Duffner horses around in preparation for Florida State Seminole pays a visit to practicing Terrapins

November 06, 1992|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

Maryland junior slot receiver Frank Wycheck had just finished stretching when he looked up and saw an Indian on horseback riding across the Terps' practice field toward the team.

"At first I said, 'Nah, can't be,' " said Wycheck. "Then I said, 'Oh, wow. It really is an Indian coming this way.' "

Actually, it was supposed to be a Seminole, the mascot of No. 6 Florida State (7-1), which Maryland (2-7) plays tomorrow at 12:10 p.m. in Tallahassee.

Maryland coach Mark Duffner was at it again Wednesday afternoon, trying to break the boredom of practice and inspire his team.

It's a tradition at Florida State for the Seminole to come out during pre-game warm-ups and plant a spear on the visiting team's half of the field. It's supposed to represent some type of declaration of war.

But once the Seminole planted the spear and started to ride off into the sunset at Maryland's practice Wednesday afternoon, new coach Mark Duffner grabbed the spear and broke it in half over his knee.

"He said something like, 'There will be no peace treaty this week,' " said Wycheck. "Guys weren't getting all fired up, but they were laughing. Everybody got pretty excited and had some fun."

Actually, Duffner said he was trying to create the game atmosphere at Florida State's 70,000-seat Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Duffner has had war drums played over the intercom at practice along with the Seminoles chant.

"We were stretching, and then you see this guy on a black horse coming at you with feathers and a spear. Then he circled us," said Wycheck. "I was used to the music, but this was different."

Linebacker Mike Jarmolowich said: "It was wild having a horse at your practice. When the Seminole started going around us, players and coaches were yelling, 'Get 'em, Duff. Go get 'em, Duff.' It got people excited."

Duffner said: "You don't want to get into the situation where your players are awestruck. If we want to take a real shot at them, we have to concentrate and focus just as much as they do.

"Plus, every once in a while, you need a change of pace. Long hours of practice can become pretty tedious. We like to make football fun."

Duffner pulled similar stunts in his six years at Holy Cross.

Earlier this season, he had the Nittany Lions mascot visit practice. The Terps lost to Penn State, 49-13.

"Obviously, we had more success against the Nittany Lion on the practice field than on the game field," said Duffner.

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