Cobb: Too hot to han­dle

Starter says he didn’t feel ready for blaz­ing Bos­ton bats in de­but

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Eduardo A. Encina By Don Markus

BOS­TON – Alex Cobb knew the Bos­ton Red Sox would present a dif­fi­cult chal­lenge in his sea­son de­but Satur­day, but the Ori­oles right-han­der was con­fi­dent he had done ev­ery­thing he could over the sea­son’s first few weeks to be ready for the Amer­i­can League’s most danger­ous lineup.

Cobb had his­tory on his side — a track record of suc­cess against the Red Sox and at Fen­way Park — but his prepa­ra­tion for the sea­son af­ter sign­ing with the Ori­oles in the fi­nal week of spring train­ing was un­charted ter­ri­tory.

Af­ter an ugly Ori­oles de­but in a one-sided 10-3 loss to the Red Sox, Cobb — who TV: Ra­dio: walked off the field with two outs in the fourth in­ning and was charged with eight runs (seven earned) on 11 base run­ners — said he felt ill-pre­pared to face Bos­ton’s lineup. It was a du­bi­ous start for Cobb, who faced noth­ing com­pa­ra­ble to a big league lineup in four tune-up out­ings — three sim­u­lated games and an ex­tended spring game — let alone a Red Sox bat­ting or­der that has al­lowed few pitch­ing mis­takes to go un­pun­ished in the first two games of this four-game se­ries at Fen­way Park.

“Not to­day, I didn’t [feel ready],” Cobb said. “We did all we could. There is no repli­cat­ing this. This is the best team in the world hit­ting right now, and you’re never go­ing to get ready for that. We did what we could and … fac­ing a lineup, it’s a bat­tle with

COL­LEGE PARK – There was talk af­ter Mary­land’s 2017 foot­ball sea­son ended that sopho­more run­ning back Jake Funk might be moved to de­fense, where he played quite a bit in high school.

That talk qui­eted when of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Walt Bell left for Florida State in Jan­uary and Matt Canada, whose of­fenses have of­ten used a healthy dose of jet sweeps, was hired as Bell’s suc­ces­sor.

As ev­i­denced by what Canada called and Funk did in Satur­day’s an­nual Red-White spring game at Mary­land Sta­dium, that could be­come a reg­u­lar sta­ple of the of­fense this fall.

Funk, who scored four times in 27 car­ries last sea­son as he de­vel­oped into some­thing of a goalline spe­cial­ist for the Terps, scored twice on jet sweeps in help­ing the White team to a 31-3 vic­tory Satur­day.

On both touch­downs, Mary­land’s second-team de­fense was caught go­ing in the wrong direc­tion, al­low­ing Funk to run un­scathed into the end zone.

“That’s what the whole of­fense is based off of — [mis­di­rec­tion],” Funk said. “Get­ting the de­fense’s eyes off of what’s ac­tu­ally go­ing on … and ul­ti­mately they lose track of the ball.”

Asked if it was rem­i­nis­cent of his se­nior year at Da­m­as­cus High, where he set a Mary­land state record with 52 touch­downs, Funk said, “I feel they try to get me all over the field. Jet sweeps, out in the slot, play­ing run­ning back. I think my role in this of­fense is in­creas­ing and I love it so far.”

Said third-year coach DJ Durkin: “What we do of­fen­sively re­ally al­lows for a guy to cre­ate a role for him­self. … You have cer­tain strengths and [if ] those show, we can find a way to uti­lize you and Jake ob­vi­ously has a nose for the end zone. He’s a ter­rific run­ning back.”

Not that Funk is go­ing to dis­place se­nior Ty John­son (10 car­ries for 50 yards Satur­day) as Mary­land’s top run­ning back, PG9

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