Two Terps to tackle rush job Fla. State defenders still coming on strong

September 12, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- John Feugill and Darryl Gilliam are 10 months, one coaching staff and two All-Americans removed from their last encounter with Florida State, but one thing hasn't changed -- the challenge they'll face from the Seminoles tomorrow.

Feugill and Gilliam are Maryland's offensive tackles, charged with delaying rush ends in an era when pressure is the primary theme for defensive coordinators. They struggled mightily in Miami last November, when coach Mark Duffner was on his way out and the Seminoles crashed in on quarterback Brian Cummings.

The sting of eight sacks in a 48-12 rout was eased some last April, on day one of the NFL draft. With the fourth pick, the Ravens selected Peter Boulware. Ten selections later, the Cincinnati Bengals took Reinard Wilson, Florida State's other All-American end. Their speed has them playing linebacker in the NFL.

"I faced both, and both were great players," Feugill said.

Maryland is a 33-point underdog at Doak Campbell Stadium tomorrow (3: 30 p.m.), and it's not because the Seminoles are overwhelming on offense.

"They've got a great defensive scheme and great athletes," Gilliam said. "They'll lose a guy and say the replacement is not experienced, but I don't buy that."

Neither of Florida State's ends played against Maryland in 1996, but both looked strong last week, when a 14-7 win over Southern California signaled that the Seminoles' defense could be as destructive as ever, despite the departure of five draft choices in all, most notably Boulware.

To replace the All-Americans, coach Bobby Bowden elevated Roland Seymour, a redshirt freshman who was rated the best prospect in the nation two years ago; oh, and he moved second-team All-ACC tackle Andre Wadsworth from nose guard.

Draft expert Mel Kiper said Wadsworth could be the first defensive lineman taken in the NFL draft next year.

Maybe Wadsworth, like Boulware, will start in the NFL as a rookie. But his potential isn't what worries Feugill, as the tackle prepares to face Florida State for the second time in three games -- the one in the middle being last week's underachieving, 21-14 loss to Ohio in coach Ron Vanderlinden's debut.

"I can't lie. I was nervous when we played them last year," Feugill said. "I kind of defeated myself. It's Florida State. It's Peter Boulware. You look at the stadium [Pro Player]. You let your mind get away from what's at hand. I wasn't focused on what I had to do. I doubted my own ability.

"Last year, I gave up a sack on Boulware in the first quarter, and I dwelled on it the whole game, instead of what I had to do. There are going to be mistakes in a game, and if he [Wadsworth] gets me, I've got to be ready for the next play."

Wadsworth had two sacks against Southern California; Seymour had none. But the Seminoles' strength this year might not be pressuring the quarterback.

"I don't know if we'll get as many sacks as we did last year," said Wadsworth, who rested a neck injury against Maryland last year. "I'll tell you one thing: I don't think anybody is going to run on us for the rest of the season. I guarantee that."

Take away three sacks, and USC -- a k a Tailback U. -- managed 40 yards out of 31 rushing plays. Playing for the first time since their embarrassing, 52-20 Sugar Bowl loss to Florida, the Seminoles permitted only 184 total yards.

"That may be SC's lowest total in 20 or 30 years," Vanderlinden said. "USC couldn't run against them, and that's sobering, isn't it?

"What makes it so difficult is that they put eight or nine guys in the box and they outnumber you on the line of scrimmage. Most college teams play a zone or put three players on two on the perimeter, but they get up in your mustache and say, 'I dare you to get open.' Can our receivers shake loose? Will Cummings get enough time?"

Gilliam, the left tackle, is Cummings' blindside protection for the third straight year. A redshirt senior, he prepped at St. John's in Washington, along with right guard Pat Ward. Feugill, a redshirt junior, is from Methuen, Mass.

Maryland's veterans on the line were trained in the run-and-shoot. That gave way to a multiple attack and the occasional tight end last year.

The Terps frequently used a double-tight-end formation against Ohio, and the tackles aren't always mano-a-mano against.

Tight end starter Tim Brown could be done for the season with a knee injury, so the talent at that position consists of Mike Hull, a redshirt freshman from Hagerstown, and senior Josh Hough, who was running first team in the spring before a knee injury.

Against Florida State, the more protection the better.

Pub Date: 9/12/97

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