Zero freshmen plus zero turnovers adding up to success for Maryland

September 13, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Zero has been a very big number for the Maryland football team.

That's how many turnovers the Terps have committed in jumping out to their first 2-0 start in five years, and the number of true freshmen they have used, an enjoyable departure for coach Mark Duffner.

Two years ago, when Maryland went 2-9, it used 12 true freshmen. Six true freshmen played last year, when the Terps went 4-7. There are still nine games left, and linebackers Eric Barton and Peter Timmins could push for playing time, but the level of talent has improved to the point that Maryland might not need to play a true freshman this season.

"We had to rush a lot of kids into action the last couple of years," Duffner said. "It hurt when it happened, but I hope we're starting to see the real benefits of the guys who did play as true freshmen. Still, you'd rather bring a player in when he's had time to adjust, rather than before."

The front-line players are more experienced than in years past, but it's hardly an old team. When the Terps attempt to go 3-0 for the first time since 1986 on Saturday night against West Virginia at Byrd Stadium, they'll start just six seniors, and only two more figure to see any time on offense or defense.

Byrd Stadium, expanded to 48,010 seats, likely will have its biggest crowd of the 1990s, thanks to an influx of Mountaineers fans. As of yesterday, 7,000 tickets remained.

Keep me in, coach

Brian Cummings said his ankle feels better every day, but the redshirt sophomore quarterback was nearly replaced by Orlando Strozier early in the second quarter of Saturday's 32-18 victory over North Carolina.

Cummings sprained his left ankle in the opener at Tulane and moved gingerly in the first quarter against North Carolina. After he was sacked on successive plays by the Tar Heels, quarterbacks coach Rob Spence told Cummings to take a seat.

"Coach Spence said 'Brian, I'm going to give you a rest,' but I didn't want to come out," Cummings said. "Whether my ankle was good or not, I wasn't going to avoid those sacks. I hadn't taken any hits since the Tulane game, and I just needed to loosen up and get in the flow."

Cummings made his point. On their next possession, he drove the Terps 75 yards for the touchdown that got them back in the game.

Cummings will get at least two more starts while Scott Milanovich serves a four-game suspension for gambling, and he's enjoying the attention. "A girl in one of my classes didn't believe it was me," he said. "She wanted to see my driver's license."

Back surgery finishes Teter

The career of senior John Teter, an offensive lineman who grew up in College Park and prepped at De Matha, is over.

Teter, a starter two years ago, underwent surgery in the off-season to correct a slipped disk, but the condition hasn't improved. A physical examination last week led him to decide against trying to play again. Teter will focus on his Aerospace Engineering studies, and Duffner said he will stay with the team as a student assistant.

Sophomore wide receiver Kendrick Walton, who started in Jermaine Lewis' absence and had an important catch at Tulane, is out indefinitely with a groin injury.

Miscellaneous

Cornerback Andreal Johnson, who had two interceptions and forced a fumble against North Carolina, is Sports Illustrated's Defensive Player of the Week. With an interception at Tulane, he has been involved in half of the Terps' eight take-aways. . . . Lamont Gore, who started as a true freshman two years ago, is back in the starting lineup, although he and Wade Inge will continue to split time at free safety. . . . The Terps are three-point underdogs, even though West Virginia struggled in a loss to Purdue and a win over Temple, and Maryland beat the Mountaineers in Morgantown last year.

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