Timmins talks, plays good game for Terps

5th-year captain ready to kick off `winning bandwagon' vs. Temple

September 02, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Fiery Maryland defensive end Peter Timmins has always talked a lot, but no one listened that much until the middle of last season, when he started throwing quarterbacks and running backs around on a regular basis.

Now as the Terps prepare for tonight's 6 o'clock 1999 season opener against Temple at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, the fifth-year senior has really gained a forum.

He is one of five team captains who were elected Saturday night, and his words suddenly carry more weight.

This is a job the 6-foot-3, 257- pound standout from Staten Island, N.Y., didn't need to prepare for. He is a natural-born talker and leader and already is in midseason form.

"I'm sick of having to explain myself to people," Timmins said. "Why we lost such-and-such a game. Half the people don't understand football anyway. They just want to know if we won or lost. Everybody just wants to get on that winning bandwagon. And I don't mind driving it, and they can stay on it."

Timmins pouted, fumed and fussed after each one of Maryland's eight losses last season. He seemed to take a hit with each setback.

"Nothing feels better than to walk around campus a winner and to be able to talk to people about winning instead of having to answer the same `Why did you lose?' questions every week," said the converted H-back who picked a fumble out of the air last year against Georgia Tech at then-Ravens stadium and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown.

Talk about a happy sight. Timmins was the epitome of joy because he had given Maryland a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

Timmins didn't get to strut around campus later that night because the Terps went on to lose, 31-14.

He remains one of the most fascinating characters on the team.

In his bio in the Maryland media guide, Timmins said he wanted to go to the moon someday, go sky diving, do away with rainy days and eliminate halftime because "Who needs it?"

During a preseason workout a couple of weeks ago, Timmins mockingly turned in his shoulder pads and helmet twice to the equipment manager, saying in jest, "Five years is enough of this."

But Timmins wouldn't miss this season for all the world and will be raring to go tonight against a Temple team from the Big East that was 2-9 last season but pulled off a 28-24 upset over then-10th-ranked Virginia Tech.

Since Temple declined to exchange film with Maryland, Timmins and the Terps say they don't know what to expect out of the Owls.

"I hear they've installed the Kentucky passing attack," Timmins said. "I'm hoping they do go to the shotgun and throw the ball 60 times. It makes things happen like touchdowns, interceptions and turnovers. Or they might come out and try to play smash-mouth football and try to run it down our throat. We can play that game."

Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden is a lot more reserved going into the opening game of his third season.

He is going to use sophomore Randall Jones and redshirt freshman Calvin McCall as "co-starters" at quarterback but hasn't announced publicly which one will be on the field first.

All indications point to McCall starting this game, but Vanderlinden could change his mind at the last minute and go with the more experienced Jones, even though he has been slowed by a sore arm.

Vanderlinden has also hinted for a second time in the preseason that he might start Mookie Sikyala over second-team All-ACC choice LaMont Jordan at tailback.

Vanderlinden said this week that Jordan had shed the extra pounds he came to camp with and is working hard in practice.

So why not Jordan?

"I'm not going to answer that," said Vanderlinden, who has had a long-running battle with Jordan over his work habits.

Pub Date: 9/02/99

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