Maryland not cornered in secondary Speed may make up for inexperience

September 09, 1992|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland cornerbacks Michael Lacy and Gene Green know North Carolina State will throw at them Saturday, when the Wolfpack plays the Terps at noon at Byrd Stadium. But they don't care. Go ahead and throw. Make their day.

"I think I can speak for both Mike and myself, that we both have confidence and the coaches have confidence in us or we wouldn't be back there playing in front of 45,000 to 50,000 people every Saturday," said Green. "We expect a challenge every week, and we're prepared to meet it, too."

Lacy and Green are part of the new-wave athletes that first-year coach Mark Duffner wants at Maryland. Strong, fast and confident.

But, right now, there's only one problem. Green and Lacy lack experience. Green, 5 feet 9, 172 pounds, from Yeadon, Pa., is a sophomore. Lacy, 5-9, 173 pounds, from Burke, Va., is a redshirt freshman.

They have played in only one college game -- Saturday's 28-15 loss to Virginia. Chalk it up as a learning experience.

Once the Cavaliers found they couldn't run against Maryland's front seven in the first half, they started going after Green and Lacy in the second.

Virginia's Bobby Goodman, a marginal passer, completed 16 of 28 passes for 200 yards. Virginia's Tyrone Davis beat Lacy down the right sideline for a 39-yard reception at the end of the first half to set up a 20-yard touchdown pass from Goodman to wide receiver Patrick Jeffers two plays later.

Jeffers beat Lacy on a slant-in. And Virginia wide receiver Demetrius Allen ran the same pattern on Green for an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

The cornerbacks say it won't happen a lot this year.

"It was my first game, and there's a lot of room for improvement," Green said. "I was a little nervous. I was real upset about the touchdown, but I expected to make the play and didn't. Hey, to be honest, I don't expect anybody to beat me. Most of the times, I expect to be there."

Lacy said: "Overall, I was happy with the way I played. There are some things I need to work on, like recognizing receiver splits, the down and certain situations and taking the inside away. But I know I can do the job."

The Maryland coaching staff says it is excited about the tandem. Neither player was penciled into the starting lineup until seniors Andre Vaughn and Brandon Bertha were beaten out in preseason camp.

The young cornerbacks give the Terps something they haven't had in a while: speed in the secondary. Lacy runs a 40-yard -- in 4.3 seconds, and Green runs it in 4.36.

Their speed is ideal for Maryland's attacking defense, which sometimes leaves its cornerbacks one-on-one because of blitzes. The Terps no longer play just zone.

"Last year, we kind of just sat back and waited for things to happen," Green said. "This year, we're making things happen. But everything is so new, and a couple of times we missed a couple of calls. Everything was kind of hectic, especially since it was the first game. But I think the base is there for us to have a good defense. It's going to take a little more time."

Green and Lacy probably will get more on-the-job training Saturday.

N.C. State quarterback Terry Jordan's 270 yards passing leads the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Wolfpack receivers, split ends Reggie Lawrence and Robert Hinton and flankers Ray Griffis and Eddie Goines, are as good as Virginia's.

NOTES: Duffner said he will take a look at senior G Dave deBruin in practice. DeBruin, a starter last season, passed his physical last week. He underwent off-season knee surgery. . . . The Terps also plan to involve freshman WR Jermaine Lewis, the nation's fastest high school sprinter last year, more in the game, as well as sophomore RB Raphael Wall and junior slot receiver Frank Wycheck.

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