Terps defense looks to raise respect, and few welts, too

September 10, 1991|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Evening Sun Staff

COLLEGE PARK -- It was a little less than a year ago that Maryland defensive back Scott Rosen saw a paragraph in a newspaper that brought joy to his heart. It reinforced his belief that a defense should "snort and get a mean-on."

After the Terps were pounded by Michigan, 45-17, he read that the Wolverines had more players in the training room after that game than any other. Rosen found solace in that: OK, the defense gave up 45 points but at least everybody hit hard.

"It makes you feel good that even though you lost, you get that respect," Rosen said. "But we don't want to be tough losers again. This year we want to be tough winners."

Rosen, a fifth-year senior and a Terp captain, was talking after Maryland held Virginia without a touchdown in winning its opener Saturday, 17-6. Even then he was look

ing forward to the Terps' game against Syracuse this Saturday ** (7 p.m.) at Byrd Stadium.

In 1987, when he was redshirted, Rosen was a witness to Maryland's 20-9 loss to Syracuse. The following year, as a member of the special teams, he took his lumps in another loss to Syracuse, that time by 25-11. The Terps haven't played Syracuse since.

"They kicked our butts -- twice," Rosen said in a tone suggesting he will pass along that information to the team's younger players.

It has been pointed out more than once by coach Joe Krivak that Maryland's schedule lacks a "gimme." There isn't a patsy among the 11. Syracuse, West Virginia, Pitt and Penn State -- all muscular and testy -- are the non-Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.

"We're not going to use the schedule as an excuse," said Rosen. "We're not going to worry. Andy Geiger [athletic director] says he wants people to start worrying that they have Maryland on their schedule."

That is in keeping with one of Rosen's goals this season. He hopes Maryland will be regarded as it was when it was winning ACC championships under Jerry Claiborne and Bobby Ross in the 1970s and 1980s.

"We've got to get back to that tradition and respect," Rosen said. "People used to say, 'Maryland plays so hard. They hit the crap out of us.' When they looked at their schedule, they didn't want to play Maryland."

A three-year starter at cornerback, Rosen has been one of Maryland's busiest defensive backs. He had a team-high 18 pass deflections the last two years. Saturday against Virginia, he broke up three passes.

Rosen is proud of Maryland's defense. He calls it "the best since I've been here." He says it was "a pleasure for the defense" that Maryland led throughout after taking a 10-0 advantage Saturday.

Rosen knows, too, that the Terps were obliged to nurse a slim lead until Mark Mason made it 17-6 with 1:50 remaining. Clearly, the team needs work on what Rosen considers "sealing the coffin."

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