COLLEGE PARK -- When Maryland faces Duke today for homecoming at Byrd Stadium (1:30 p.m.), it will be the Blue Devils' first game in the past three weeks. That concerns Terps coach Joe Krivak.
"Duke is coming off three weeks to get ready," said Krivak. "You can put in a whole new offense in two weeks. It's tough to say what they're going to do.
"I expect them to have a few new plays, a few new wrinkles," Krivak said, "but I don't expect them to change much from the past. I expect them to throw the ball all over the parking lot. And maybe they might have lost some of their edge. One thing we do know is that they will be well-rested. We're certain of that."
Maryland (2-4 overall, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won't be, even though playing Wake Forest (1-5) last week should have been as easy as having a bye (Maryland won, 23-22). The Terps will be without four starters, and a fifth, senior defensive tackle Lubo Zizakovic, is expected to see limited action because of a neck injury. Also, two of the Terps' top reserves in the secondary will not play.
Krivak said earlier this week he never has had so many starters out so early in the season, but he has tried not to harp on the injuries.
Of more immediate concern is Duke's passing game. Quarterback Dave Brown has completed 102 of 186 passes for 1,223 yards and 10 touchdowns. Brown has been spreading his passes around. Fullback Chris Brown has 17 receptions for 117 yards, but Duke's big threat seems to be wide receiver Walter Jones, with 13 catches for 289 yards and four touchdowns.
Maryland has been victimized by four long passes the past three weeks, including Wake Forest's 66-yard touchdown last week.
"We have continued to give up the big play that takes the air out of us," said Krivak. "David Brown has a good arm, sees the field well and can throw the ball vertically very, very well. We've got to VTC try to take Brown out of rhythm, try to make him move. We've got to correct that situation with the long pass."
It will be hard. Starting right cornerback Scott Rosen is out for the season with an extensive hamstring injury. Reserve safety Andre Vaughn (knee injury) and cornerback Mike Hopson (ankle) will not play. Both were used in passing situations. Maryland is allowing 237.7 passing yards per game.
Defensively, Duke (3-1, 0-1) has a history of making changes when it has had an extra week to prepare for Maryland. Two years ago, in the early part of the season, Duke, using five and six defensive backs, sat back and allowed teams to complete short passes. But, with a week off, the Blue Devils beat Maryland, 46-25, by using a lot of different blitzes.
"There's always that possibility," said Mitch Suplee, Maryland's senior center. "But you can't concern yourself with that."
Maryland has had a tough time against any defense, even though the Terps scored their season high against Wake Forest. Maryland is averaging only 308.5 yards of offense. The Terps have been outscored, 73-39, in the second half.
"Again, if we can run the ball, the pass should be in good shape," said Suplee.
Krivak said the Terps need to get out of their conga offense. "Too many times we're 1-2-3, punt, 1-2-3, punt," Krivak said.