With starter ailing, Terps may rush in two freshmen

August 25, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- When Maryland opens the 1994 season at Duke in nine days, its top two running backs could be freshmen.

With senior Allen Williams resting an ankle that was bruised in Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, Brian Underwood and Buddy Rodgers could get the most plays at superback today, when the Terps hold their second and final intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason.

"Hopefully, Allen will be back soon," said running backs coach Dave Ungerer, "but if we were playing today, it would be Underwood and then Rodgers."

Underwood, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound player from the Bronx, was redshirted last year. Rodgers (6-0, 225), a freshman from East Providence, R.I., is the first Parade All-American to sign with Maryland. The competition at the position includes seniors Doug Burnett and Larry Washington.

"Underwood has moves that make your eyes blink," said Jamie Bragg, the returning starter at center. "Rodgers seems to be the real deal. He's going to find the hole at full speed."

After finishing last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing yardage last season, Maryland is looking to balance an offense that has relied heavily on the pass the past two years.

Bragg, a Severna Park High graduate who is one of four senior starters on the offensive line, said some blame for being last in the ACC "was due to circumstances, but as an offensive line, we were still embarrassed by it. We want to prove we can run the ball."

Stewart strong at safety

Just as Underwood and Rodgers have taken advantage of Williams' absence, a similar situation has developed on defense.

Senior Angel Guerra and sophomore Jermaine Stewart, a converted wide receiver, are listed on the depth chart as competing for the strong safety position. Guerra, however, underwent back surgery in the spring and hasn't been cleared for contact yet, so Stewart is the front-runner.

Stewart, from Jersey City, N.J., caught 11 passes for 88 yards and one touchdown in the Terps' first eight games as a freshman last year, and returned kickoffs in the last four games.

Terps tickets

A year ago, fans wanting to attend the top two dates on Maryland's home schedule had to purchase a package deal because the Florida State game was paired with Duke and Penn State with Virginia.

The only package this year is a season ticket, and Maryland has sold more than 14,000 of those. Single-game tickets for the Sept. 10 home opener against defending national champion Florida State are on sale. For ticket information, call (800) 462-8377.

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