New-look Terps exhibit some old habits

April 24, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Although 48 of 61 letter winners returned for Maryland, there was talk of a new-look Terrapins team.

During spring practice, the Terps switched some wide receivers to the defensive backfield and added new formations to their offensive arsenal.

But in its 14-13 victory over the alumni in the second annual alumni-varsity game at Byrd Stadium yesterday, Maryland reverted to its previous two-year form of quick-hitting offense and questionable defense.

"We were awful. It was as bad I've seen us play," said junior quarterback Scott Milanovich about the offense. "We were really sharp all spring, and we come out and play like this. This game shouldn't have been this close."

Terps junior linebacker Mike Gillespie stopped running back Keeta Covington at the goal line on a two-point conversion with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.

The game remained hard-hitting throughout and included several shoving matches. Covington's hit on a scrambling Milanovich, who was sliding out of bounds, 3:16 into the second quarter ignited tempers.

By game's end, the Terps had three injured players, the alumni had none.

"These guys [alumni] came in hard and we respected that," Terrapins coach Mark Duffner said.

The alumni, primarily composed of players from the mid 1980s and early 1990s, crossed midfield on all but one possession during the game Three drives ended in missed field goals and another ended with an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-goal at the 1.

The alumni running backfield of Donald Brown (1985), Kevin Fowlkes (1990) and Covington (1986) -- all former defensive backs -- accounted for 150 of the team's 257 rushing yards.

The alumni finished with 357 yards in the time-shortened game.

"I knew that they would play hard, but I didn't think they would run at us like that," said Wade Inge, one of three wide receivers moved to defensive back this year. "It was a little different back there, but I am getting more used to it."

Alumni quarterbacks Bobby Milkovich (1982) and Jim Sandwisch completed nine of 21 passes for 100 yards.

Duffner said the reason for the alumni's success on offense, especially running, was that the Terps only rushed four players on defense to help level the playing field.

"We would have liked to win by a bigger score, but our first goal was to execute," Duffner said. "I firmly believe we have made improvements on the defense."

On offense, the Terps showed some spurts of the same potent run-and-shoot form of the past years.

On their second play of the game, Milanovich hit sophomore wide receiver Geroy Simon on a short dump off pass, and Simon broke to the open field for a 51-yard touchdown to give the Terps a 7-0 lead. Maryland also capped a 99-yard drive that elapsed 2:23 with an 8-yard run by Allen Williams to go ahead 14-7 just before halftime.

Williams rushed for 76 yards, and senior running back Larry Washington (Randallstown) had 56 on six carries.

But the Terps never got into a consistent offensive rhythm. Maryland implemented a new formation featuring two running backs and two tight ends for the first time under Duffner.

"I think we've got to run the ball more," Milanovich said. "If it helps us do that, great. But I'm not calling the plays."

NOTES: Sophomore defensive back Lamont Gore (bruised left shoulder), junior offensive tackle John Teter (sprained left ankle) and Simon (sprained left shoulder) sustained injuries. . . . ABC broadcaster Tim Brant played the first half for the alumni as a defensive back.

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