Vanderlinden picks off QB controversy

Coach says Harrison won't start as freshman

Maryland football notebook

April 28, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- There has been a lot of speculation that highly touted Atlanta prep quarterback Latrez Harrison is talented enough to start right away next fall for a Maryland team that has won only five games in the past two seasons.

But Terps coach Ron Vanderlinden tried his best yesterday to defuse such lofty expectations for the 6-foot-3, 214-pound Harrison, who threw for 2,400 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior at Booker T. Washington High.

"Latrez would have to be Superman or disaster would have to hit if Randall Jones or Calvin McCall is not our starter next fall," said Vanderlinden as he wound up preparations for Friday night's 7 o'clock spring game at Byrd Stadium.

Vanderlinden said that if the Terps had to "play today," Jones would be the starter with McCall the backup. Jones is a shifty sophomore who started four games last year and played in 10, and McCall is a redshirt freshman.

"Randall is the wild card among the three quarterbacks," said Vanderlinden. "He was a wing-T quarterback in high school [Thomas Johnson in Frederick] and it was impossible to evaluate him. Latrez is athletic like Calvin. People shouldn't forget that Calvin was as highly recruited in high school [Orlando, Fla.] as Latrez was."

Terrapin Station ban

Vanderlinden said yesterday he has banned his players from going to Terrapin Station, the College Park restaurant and bar. Maryland junior wide receiver Moises Cruz and junior fullback Matt Kalapinski were involved in a fight near Terrapin Station on April 18.

Cruz has been suspended indefinitely from the team by Vanderlinden after Cruz was charged with first- and second-degree assault by Prince George's County police after witnesses reported seeing him throw a bottle at a man.

"There are just too many problems that occur [at Terrapin Station]," said Vanderlinden. "I'm sure Moises wishes he could turn the hands of time back but he can't. I had to do what I had to do." Vanderlinden said Kalapinski will likely play in the spring game.

Hello! Tony Jackson is here

The spring game is two days away but already junior free safety Tony Jackson has stolen the show in spring drills for the Terps.

The former Wilde Lake High standout laid a hit on junior running back LaMont Jordan last Saturday that would qualify for any highlights reel.

"It was a full-speed collision, a heck of a hit, a nicely-timed play that left LaMont on his back," said Vanderlinden. "It not only was a great play by Tony, but it woke LaMont up. It made him mad and he started to take over the scrimmage like he is capable of."

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Jackson has also made six interceptions this spring and is listed as a starter on the Maryland depth chart.

A family atmosphere

Maryland will be fighting two battles in the upcoming season -- trying to produce a winning program and putting more fans in the stands.

The Terps averaged 27,922 spectators per game the past two seasons. The school attendance record was set in 1985, when Maryland averaged 51,546 for six home games.

The Terps will begin their attempt to attract more people to Byrd Stadium Friday night with two major changes to the annual spring football game.

The first change is having the spring game Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon, and the second is an open invitation to all youngsters in the crowd to come down on the field after the game for autographs.

"We felt that in this day and age, there is so much going on for kids and everybody else on Saturday afternoons, it would be best to have the game on a Friday night," said Vanderlinden.

Pub Date: 4/28/99

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