A whitewash, followed by a blackout

MARYLAND NOTEBOOK

Vanderlinden celebration short-circuited by Floyd

September 21, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- There were two shutouts in the College Park area last weekend.

One was Maryland's 33-0 football wipeout of West Virginia that brought the Terps some notice around the country and earned them 31 votes in the Associated Press' Top 25 poll.

The other was a 4-0 blackout at Ron Vanderlinden's house in southern Howard County. That is four days without power since Hurricane Floyd blew into town, and there were no lights in the Maryland coach's house as of noon yesterday.

"We have an extension cord running from our refrigerator to a neighbor's house," Vanderlinden said. "That's the only power we have. I don't know when we're getting power back. I hope it's today [yesterday]. Bob Heffner [Terps offensive coordinator] also doesn't have any power."

Needless to say, the blackout marred what could have been a perfect day around the Vanderlinden home Sunday.

The third-year Terps coach had just guided his team to its biggest victory since he arrived, and he didn't even have the convenience of electricity.

"My son [Reid] had two 9-year-old baseball games [Sunday], so we went right to those games after church," he said. "We gave our coaches the day off, and they graded tape at home. Imagine going to two 9-year-old baseball games that last forever. We would have just been sitting in the dark at home, anyway, or just sitting at home."

Coach expected better

"I'm surprised we're not in the Top 25," Vanderlinden said yesterday when asked to assess his team's first appearance in the two weekly national polls since he came to Maryland. "But if we keep winning, those things will take care of themselves. I'm not upset at all."

Vanderlinden greeted the news of his team's receiving votes in both polls nonchalantly.

"I hadn't even seen it," he said when told of the 31 votes Maryland had in the AP poll and the 12 votes in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.

Pass rush needed

The shutout did not give Maryland a perfect 10 on the Vanderlinden scale, even though it was the Mountaineers' worst shutout since a 33-0 loss to Penn State in 1976.

The offensive line, led by Jamie Wu's 12 knockdowns, and the "back seven" on defense received high grades from the coach.

But the defensive line was asked to provide the team with more sacks.

"We need to find a pass rush," Vanderlinden said. "I'm disappointed in our pass rush. Going into this season, we were last in the conference in sacks a year ago and we're probably last in the conference now in sacks, even though we're second in the nation in scoring defense [3.3 points a game]."

Arkansas leads Division I-A in scoring defense with 3.0 points a game in two outings.

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