Who will be Tar Heels' QB? Tune in Saturday at noon Regardless of who starts, Terps face stiff challenge

Maryland notebook

September 17, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland spent the latter stages of the preseason preparing for Ohio's triple option, and three days ago it was undone by pass-happy Florida State. The Terps finally will face a balanced attack, but they won't learn who'll direct North Carolina's offense until game time Saturday.

While the Tar Heels enjoy a No. 6 ranking, the fans and media in Chapel Hill are chewing on a juicy quarterback controversy.

Senior Chris Keldorf was all-Atlantic Coast Conference last year, but underwent ankle and back surgery in the off-season. Junior Oscar Davenport, MVP in the Gator Bowl, has looked sharper off the bench in wins over Indiana and Stanford.

Keldorf got a vote of confidence after his Stanford struggles, but Monday coach Mack Brown said he wouldn't name a starter until right before the noon game at Byrd Stadium. Both quarterbacks will play, and regardless of who's directing the offense, it's the second stage of the most challenging two-week stretch Maryland has had in 14 years.

The Tar Heels haven't been rated this high since 1983, when they came to College Park with a No. 3 ranking. Maryland bounced North Carolina from that spot with a 28-26 win, and faced the new No. 3 the next week, when it lost at Auburn.

Of course, the Terps were a regular in the polls and bowls then. Last week's 50-7 loss to Florida State was Maryland's 24th straight to a ranked team, and first-year coach Ron Vanderlinden and his assistants know they have to keep the seniors from getting disheartened while they bring along a dozen freshman regulars.

"This is very difficult," said defensive end Eric Ogbogu, who saw considerable playing time as a freshman in 1994. "I remember being in [freshman H-back] Matt Kalapinski's shoes, and feeling after a loss that it didn't matter, that I still had three years left.

"I want to go out a winner. I want to finish 9-2."

Healthier prognosis

Maryland came out of the Florida State game with several ailing tailbacks, but starter Buddy Rodgers and freshman LaMont Jordan could play Saturday.

Rodgers tore cartilage in his rib cage, and Jordan suffered a sprained knee and a shin bruise. The condition of both will be evaluated daily, even though Vanderlinden originally said that Jordan would be out two or three weeks. Jordan, out of Suitland High of Prince George's County, scored Maryland's lone touchdown on a 44-yard run.

Sophomore tailback Damone Boone will miss Saturday's game with a hamstring pull.

Nose guard Johnnie Hicks, thought to have broken a bone in his left hand, instead strained a ligament.

Still after Seminoles

Vanderlinden is still nipping at Florida State coach Bobby Bowden's heels, as evidenced by his comments to his team after Saturday's loss.

"When I came in the locker room," Vanderlinden said, "the biggest thing I wanted to communicate is that we are going to beat Florida State and we are going to win. It didn't happen today, but it's going to happen."

When?

"Someday."

Asked about the prospect of going 0-3, Vanderlinden said, "I don't want to entertain that thought.

"We're going to dig ourselves out of this thing together. I don't believe we're that far away, although it didn't look that way last Saturday."

Miscellaneous

With the Orioles playing Saturday afternoon, the Maryland game will be broadcast live in Baltimore on WJFK (1300 AM). After the Orioles game, WBAL (1090 AM) will carry a rebroadcast. Tickets are available. Maryland has committed just one turnover. The rapid development of free safety Tony Jackson (Wilde Lake) could free Lewis Sanders to return to cornerback, where the Terps have been tentative.

Pub Date: 9/17/97

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