Lifted in Va. rout, Cummings gets start against N.C. State Mastrole-Harris QB battle shaping up for next season

Maryland notebook

November 04, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland football fans will have to wait until next spring for a longer look at the quarterback of the future.

Coach Ron Vanderlinden said that senior Brian Cummings will remain the starter Saturday (noon), when the 2-7 Terps play at 3-5 North Carolina State. Cummings was replaced midway through the third quarter of last week's 45-0 loss to Virginia by redshirt sophomore Ken Mastrole.

"Brian gives us the best chance of winning," Vanderlinden said. "When Ken convinces myself and [offensive coordinator] Craig Johnson that he can lead our team to victory, then you'll see Ken out there more."

Against Virginia, Mastrole got his longest playing stint since last year's Duke game, when his freshman season was ended by a broken collarbone. He completed three of 11 passes for 47 yards against the Cavaliers.

Maryland's offensive output is down to 246.7 yards per game, one of the worst averages among the nation's 112 major college teams. The Terps have a new system and more than half of the offensive regulars are freshmen, and Vanderlinden isn't laying that unit's failures on Cummings.

The job will be wide open next March, when Maryland will have four scholarship quarterbacks in spring practice for the first time since 1992. If the Terps don't go the junior-college route and get a transfer on campus by then, Mastrole's chief competition could come from true freshman Gil Harris.

"I'm encouraged by Gil Harris," Vanderlinden said. "He throws a nice ball, he's active. Gil has some of what Brian [Cummings] has. When we first recruited Gil, we did it with the mind that he's an athlete. Even if he couldn't play quarterback, you could move him to another position, but he's shown me he can be a quarterback."

Harris, out of Virginia Beach, Va., was one of two quarterbacks in Vanderlinden's first recruiting class. The coach said "it was too early to tell" on the other freshman, Arundel High grad Erik Lipton. Neither Harris nor Lipton was offered a scholarship by another major college program.

Broadneck quarterback Jonas Weatherbie, son of Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie, has been recruited by Maryland. Vanderlinden didn't rule out the possibility that Maryland could go after a junior-college quarterback.

"But I don't want to buy in for the short term," he said. "I want to buy in for the long term."

Jordan in rush to succeed

At least Vanderlinden knows who his tailback could be through the year 2000. LaMont Jordan, the freshman out of Suitland, has 466 yards rushing, only 26 shy of the Maryland freshman record set by Steve Atkins in 1975.

Jordan is the fifth-leading rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but said he could do better.

"I should be higher," Jordan said. "I've gotten the ball a lot and I know it's a tough conference defensively, but I can do a lot better. One guy shouldn't be able to tackle me."

Maryland is pushing Jordan for ACC Rookie of the Year.

Miscellaneous

The coach reported no new injuries. Both 1-5 in the conference, the Maryland-N.C. State winner will claim sole possession of seventh place in the ACC. Both teams come in with four-game losing streaks. "Team Champions" from Virginia game: sophomore tackle Delbert Cowsette on defense, Harris on the scout team offense and linebacker Reggie Lewis on the scout team defense.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

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