There's no relief in sight for Maryland and Navy

September 08, 1994|By BILL TANTON

The skeptics, more numerous by the week, are asking a flippant question about our state's Division I-A college football teams.

They want to know, are Maryland and Navy a 100-point parlay this week?

Maryland is a 33-point underdog at College Park Saturday against defending NCAA champion Florida State.

Navy, at home that night against Virginia, is a 25-point 'dog.

That's only 58 points combined, but the way our teams opened their seasons last week it might take more like 100 points to cause anybody to parlay them.

Florida State probably could beat Maryland by any score it wants.

Last year Florida State beat the Terps, 49-20, but the Seminoles held out Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward that day. Also, they were looking ahead a week to the Notre Dame game (which FSU lost, 31-24).

If Maryland can't beat lowly Duke -- can't even give Duke a ballgame (49-16) -- you have to figure Florida State could win here by 60.

And then there's Navy, another disaster. It's hard to say which was more disappointing in its opener.

The Middies were crushed -- and quickly -- at San Diego State, 56-14.

"We were behind, 28-0, after one quarter," Navy coach George Chaump was saying yesterday at Annapolis. "Then we had three quarters of winging it. Getting so far behind so early took us completely out of our game plan."

Virginia opened against Florida State and lost, 41-17. But Virginia put up a good battle against what Cavaliers coach George Welsh called "a big-league team."

No one is about to call Navy or Maryland that.

Last year Navy opened with a 38-0 loss to Virginia. The year before, the Middies also opened against UVA and lost 53-0. That's 91-0 over two years.

I wouldn't take Navy plus the points. One hundred points may not be enough for this parlay.

You hate to believe the season is over before Labor Day. It wasn't long ago that no one even played before Labor Day. But by last Saturday night a lot of college football fans around here felt there wasn't much to look forward to.

Who can Maryland beat -- Wake Forest? Tulane? Answer: The way they played last week, the Terps won't beat anybody.

And Navy? I figured going into the season that the Middies could squeeze out four wins, maybe even five. Two or three wins are built into the schedule. But after that mess at San Diego State, four wins appears too high.

Three years ago Navy fired football coach Elliot Uzelac with a year to go on his contract. The athletic director, Jack Lengyel, handpicked George Chaump from Marshall College.

"You're going to love his style of football," Lengyel said through a huge smile on the day Chaump and his wife and daughters were introduced to the media at Annapolis. "You won't know what to expect from George, his offense will be so wide open. He might throw the ball from anywhere."

Guess what. I do like George. Everybody does. From all indications, his players love him.

But Chaump's wide-open offense hasn't produced a point against Virginia in two years, and last week, even behind a senior quarterback in Jim Kubiak, it looked awful.

In an almost comic twist, Navy gave up 46 points and Chaump fired his offensive coordinator. Can we assume that if Navy had scored 46 it would have fired its defensive coach?

No, it couldn't do that. Navy has been changing defensive coordinators almost annually. A program has to have some continuity.

For some 20 years people have asked whether Navy still belongs in big-time football. The San Diego thing has them once again saying Navy should be playing an Ivy League schedule.

At the same time Navy hired Chaump, Maryland A.D. Andy Geiger, now at Ohio State, fired Joe Krivak -- after having given him a five-year contract -- and brought in Mark Duffner from Holy Cross, where he was the winningest coach in the country.

Duffner is upbeat, positive, enthusiastic. But now, in his third year, Maryland appears to be going backward -- especially after being shown up by a first-year coach at Duke, Fred Goldsmith.

"I like Mark and his enthusiasm is wonderful," I told Maryland's new A.D., Debbie Yow, this week. "But after a while you have to win."

"Mark knows that, he's a pro," she said. "But you know something? There's a lot of slime out there, and when you meet a great guy like Mark you root harder than ever for your coach."

George Chaump is 11-34 at Navy. His contract runs out after next year.

Duffner is 5-18 at Maryland. His contract runs two more years.

The public, understandably, is very down on Duffner right now. Tuesday night the callers were brutal on his radio talk show.

"Don't give up on us after one game," Duffner told one angry caller.

"One game!" the caller said. "It's been three years."

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