Maryland at a glance

September 01, 1999|By Bill Free

Maryland at a glance

Coach: Ron Vanderlinden (third season)

Last year: 3-8 overall, 1-7 conference

Conference: Atlantic Coast

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

Stadium: Byrd (48,055)

Offense: Multiple

Defense: Multiple

Top returning players: TB LaMont Jordan, WR Jermaine Arrington, NT Delbert Cowsette, DE Peter Timmins, LB Aaron Thompson, CB Tony Okanlawon, QB Randall Jones, OG Jamie Wu, FB Matt Kalapinski

Top newcomers: QB Latrez Harrison, WR Scooter Monroe, RB Bruce Perry, LB Kevin Bishop, FS Andrew Smith, LT Eric Dumas

Strengths: Jordan is still the most explosive player on offense and joins Kalapinski to form a backfield that should produce a lot more points than last season. Jordan and Kalapinski are both capable runners and receivers and have the advantage of an improved offensive line this year. The top deep threat is Arrington, who should benefit from improved play at the quarterback position. On the defensive line, Cowsette and Timmins are coming off solid seasons and DT Kris Jenkins showing improvement this year in preseason workouts. Jenkins has been referred to by Vanderlinden often in the past few weeks as the "Big Dog."

Weaknesses: Depth on the offensive line is the most glaring problem. There isn't much experience or a lot of talent behind the starters, especially at the center position where backups Sam Marvis (out indefinitely with shoulder injury) and Todd Wike (out two weeks with broken hand) are both sidelined. Senior defensive lineman Eric Calendine has been switched to center as a backup for starter Melvin Fowler. Any additional injuries will force Vanderlinden to play musical linemen like he did so often last year. The defensive secondary still has to prove itself and the linebackers, with the exception of Mount St. Joseph standout Aaron Thompson, haven't been tested under fire.

Strongest opponent: No. 1 Florida State, who else? The Seminoles are in a class of their own in the ACC, compiling a 54-2 league record in seven seasons and finishing in the top four in the Associated Press poll for a NCAA-record 12 straight seasons. Sixteen starters are among 58 lettermen returning, including Heisman Trophy candidate Peter Warrick and former Dunbar standout linebacker Tommy Polley. Maryland has nine games to prepare for a meeting with the Seminoles (Nov. 13) in Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, where only bad things have happened to the Terps in the past (three losses by a total score of 178-45). Maryland played easily its best game of the season last year against the Seminoles, trailing only 16-10 at halftime at Byrd Stadium and losing, 24-10. Florida State scored just one touchdown in that game and had five field goals by Sebastian Janikowski and a safety to account for the other 17 points.

Key game: West Virginia at Byrd Stadium Sept. 18. Beating the Mountaineers is a must if Maryland has any hopes of achieving a winning season. A victory over West Virginia most likely would give the Terps a 3-0 record entering the ACC eight-game schedule and they could possibly beat Duke, Wake Forest and either Clemson or North Carolina for a 6-5 mark.

Schedule

Date, Opponent, Time/TV

Sept. 2, at Temple, 6

Sept. 11, Western Carolina, 6

Sept. 18, West Virginia, Noon/ESPN2

Sept. 30, at Georgia Tech, 8/ESPN

Oct. 9,at Wake Forest, tba

Oct. 16, Clemson, 1

Oct. 23,North Carolina, 1

Oct. 30, Duke, 1

Nov. 6, at North Carolina State, tba

Nov. 13, at Florida State, tba

Nov. 20, Virginia, 1

Pub Date: 9/01/99

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