Bragg does double duty in coming to Terps' defense

September 11, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland senior Jamie Bragg was so intense he didn't realize he was tired.

Until after the game.

"I'm going to go home, eat dinner with my mom, watch some college football and put my feet up," Bragg said. "I need a little rest."

It was well-deserved.

The 6-foot-1, 275-pound center from Severna Park High played on both interior lines yesterday in Florida State's 52-20 win over Maryland at Byrd Stadium.

It wasn't a history-making performance because Bragg has done this before, two years ago at Penn State and Florida State when he split time at center with Jade Dubis.

"It was quite an honor," said Bragg, wearing a soaked T-shirt. "It shows that Coach [Mark] Duffner has a lot of confidence and me, and hopefully this gave my teammates a lift."

And a rest.

Maryland's defensive line has been without three players, including two starters, this season because of academic suspensions.

To give the four starters (one senior, two sophomores and a freshman) some relief and gain some experience, Bragg practiced with the defensive line the past week.

"I met with Coach Duffner Tuesday, and we talked," Bragg said. "We agreed, but I only had two days to prepare. Once I got in the game, some old things came back."

Bragg was recruited out of high school by former Maryland coach Joe Krivak as a linebacker in 1989, but was moved to nose guard in the spring of 1990.

When Duffner replaced Krivak three seasons ago, he noticed Bragg had great quickness and explosion, but the Terps had no center.

Bragg shared time with Dubis, but he became one of the team's most versatile performers. Against Penn State he was a center and short-yardage fullback. Against Florida State, Bragg played guard, center, nose guard and even rumbled nine yards with a fumble.

So yesterday was no sweat.

Or was it?

"I wasn't used to some of those blocking schemes," Bragg said, laughing. "I remember them running a toss and the tackle blocking down on me. He just crushed me into the ground. That's when some of the old technique started coming back.

"Some of the Florida State players were laughing at me," Bragg said, "asking me what an offensive lineman was doing in the game? I went into the game thinking I could play every play."

Actually, Bragg played well on the defensive line. He was used mostly in passing situations, and he hurried Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell several times.

"If we had 50 Jamie Braggs, we would never have to worry about attitude or getting a great effort," Maryland defensive line coach Cliff Schwenke said. "He's just a great kid, a great person, one who will do anything for Maryland football."

Schwenke is hoping some of Bragg's dedication will rub off. During the off-season, Bragg spent a lot of time in the weight room. He can bench-press 415 pounds, squat 635 and clean-and-jerk 374. Bragg also runs 40 yards in 4.89 seconds.

But even with Bragg, Maryland's defensive line wilted in the second half. The Seminoles had only 75 yards rushing in the first half, but finished with 279.

Maryland also tried to bolster its defensive line by moving freshman offensive guard Pat Ward to the defensive line this week, and freshman Richard Abrams also played in his first collegiate game yesterday.

Ward finished with four tackles, and Abrams, from Arundel, had two.

"During the last 13 games, we have played 10 freshmen," Schwenke said. "In the first half, we played well. During the second, we got our butts kicked. We have to tell our kids to keep on fighting and develop that mental toughness and instincts. We

have to become capable of playing 60 minutes."

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