With emotions in check, Terps target the basics Duffner: Early signs positive despite loss

September 07, 1992|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

Maryland's game against Virginia had been over for only tw hours, but Terps football coach Mark Duffner was on the bus already preparing for this Saturday's game against North Carolina State at Byrd Stadium.

"I replayed the Virginia game through my head," Duffner said yesterday of Saturday night's 28-15 season-opening loss to the Cavaliers. "There are many things we need to work on. We need to capitalize on the other team's turnovers. We need to improve our tackling, get a little better job out of the running game and work on our special teams."

And. . .

Well, the Terps need a lot of work, but Duffner feels the foundation has been laid for the program.

Maryland played one of its most emotional games in the past five years Saturday night before allowing Virginia to score 16 fourth-period points to seal the Cavaliers' first win over the Terps in three years.

Duffner, though, felt his team showed a lot of character, even taking a 15-12 lead with 14:15 left on a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback John Kaleo to split end Marcus Badgett.

But the Terps soon lost their poise. Virginia's Greg McClellan returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to the Maryland 48, but on the next play, Terps linebacker Mike Jarmolowich picked off a Bobby Goodman pass and returned it to the Virginia 47.

Maryland lost nine yards on three plays, then on fourth-and-19 from its 44, long snapper Corey Holobetz, a redshirt freshman, snapped the ball over punter Dave DeArmas, and Virginia recovered at the 7. Three plays later, Goodman ran an option right for a touchdown with 11:20 left.

From there, Virginia dominated.Michael Husted kicked a 35-yard field goal that finished a seven-play, 42-yard drive with 6:27 remaining, and Goodman's 14-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Davis ended a five-play, 53-yard drive with 2:46 left.

After the game, Duffner, in his first year at Maryland, appeared close to tears several times at his news conference.

"We took a step forward in terms of emotion, we really did," said Duffner, who inherited a low-morale 2-9 team. "We fought like crazy, cared for one another and were competitive as we should be when we step on the field."

"But we can't make mistakes against quality teams and we have to take control of games in the fourth quarter," said Duffner, who said he likely will start Kaleo again against N.C. State.

Some of the mistakes, such as missed tackles and the bad snap, can be worked on. Others, like the play of two inexperienced cornerbacks who were picked on by Virginia for 200 pass yards, can't because the Terps have little depth after their first 22 players.

"We've got to improve on what we've got," said Duffner.

Duffner tried everything to offset Virginia's edge in talent. He ran the run-and-shoot and no-huddle offense. He used three receivers to one side, and sometimes twins to both sides. He went with two tight ends, and ran out of the shotgun. His defensive front seven played well, and the multi-looks gave Virginia trouble.

Maryland, though, couldn't capitalize on three Virginia turnovers, two in the first half in Virginia territory. Kaleo, who completed a school-record 32 passes for 270 yards, overthrew and underthrew receivers in the first half, and two of his passes were batted down. When he was on target, the Terps dropped at least four.

Maryland finished with 304 yards of total offense compared to 373 for Virginia.

"Once we get a few wrinkles straightened out, we're going to be all right," said Kaleo.

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