On offense, Terps have a line of injuries Coach's schedule takes a beating

August 26, 1992|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland offensive line coach and coordinator Dan Dorazio entered the locker room. Sweat was pouring down his face and running onto an already drenched T-shirt.

Another day, another injury, another line change.

Always something.

"Right now, we're a little behind in our run blocking," said Dorazio, who has to turn the line into a cohesive unit before the Terps open with Virginia on Sept. 5.

"We just need more work, especially scrimmages with game day situations," said Dorazio. "There are a lot of reasons we're behind. It's a new system, injuries, the weather, the . . ."

Dorazio did get some good news yesterday. Starting sophomore offensive tackle Steve Ingram (6 feet 5, 285), the team's best lineman, has only a fractured left thumb; although it was put in a cast, he should be ready to play against the Cavaliers.

Ingram injured the thumb in last Saturday's scrimmage. It was the the latest of frustrating setbacks for the offensive line.

The first two came before preseason practice opened nearly two weeks ago. Starting sophomore tackle David Hack was declared academically ineligible, and starting senior guard Dave deBruin failed to pass a physical because of a knee injury that has not fully healed. DeBruin may still play before the season is over, but the Terps need some help now.

"It's been tough trying to find that continuity in this group," said starting senior tackle David Dunne (6-5, 280), after being moved from the No. 1 center position. "For a while there, we never knew what the other guy was doing."

"That's real important for an offensive line," he said. "At least now, we're getting to that point where we're starting to feel comfortable."

Dunne wasn't the only player moved around. Sophomore Jade Dubis (6-2, 274) was expected to start at right guard, but is now the starting center. Senior Ron Staffileno (6-3, 267), practicing with a slightly pinched nerve in his neck, is now the starting right guard. Redshirt freshman John Teter (6-6, 261) was expected to be the No. 2 center, but is now working in Ingram's spot.

Sound confusing? Imagine how the Terps and Dorazio feel?

Remember, this is the same group, minus graduated center Mitch Suplee, that allowed 36 sacks last year.

"The loss of deBruin and Hack hurt a lot," said Ingram. "But a lot of guys are stepping up, filling those holes nicely. Before we're done, I think we're going to be pretty good. Faith and confidence go a long way."

Actually, the Terps have done well in the area where they need to be the best: pass blocking. Maryland will use the run-and-shoot offense this season, and the Terps are expected to throw anywhere from 25 to 40 times a game.

But a lot of this offense is called at the line of scrimmage.

"The biggest difference from the spring is our recall," said Dorazio. "We put in a lot of packages to make our offense a little easier to understand for the kids. The kids weren't familiar with our offense in the spring, so it retarded our progress. But the kids have retained everything, and we have picked up where we left off."

Now, if only the Terps can pick up that running game. It sounds secondary, but it's important because it keeps the opposing team off balance and provides ball control if necessary.

"It all comes with repetition," said Ingram. "We'll be all right. All we have to do is stay injury free."

The Terps haven't accomplished that yet.

NOTES: Maryland starting senior IL Mike Jarmolowich missed yesterday's nearly two hour scrimmage with a sprained right arch. His condition will be reviewed daily by the Terps training staff.

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