Two sports are too much for Thomas he opts to hit books, not baseballs

Doug Brown

April 17, 1991|By Doug Brown

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland football notes: COLLEGE PARK -- Gene Thomas' baseball career at Maryland is on hold. Indeed, he has yet to put on spikes. Maybe he'll play next spring, after his final season of football.

Thomas came to Maryland last year from Montgomery/Rockville Junior College wearing two hats, as a wide receiver and centerfielder. He planned to play baseball with football coach Joe Krivak's blessing.

But Thomas decided to forsake baseball this spring to beef up his grade-point average and work out with the football team in his spare moments.

"I want to get my grades up," said Thomas, a criminal justice major. "It's paying off. At mid-term, my GPA was between 2.6 and 2.7.

"With four baseball games a week, I was afraid I wouldn't make enough classes. Football in the spring takes less practice time than baseball."

Thomas intends to play baseball this summer for Mercury Van Lines in an industrial league in the Rockville-Wheaton area. At the moment, he is hobbling with stretched knee ligaments suffered during a tackling drill April 9.

"Nothing major," said Thomas, who caught four touchdown passes last year, two of them game-winners. "I'll be back in another week."

* INJURED LIST: Another wide receiver, Richie Harris, will miss the entire spring with a pulled hamstring.

Ditto linebacker Jaime Flores, coming off knee surgery. Archie Clark, another linebacker returning from a knee operation, is allowed to engage in some non-contact drills. Both are expected to be fully recovered by fall.

* STUDY HALL: Two key defensive players, linebacker Greg Hines and tackle Derek Steele, are ineligible for spring practice because of low grades.

"We're hoping they'll be OK after the first session of summer school," Krivak said. "This hurts their football progress some, but they are fifth-year seniors and they can catch up in the fall."

Defensive tackle Larry Webster is eligible for spring drills, although his academics are shaky. He is practicing only three times a week so he can devote more time to schoolwork.

* POSITION SWITCHING: Darren Colvin has been transferred from fullback to outside linebacker and Andre Vaughn from running back to defensive back. Cornel Rigby, after a brief trial at strong safety, is back at running back.

"Colvin is a big strong kid," Krivak said. "We've got to get him in the game. Same with Vaughn -- we want our best players on the field."

Thin at running back last year, the Terps have Troy Jackson, Mark Mason and Doug Burnett returning and Larry Washington and Raphael Wall coming in. The defensive secondary has lost Johnny Vessels and Michael Hollis.

"You can only play so many running backs," Krivak said. "In the secondary, we lost a couple of people."

* ZOLAK'S SUCCESSOR: Holdover James Sandwisch, redshirt freshman Tony Scarpino, junior college transfer John Kaleo and prep school transfer Greg Lister are getting the bulk of the work at quarterback this spring. One will emerge as successor to the departing Scott Zolak.

"It's too early to tell anything yet," Krivak said. "We've had six days of work, only four in pads."

David Dunne, Dave Hack, Steve Ingram and Dave DeBruin are the leading candidates to replace the pillars at offensive tackle, Clarence Jones and O'Neil Glenn.

* NFL BOUND: Zolak, Jones, Glenn and linebacker Jack Bradford are the Terps most likely to go in the NFL draft Sunday and Monday.

"Jones and Zolak could go fairly high, in the first five or six rounds," Krivak said. "Glenn and Bradford maybe in the middle rounds."

* NO SPRING GAME: Krivak decided not to have a Red-White spring game to mark the end of practice April 27, partly to avoid injuries.

"Rather than dilute things by having two offensive and two defensive squads, it's more benefit to have an offensive-defensive scrimmage," Krivak said. "We're allowed only 15 workouts in a 22-day period anyway, including 10 for contact."

* MORE HELP COMING?: Maryland hasn't signed any more recruits since its first-day haul of 20. Krivak has his eye on two more players, but they'll have to raise their SAT scores.

"We're allowed 95 on scholarship and we have 93 now," Krivak said. "The new rule says we have to cut 10 from the 95 over five years starting with three in 1992.

"So if we bring in two more, we want to be sure they're real players because we're going to have to get rid of some next year."

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