have many more items on this story throughout the day:

Onward to the Kevin Barnes stories:

* The Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell breaks down the cultural significance of a hit delivered so hard that it made Jahvid Best vomit.

* Baltimore Sun columnist Rick Maese thinks Barnes’ hit could turn around Maryland’s season.

* The Hagerstown Herald-Mail’s Bob Parasiliti writes about Maryland’s propensity to play to an opponent’s talent level.

* The Diamondback’s Eric Detwiler looks at the possibility of Davin Meggett making his first start on Saturday.

—- Patrick Stevens