6-8 Terp isn't ready to grow up

September 11, 1991|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Evening Sun Staff

COLLEGE PARK -- When Lubo Zizakovic arrived for his hair appointment, Dan DeArmas, Maryland's place-kicker and sometime barber, asked if he would like a Mohawk cut.

The big man with the black hair flowing down his back thought a moment and said sure.

DeArmas started out by shaving the sides and around the ears and then, warming to the task, gave Lubo a four-inch high flat-top and carved out a square in the middle.

"It looked like a stadium," DeArmas said. "Lubo liked it, for a while anyway. That was about two years ago and I don't think he's had a haircut since."

Lubo leads the team in fashion statements, often with DeArmas' deft assistance. His place in Maryland football history is secure: Ljubinko (Call me Lubo) Zizakovic is the only 6-foot-8 defensive tackle born in Canada of Yugoslavian immigrant parents ever to play for the Terps.

In his fifth year, Lubo does much more than make fashion statements. He and Larry Webster anchor the defensive line from the tackle positions.

Because of his height, Lubo presents an unusual problem for opponents, as Syracuse will discover Saturday (7 p.m.) at Byrd Stadium. Last year he blocked field-goal and extra-point attempts in a 13-12 victory over North Carolina State.

Lubo has a 3.0 grade-point average in his double major of marketing and transportation ("It'll look good on the resume"), but he will not be ready for a real job when he graduates.

"I'm not ready to grow up quite yet," he said.

If the NFL doesn't beckon, he will play in the Canadian Football League. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats told him before the CFL draft last February that he would have been their first choice and No. 4 overall if he hadn't made it plain he wanted to finish up at Maryland.

"It's nice to know I'll have somewhere to play," Lubo said. "If I go to a bowl -- I've already been invited to the Japan Bowl -- I should have some exposure to NFL scouts. But if I'm drafted real low, or have to go the free-agent route, I'll probably go to the CFL."

Zizakovic also is toying with the idea of venturing into pro wrestling. He thinks he and Tony Strano, a 6-5, 310-pound teammate, would make an ideal tag team.

"We have the height and the size," Lubo said. "I had a security job for concerts at Hammerjacks in Baltimore and met some wrestlers there and in bars at home. I think it would be fun, although I wouldn't do it until I'm through with football."

There's also a Harley Davidson in Lubo's future, custom-made, lower and longer to accommodate his 6-8, 271-pound frame, but not until he draws his first big paycheck.

"They go for $9,500 to $10,000, which is out of my price range at the moment," Lubo said.

Lubo has a motorcycle now, and DeArmas says that with Lubo aboard it is a sight to behold.

"Dressed totally in black, hair flying behind him," DeArmas said. "Awesome. He looks like something out of Hell's Angels."

Lubo's parents, Roy (now a milling machine operator with Boeing Aircraft in Ontario) and Rada Zizakovic, settled in Canada because it was easier to gain entry to that country at the time than the United States.

Lubo's brother, Srecko, two years older, was looking for a football scholarship in the mid-1980s and was offered one by Maryland. Although Srecko chose Ohio State, the family's connection with Maryland had been made, and assistant coach Jeff Mann took it from there, checking out Lubo at a football clinic in Ontario.

Despite his unusual tastes in hair and method of transportation, Lubo isn't classified as a character by Maryland coaches. Joe Krivak concedes only that he's "a little unconventional, but there are a lot like that."

"He's bright, he can run and he's 6-8," Krivak said, summing it up. "He can be very good this year."

Defensive line coach Denny Murphy takes it a step further: "He gets good grades, doesn't get into trouble, works hard and produces on the field."

Oh, says Murphy, and one more thing: Lubo wants to be good.

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