Young Terps may receive secondary jobs

April 23, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

The offense at Maryland includes seven wide receivers who have each caught at least 18 passes in a college season.

Last year the Terps' defense was victimized numerous times by the big play and set an NCAA record for most yards allowed. The Terps finished 2-9.

Where do you think coach Mark Duffner is looking for material to patch up Maryland's secondary?

When the Terps conclude spring practice today with their second annual alumni game at Byrd Stadium at 1 p.m., freshman Jermaine Stewart will start at strong safety. Sophomore Wade Inge will get some downs at free safety and redshirt freshman Andrew Carter might get a look at cornerback.

All played wide receiver last season.

"We're very much concerned with the depth in the secondary and the defensive line," said Duffner, whose Terps have finished last in Division I-A in yards allowed in both of his seasons at Maryland. "We looked at our receiving corps, which is strong in depth and talent, and where we are in the secondary, and tried some different things.

Maryland returns all seven of the defensive backs who played last year, but safeties Orlando Strozier (knee) and Raphael Wall (shoulder) have undergone surgery, safety Angel Guerra and cornerback Andreal Johnson are injured and cornerback Andre Martin was one of six players held out of spring practice for academic reasons.

Carter, who had 41 catches last season, wasn't tried at corner until last week. Stewart and Inge, though, knew in the winter they would spend the spring in the secondary.

Stewart, who caught 11 passes in six games last season, played both offense and defense at Marist High in Bayonne, N.J.

"I'm different from most of our receivers," Stewart said. "When I caught the ball, I was initiating contact. That's pretty much why they put me on defense."

The shift to defense happened partly because there might be fewer opportunities for wide receivers in 1994. The Terps usually went with four wide-outs in their run-and-shoot offense last year, but they've experimented extensively with a tight end and with two-back formations this spring.

Duffner said the temptation to move center Jamie Bragg to defensive tackle, where he played in 1991 and parts of '92, is great, but he doesn't want to tinker with a veteran offensive line.

Things have returned to normal at quarterback, where Duffner said Scott Milanovich will start today. A two-week suspension for a violation of university policy put Milanovich behind Kevin Foley on the depth chart, but Milanovich has looked sharp in recent scrimmages and Foley is out with a bruised shoulder.

NOTE: The alumni will be coached by Jack Scarbath, who quarterbacked Maryland's nationally ranked teams from 1950 to 1952. Approximately 60 alumni will suit up, including former all-Atlantic Coast Conference players Kevin Benson, Al Covington, Keeta Covington, Bruce Mesner and Dave Pacella.

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