Terps explore options to play in Baltimore Mount St. Joseph is site of tomorrow's scrimmage

Maryland football notebook

March 30, 1996|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Coach Mark Duffner will bring his Maryland football team to Mount St. Joseph High School for an intrasquad scrimmage tomorrow, and if he gets his way, the Terps will come to Baltimore more often.

Maryland played a game at Memorial Stadium every year but one from 1984 to 1991. That was the site of the Terps' biggest home crowds, and when the city's new NFL stadium opens in 1998, Maryland could move one of its marquee games from Byrd Stadium to Baltimore.

Last year, athletic director Debbie Yow considered bringing one of this season's games to Baltimore, but never talked with local officials.

Instead, she moved the Terps' game against Florida State from Byrd Stadium to Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, citing the ability to make more money in a facility larger than 48,000-seat Byrd Stadium.

Scheduling six home games annually is one of Maryland's priorities, and Duffner and Yow appear willing to move a game to Baltimore only if Byrd is still left with five dates. That's the case this year.

Even though she has received no indication from Navy athletic director Jack Lengyel that the Mids are ready to move in that direction, Yow mentioned Maryland's desire to resume a series with Navy.

"I'll see Jack at the CFA board meetings in Dallas next week, and I'll again encourage him to look at this," Yow said. "I'll ask him what we can do to make it pass. If we had a home game against Navy, we'd take it to Baltimore. If Navy's not interested, I'd like to sit down with the people who manage the facility [the NFL stadium] and see if we can consider moving a game to Baltimore.

"This isn't a given, because we would have to talk about rent."

Future home opponents who could fill Baltimore's NFL stadium include Florida State in 1998 and Virginia and West Virginia in 1999.

"It's not only the money, but the atmosphere and enthusiasm that are important," Duffner said. "The fans in Baltimore that I visit want us to come back up there. I've never experienced it, but I know the support when we've played in Baltimore was terrific."

Duffner said he would have no objection to playing at the new stadium if it were domed.

Looking to increase attendance at Byrd and his team's profile in Baltimore, where he has had minimal success recruiting recently, Duffner lined up the scrimmage at St. Joe. The Terps will start an approximately two-hour scrimmage at 2 p.m., and players and staff will be available for autographs before and after. There is no admission fee.

First spring

Duffner redshirted 15 freshmen last year, and several have made impressions through five sessions of their first spring practice.

Wide receiver Troy Davidson, offensive lineman Eric Timothy, outside linebacker Erwyn Lyght, defensive tackle Delbert Cowsette and safety Derrick Johnson have shown signs that they'll be ready to contribute next season.

Lyght is working at the outside linebacker spot vacated by the graduation of Mike Settles. Sophomore Kendall Ogle, who was recruited as a running back two years ago, is the front-runner at that spot. Ogle, who has filled out to 220 pounds, was academically ineligible last season, when he excelled on the scout teams.

Eric Barton was the only true freshman to play last year. His hold on the middle linebacker's job is one reason Brett White is getting a look at fullback, as the Terps move from the run-and-shoot to a multiple offense.

Strozier on defense

Senior Orlando Strozier, listed as a wide receiver in the spring prospectus, is practicing in the secondary for the first time in three years.

Strozier led the Terps in interceptions as a redshirt freshman in 1993. He rehabilitated a basketball injury all of 1994, but filled in at quarterback in the 1995 opener, when Brian Cummings sprained his left ankle. When Scott Milanovich returned from a suspension, Strozier practiced with the receivers, but never played there.

"I talked to Orlando about where he felt he could most contribute, and he wanted to try defense again," Duffner said. "He's been a fireman for us, and he can be effective at receiver or secondary, but he's got to get a firm home."

The Terps have two senior starters on the corners, A. J. Johnson and Chad Scott.

Pub Date: 3/30/96

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