On average, Milanovich says he was average Sophomore QB has 2 TDs and 2 INTs

September 05, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland sophomore quarterback Scott Milanovich seemed unfazed by it all. He answered questions politely. He talked about going out for dinner with his parents, then watching a game on TV.

He smiled some, too.

The Milanovich era began at Maryland with the Terps losing to Virginia, 43-29, before 35,015 at Byrd Stadium.

Milanovich, 6 feet 4 and 220 pounds, from Butler, Pa., completed 19 of 33 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He also was intercepted twice, one of which set up Virginia's last touchdown of the second quarter and put the Cavaliers ahead 22-14 at the half.

Three more passes easily could have been intercepted.

The verdict: "Average," said Milanovich, who threw only 30 passes as a reserve last season. "Sometimes I made plays that I wasn't supposed to make, and sometimes I didn't make plays I was supposed to make. But I know down the road I will get better."

Said Maryland coach Mark Duffner: "I think Scott Milanovich opened up in his first game and made a lot of big plays. I think he led the team well."

There were times, though, that Milanovich looked methodical, as if he was second-guessing himself.

Several times, especially early in the game, he double-pumped while throwing. And other times he abandoned the pocket a little too quickly.

"Virginia had several big defensive ends that were over 6-6, and they were getting into my passing lanes," said Milanovich, who also averaged 47.3 yards on six punts. "It was tough seeing over them."

Milanovich also was bothered by Virginia's two-deep defense, which sometimes dropped as many as eight players into pass coverage. Most quarterbacks throw to the sidelines in two-deep coverage. Several times, Milanovich threw to the middle.

The Cavaliers gave Maryland the short passes, but nothing deep. Milanovich, at times, struggled on the short stuff, throwing behind receivers on the slants.

When the mid-range to long pass was available, Milanovich had trouble delivering the ball. Three times he underthrew slot receiver Russ Weaver on a 12- to 15-yard crossing pattern over the middle, twice into double coverage.

He also threw way behind a wide-open Mancel Johnson streaking down the right sideline with 7:42 left in the third period.

Even his 37-yard touchdown pass to Johnson with 3:25 left in the third period was wobbly, thrown into double coverage and behind Johnson. Fortunately for the Terps, the ball was tipped by linebacker Carl Smith to Johnson, who ran it in.

"I didn't execute as well as I should have," said Milanovich. "But I feel I'm coachable and confident that next week and down the road I won't be making the mistakes I made today."

But there were times that Milanovich showed the arm strength that made him one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks on the East Coast coming out of Butler High.

When Virginia blitzed as time expired to end the third quarter, Milanovich made a great read and hit wide receiver Jermaine Lewis on a post pattern for a 44-yard touchdown.

Milanovich also drilled a 2-yard conversion pass to Lewis after superback Mark Mason scored on a 2-yard run early in the second quarter.

Before the touchdown pass to Johnson, Milanovich was crushed by defensive end Duane Ashman, but still managed to get off a 34-yard pass to Andrew Carter.

Milanovich, who strongly challenged record-setting John Kaleo for the starting job last season, showed his mobility when pressured.

"I think Scott did a great job," said Mason. "He did a lot of things good, he did some things wrong. Overall, he kicked off his era here well.

"Overall, our running game never got in sync, so we didn't give him much help," Mason said of the Terps' rushing attack, which netted 117 yards.

"I didn't think Scott was nervous out there," said Steve Ingram, Maryland's junior left tackle. "He controlled what was going on and was very confident.

"This offense is going to get it together, and we're going to be pretty good before it's all over."

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