Terps' tackle tandem among ACC's best Jones, Glenn make running game go

December 12, 1990|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Correspondent

COLLEGE PARK -- One is a hulking, muscled specimen, the other a round, barrel-chested, thin-legged player with a relentless desire to succeed.

Together, the University of Maryland's "Bulkmaster" Clarence Jones, 6 feet 6, 277 pounds, and "Massmaster" O'Neil Glenn, 6-2, 283, form one of the better offensive-tackle combinations in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

They also have quite a reputation at Cluck-U Chicken in College Park.

"Man, those two guys can eat," said Maryland center Mitch Suplee. "I think they have a special account at Cluck-U -- like pay once a month. Anyone else when they order, they have to leave an address. When those two call, they just say Clarence or O'Neil."

The two have left their calling cards at a lot of other places this season, too. Without them, Maryland's off-tackle running game might be non-existent.

Without them, Maryland quarterback Scott Zolak might have been sacked 60 times instead of 34. Jones and Glenn, both seniors, made what was projected as a poor offensive line into, at least, a mediocre one.

"Those two have been the most durable of all our offensive linemen," said Maryland coach Joe Krivak, whose team will play Louisiana Tech Saturday in the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. "They have played just about every snap, and they were our anchors. I thought they had really fine years. But when the All-ACC teams came out, we had only one player [wide receiver Barry Johnson] picked in the top 44, yet we played the toughest schedule and had six wins.

"When the pro scouts watch our offensive film, the three people they always talk about are Zolak, O'Neil and Clarence. The good thing about this is that both of these guys are going to get an opportunity to play after their college years and prove a lot of people wrong."

Glenn and Jones, the best of friends, would like nothing better. They spent the summer running and lifting weights together preparing for the season and possibly a tryout in the National Football League.

Jones, a four-year starter, is more of a natural at offensive tackle. He has the prototype frame: large but lanky, thick but with exceptional quickness.

It is Glenn who has waged the uphill battle just to play. One week after signing a scholarship out of Nassau Community College to play guard with the Terps in February 1988, Glenn, a native Jamaican, went back home to attend a memorial service for his father.

In accidents suffered later, he was out jogging when he pulled a hamstring muscle, then he stepped in a pothole, which caused a break of the right femur.

Glenn spent two days in traction, before flying back to New York for an operation. His mother purchased four seats on the plane so he could stretch out comfortably.

"It was an unbelievable pain, one I can't describe," he said. "I wanted to try and play football, so I waited to get operated on back in New York. The doctor reassured me that I would play again, if I listened to him."

Glenn wore a plate from his hip to his knee while redshirting for the 1988 season. He gained 25 pounds, up to 305, during the period of inactivity, but seemed to have made a full comeback for the 1989 season.

Then he strained ligaments in his left knee during preseason camp. He never worked his way above No. 2 on the depth chart, but there were some Terps who noticed he could play.

"First time I pass-rushed against him, and he was playing guard, I didn't see him," said Maryland outside linebacker Jack Bradford. "He hit me in the face and left this big bruise on my forehead. That's when I knew he was a pretty good lineman."

Glenn seemed to have worked his way into the starting lineup by last spring, playing guard next to Jones, but that's when the coaching staff decided to move him to left tackle. Krivak said he needed someone quick enough to protect Zolak's blind side.

Glenn runs 4.9 in the 40, but he doesn't look like a tackle. His compact frame is ideal for a guard. His little legs belong on a wide receiver.

L Plus, he has no neck. Only guards and centers have no necks.

Still, Glenn graded out at 82 percent for the regular season, the best of any Terps lineman. He was named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice, a rare accomplishment.

"When you consider the injuries, and how well he has played, it's pretty incredible," said Johnson. "There aren't too many players that come back from that type of injury."

Glenn gives a lot of credit to Jones, who started at left tackle in 11 games in 1988. Jones is one of the few linemen in the country to have started four years for a major college.

Jones isn't a finesse player. He has graded out in the 80th percentile in each of his past three years.

"Most coaches are fortunate to get two starting years out of a lineman," Krivak said of Jones, who is expected to be at least a fifth-round pick in the NFL draft. "We're very glad to have had Clarence for four years. You don't get specimens like that often."

NOTES: The Terrapins were expected to arrive in Shreveport this afternoon. A practice is scheduled for 3 p.m. . . . Reserve S Johnny Vessels has been given the OK to play Saturday. Vessels, a senior, has missed substantial playing time in the second half of each of Maryland's last two regular-season games because of heart palpitations. His availabilty appears to be critical because Louisiana Tech throws a lot and Vessels is the fifth defensive back.

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