|Crushing tackle earns Terps' Barnes internet fame|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 16 September 2008 11:47|
In the second quarter of the Terrapins' 35-27 upset of California last Saturday, Barnes got a running start and struck Jahvid Best squarely in the chest during an ill-fated swing pass. Best hit the ground quicker than the ball, and it took several minutes before the standout running back could rise to his feet.
YouTube has posted several versions of the wipeout tackle. The titles include ``Big Hit by Kevin Barnes'' and ``What did Best have for breakfast?''
As the television cameras zoomed in for a close-up on the fallen Best, he vomited.
``Initially I didn't realize what happened,'' Barnes said Tuesday. ``Someone told me, you made the guy throw up.''
Yes, the hit was that hard. Maybe because Barnes had a pretty good idea what was coming.
maker, and I was disguising my coverage. Then when they snapped it, I squared up my stance and made the play.''
Best was coming off a 200-yard rushing effort against Washington State and was clearly the key to the Cal offense. To his credit, he returned to play in the second half. But Best wasn't at his best after absorbing that punishing hit.
``I noticed the rest of the game he was holding his chest,'' the 6-foot-1, 188-pound Barnes said. ``I was telling the defense, 'Keep hitting him, keep hitting him.' He didn't want the ball anymore.''
Best, listed at 5-foot-10, 193 pounds, finished with 30 yards on 10 carries.
Barnes, a senior, leads the Terps with two interceptions and is the most experienced player in the defensive backfield. His strengths are defending receivers and leadership in the huddle, but against the Golden Bears he turned around the game with one spectacular tackle.
``The momentum was sick after that,'' Maryland wide receiver Danny Oquendo said. ``Everybody was excited and riled up. The defense stated making crazy plays. It gave us the momentum we needed to finish out the game.''
Oquendo admired the hit so much he has stored the YouTube version of the play on his ``favorites'' list.
``It was ridiculous,'' he said. ``I had to save that.''
The tackle was textbook. Facemask in the chest, arms wrapped around the body, legs driving forward.
g is that tackling probably isn't Kevin's strong point,'' Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. ``He's really made a conscious effort to get better at it. The thing I like about it is Kevin goes in a lot with his head down, and that's very dangerous. The hit he made, he had his head up and was in good hitting position.''
Oquendo said, ``I think Kevin has always been a physical tackler, but in the past he's struggled to wrap up because he always wanted the big bang. This time he banged him, wrapped him up, the whole nine yards.''
Barnes played on special teams as a redshirt freshman, then started once as a sophomore before starting all 13 games and finishing with a team-high four interceptions as a junior last year. This season, he's playing with the confidence befitting a senior.
``He's come a long way. He was very timid about getting beat and played soft at times,'' Friedgen said. ``He's changed that and is having a very, very good year. I'm very proud of the way he's matured.''
Barnes seemed a bit embarrassed about the attention he received for the tackle.
``It feels good,'' he said, ``but it's not going to make my season.''