SHREVEPORT,LA. — SHREVEPORT, La. -- Despite University of Maryland athletic officials saying the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl game against Louisiana Tech was a reward for the past regular season, the game puts the Terps into a pressure situation.
The Terps gained respect this year with a 6-5 record including a season-ending, 35-30, upset win over Virginia, but a loss to Louisiana Tech may tarnish it.
The Bulldogs (8-3) have been in Division I-A for only two years and despite a good season, have beaten up on some lightweights in McNeese State, Stephen F. Austin and Northeast Louisiana.
"To lose to them would definitely be a downer," said Maryland senior linebacker Scott Whittier. "It wouldn't erase our whole season, but it would put a damper on the progress after being so high against Virginia."
Maryland junior outside linebacker Greg Hines, who said yesterday that he would not play because the cartilage he tore in his left knee against Duke was not completely healed, said: "We're also in a pressure situation because we're in front of their crowd. For our season to be a complete success, we have to pull this one out."
* Temperature here yesterday reached a high of 70 degrees, and hot weather is projected for the rest the week, something that has the Maryland players concerned.
"We're down here practicing with long-sleeve shirts on," said Maryland junior cornerback Scott Rosen. "I think we may have to do some extra running for conditioning."
* Since Poulan-Weed Eater is the sponsor, does this mean the game will be played on natural grass? "You bet," said Pat Tiller, the bowl's executive director. "And we'll be doing the grooming with Poulan equipment."
* Maryland coach Joe Krivak described his team's short practice yesterday as ragged because the Terps were a little weary from travel. They left College Park yesterday at 4 a.m.
"Overall, I think this is going to be a good experience for these guys, especially the young kids," said Krivak. "But we've got some toning up to do. We'll work out tomorrow for about an hour and a half."
* Tiller said her group has sold 18,000 of 20,000 tickets to the Shreveport community and Louisiana Tech officials are expecting to sell 12,000. Maryland is expected to sell only 2,000 of the 15,000 tickets it purchased.