There's one Marylander, Bill Hoffman Jr. of Eldersburg, who hopes Villanova's Andy Talley doesn't get the vacant football coaching job at Maryland.
Hoffman, whose father, Bill Sr., was a star athlete at Calvert Hall in the '50s, is the punter and kicker for Villanova.
All Billy wants for Christmas is to keep Talley right where he is -- at Villanova. Talley's name is one of those that has been mentioned to succeed Joe Krivak with the Terps.
"Andy Talley is a great coach," says Hoffman, who attended South Carroll High and Kiski (Pa.) Prep and has played two years at Villanova. "Coach Talley is everything a major coach should be.
"He's a great motivator. He knows how to oversee a program. He's a very good talker and recruiter. His recruiting has gotten better and better.
"I don't want to say too much. Somebody at Maryland might read it and get ideas."
Talley came to Villanova seven years ago when the school got back into football after having withdrawn from the sport. He built jTC the Wildcats program from ground zero to where it is today.
Villanova this year was 10-1 in the regular season, followed by a playoff loss to Youngstown State, which went on to win the NCAA Division I-A championship.
"I read that Maryland is interested in William & Mary's coach, Jimmye Laycock," said Hoffman. "All I can tell you is, when we beat William & Mary this year [35-21] our coaches outcoached Laycock and his staff. Our coaches knew everything William & Mary was going to do."
Talley has already turned down the New Mexico job since his Villanova season ended. It is believed he would be interested if Maryland beckons.
Some insiders at College Park say Al Groh, former Wake Forest head coach, now defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, is the man athletic director Andy Geiger regards as the top candidate for the job. Groh played at Virginia and has a son on coach George Welsh's Cavaliers varsity now.
* You never know when a sports event is really going to grab you. Going in, the Dolphins-Jets game Sunday looked like a joke, with neither team deserving to qualify for the playoffs.
In reality, the Jets' 23-20 overtime win turned out to be one of the most dramatic games of the year. Raul Allegre's two clutch field goals (one to tie at the gun, the other to win in OT) warmed the heart of this ex-Baltimore Colt fan.
Allegre was the kicker here under Frank Kush in '83. Mexico-born, reared and educated (Mexico City U., 250,000 students, five varsity football teams), Allegre is quiet and totally likable. I'm rooting now for Raul and the 8-8 Jets to do some damage in the playoffs. Heck, I wouldn't mind seeing them win the whole thing.
Miami receiver Mark Clayton made himself and the Dolphins look foolish when he guaranteed a win over the Jets. I'll tell you this: The players would have been afraid to shoot their mouths off like that under the old Don Shula, the firm, jut-jawed leader who coached the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins to championships years ago.
* Charles Fenwick III, the leading bug boy (apprentice jockey) on the Maryland circuit before being sidelined a few months ago with a cracked vertebrae, expects to return to the track after the first of the year. Fenwick is still a high school student at Gilman School.
* People are wrong if they think coach Paul Westhead developed the run-and-gun style he has employed at Loyola Marymount and with the NBA Denver Nuggets. Al Barthelme used it successfully 40 years ago at the University of Baltimore.
Barthelme is a native New Yorker who came here with the Coast Guard during World War II and coached Towson Catholic (when it had Gene Shue), Loyola College and, finally, the Baltimore Bullets.
At Baltimore U., Barthelme's racehorse teams averaged more than 100 points a game. The Bees were led by Ed Malin, Ed Anderson, Bill Hartleb and Harvey Kasoff.
"Al Barthelme was 40 years ahead of his time," says Kasoff, whose son, Mitch, played at Maryland. "We had a little reunion recently and Al [now retired and living in St. Mary's County] was moving coffee cups around, setting picks, showing us plays. He could coach today even though he's in his 70s."