Terps' Harrison passes first test

Freshman's throws head team's 1st workout in pads

August 17, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- When freshman quarterback Latrez Harrison zipped a 30-yard passthrough three defenders into the sure hands of Scooter Monroe, a collective gasp of amazement could be heard from almost everybody watching Maryland's first workout yesterday in full pads.

The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Harrison would come back throughout the hot afternoon to throw a riveting assortment of long and short passes, featuring arm strength, touch and natural instincts.

It was show time for the freshman while No. 1 quarterback Randall Jones and No. 2 Calvin McCall were virtually helpless to answer due to minor ailments.

Jones did not throw during seven-on-seven drills yesterday, giving his sore arm another day of rest, and McCall missed the afternoon workout after having an impacted tooth pulled.

Jones and McCall realize they have no time to waste in their duel with Harrison. They have looked back and seen the enthusiastic youngster from Atlanta gaining on them.

"I loved hearing those fans on the hill getting excited over my passing," said Harrison. "I came here to pump some emotion into Maryland football. It's something they haven't had here in a long time. I don't mind rebuilding. I was a part of rebuilding in high school and it worked out great. We won only three games my freshman year but went 29-6 the last three years."

Jones and McCall have both praised Harrison for his powerful arm and have conceded it will be a battle to the end for the No. 1 job.

McCall said: "Latrez has a lot of questions for me and I answer them. I'm not going to hate him. I'm there to help him like I would any of my other teammates and they would help me. We're all teammates and have love for each other."

The help is appreciated.

"Hey, I know I have a lot to learn," said Harrison. "I have to learn to read defenses and things like that. And Calvin has been right there for me all along. He doesn't hide behind any bushes. There are no problems between any of our quarterbacks. I like it that way."

Harrison said he and Monroe, a freshman wide receiver from John Carroll in Bel Air, have developed a special chemistry. "We came here together and I love passing to him," said Harrison. "We're going to get better and better."

Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden continued to take the middle ground on the quarterback battle.

"I think we'll be an exciting team with any of those three quarterbacks on the field," said Vanderlinden. "I plan on all three of them being able to run our entire offense."

While Jones' passing was restricted to short tosses yesterday, running back LaMont Jordan continued to rest his sprained shoulder.

Jordan carried the ball in some of the drills, but no one was allowed to hit him.

NOTE: Maryland president C. D. Mote was among those attending the workout and he gave the team a talk before the hitting began. "It's the first time in my 23 years of coaching football that I've seen a school president come to a practice," Vanderlinden said. "I think our players sensed he has a real commitment to football and an understanding of the game."

Pub Date: 8/17/99

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