Growing is 1st-game pain for young team

September 05, 1993|By Paul McMullen and Mike Preston | Paul McMullen and Mike Preston,Staff Writers

COLLEGE PARK -- It's going to take some time for Maryland's young players to get settled.

Confusion led to the Terps squandering several of their timeouts in yesterday's 43-29 loss to Virginia. Just before Virginia's first punt, with one of the Cavaliers' cover men wide open for a pass off a fake, Maryland took one. The Terps needed another after getting a first down on the opening drive of the third quarter, and in the fourth the defense called one when it had 12 men on the field.

When six players in their first Division I-A game are on the field at the same time, that's going to happen. Injuries forced defensive coordinator Larry Slade to send out a lineup in the fourth quarter with that many rookies.

At one time the Terps were using freshmen Lamont Gore (free safety), Andreal Johnson (left cornerback) and Johnnie Hicks (nose guard); redshirt freshmen Orlando Strozier (right cornerback) and Mike Gillespie (end); and sophomore Mike Settles (outside linebacker), who didn't play last year.

"We'll never use youth or lack of size as an excuse for not executing," Slade said. "We made some mistakes, missed some tackles in key situations. That's got to be corrected."

Strozier recovered two fumbles and had an interception, but was beaten on several big plays. Mark Sturdivant and junior college transfer Cleveland Everhart were credited with the only sacks. Freshman Ratcliff Thomas, who started at linebacker, was in on 11 tackles for the Terps.

Injuries hurt

Maryland was that young on defense in part because of injuries. Junior free safety Angel Guerra aggravated a shoulder sprain on Virginia's first possession of the second half, and never returned. Senior defensive lineman Sturdivant sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore wide receiver Jermaine Lewis was out briefly with an old hamstring injury. Richard Roberts, who blocked a punt that led to the Terps forcing a 29-29 tie, sprained his right knee.

Virginia's top defender, senior linebacker P. J. Killian, was supposed to play, but did not suit up because of a knee injury. The Cavaliers also were minus several offensive linemen, but the reserves did just fine, as Virginia got 24 first downs to the Terps' 20.

Terps find a punter

Maryland quarterback Scott Milanovich averaged 47.3 yards per punt, the second-best game day average in school history.

Milanovich replaced punter/place-kicker Lonny Calicchio, who was declared academically ineligible during training camp.

Milanovich, who punted in high school, had six punts for 284 yards, including a long of 55 yards.

Milanovich has punted in practice the past two seasons for the Terps, and he wasn't exactly booming them.

"My punting is turning out just like in high school," said Milanovich. "I didn't punt well in practice but I did well on Friday nights."

The same could not be said for place-kicker Ken Lytle. He missed both second-quarter field-goal attempts and also had two kickoffs that went out of bounds, giving Virginia possession at its own 35-yard line.

Not Mason of old

Maryland senior superback Mark Mason rushed for 93 yards on 26 carries, but he was far from being the Mason of old.

The old Mason was a hard, straight-ahead runner. Yesterday, Mason juked too much, and missed cutting sweeps up inside while trying to outrun defenders to the corner.

"I think I was overrunning, trying to make too many moves, juking too much and trying to make something happen," said Mason, who missed the second half of last season with a shoulder injury. "It's the first game I played since last Oct. 3."

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