COLLEGE PARK -- It was five years ago, but Scott Rosen remembers it as if it were yesterday: His first days as a Maryland freshman football player were "overwhelming."
Now a Terps co-captain, Rosen and the other seniors will try to make the transition from high school to college easier for incoming freshmen by serving as their Big Brothers.
The Big Brothers relationship is one of the things that new coach Mark Duffner initiated at Holy Cross and brought with him here.
Rosen is Big Brother to Latroy Askew, a defensive back from Fairfax, Va., who is clearly apprehensive. When a man wished him good luck, Askew said with a frown, "I'll need it."
Rosen is the most senior of Maryland's seniors. He arrived in 1987 and was redshirted, played the next three years and withdrew from school last year after a season-ending back injury in the opener. This is his sixth preseason camp.
"I remember the overwhelming experience of being a freshman," Rosen said. "It is for everyone. Now, with the varsity coming in [today], the freshmen will be really nervous.
"I'm here for whatever concerns Latroy has. How to get to class? How to register? What's practice like? How hard is it? If he gets homesick, I'll talk to him about my experience."
Askew was signed only last week, when a scholarship became available after another recruit failed to meet NCAA Proposition 48 requirements. He was plunged into the Maryland experience before he had much chance to think about it.
"Scott is helping me understand things, like how to work out, lift weights, learn plays and get to know the coaches," Askew said. "Having him as a Big Brother makes me excited to be here. He knows how to help me strive for excellence because he's excellent himself."
Duffner started the Big Brothers program at Holy Cross a few years ago because some freshmen in the class were a long way from home. He feared they might become homesick.
"Kids come in high as a kite and then feel they no longer exist when the varsity arrives," said outside linebackers coach Peter McCarty, who was on Duffner's Holy Cross staff. "Big Brothers help them through that. We found it made the transition smoother and helped them feel accepted."
After the varsity players report today, the entire squad, including Duffner and his assistants, will bunk in one dorm, Dorchester, for the remainder of the preseason.
"It's bonding time," Duffner said. "The first thing we're looking for is attitude, and this should help develop a good one."
As far as Duffner knows, all the varsity players will arrive fit and ready to go. The worst problem, if it can be considered that, is kicker Dave DeArmas' aching wisdom teeth.