Hazard signs on road for Terps

Partisan crowd, rested West Virginia team to test visiting Maryland

College Football

September 16, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Guilian Gary is an astute New Yorker who was rudely introduced to Mountaineer Field two years ago when he tried to return punts in front of a hostile West Virginia crowd of 52,279.

It was an experience the then-freshman for Maryland will never forget, as he witnessed a whiskey bottle and some golf balls being thrown on the field during a 42-20 whipping that mid-September Saturday evening.

"Hopefully, they won't throw things at us this year," said Gary, who is now a highly regarded starting junior wide receiver. "If they do throw at us, I hope it's, because we're doing things right. There is no way you can prepare for a game like that, because you can't blast that kind of noise into a practice field."

And there is no way anyone can erase the bad memories the West Virginia players have of last year's 33-0 shutout at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Also, the Mountaineers (1-0) are coming off a 34-14 victory over Big East rival Boston College, and they have had two weeks to get steamed up for Maryland (1-0). In contrast, the Terps didn't impress many people last week with a season-opening 17-10 win over Temple, a team that has been selected by most publications to finish at least two places behind Boston College in the Big East.

If anyone needs any more danger signs, Maryland's offensive line seemed lost last week without departed second-team All-ACC picks, Brad Messina and Jamie Wu, and Calvin McCall didn't exactly raise his stock at quarterback when he replaced junior college transfer Shaun Hill.

To make matters worse, Hill incurred a mild right shoulder sprain against Temple and will not be 100 percent for today's game against the Mountaineers at noon on ESPN2.

"Shaun will only play today if he has to," Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "Calvin will start, and he just needs to settle down a little bit today. We need to make a lot of improvement from last week to be competitive with West Virginia down here."

There will certainly be changes on the offensive line this week, especially in terms of playing time for two redshirt freshmen, left tackle Eric Dumas and right guard Lamar Bryant.

"Expect Dumas and Bryant to get more reps," Vanderlinden said. "They're both young talents, and we need to get them in the game and let them play. Even though they are young and will make a few mistakes, they can help us a lot."

Bryant will most likely see extensive action, because starting right guard Bob Krantz has a sore foot, turf toe, and a shoulder contusion.

"Our offensive line has to get back to basics and work hard," Vanderlinden said. "It was hard for anybody to run the ball for us last week with all the leakage we had. This game will be a big challenge for us. It's an ESPN game, our first big road game of the season before a sellout crowd [63,500 expected] in a very tough place to play, and we're going against a quality team that grabbed everybody's attention by beating Boston College so easily."

Maryland sophomore wide receiver Scooter Monroe said he knows what to expect today because he is close friends with Gary and has been given all the details.

"A lot of us like having people against us," said Monroe, whose 51-yard catch last week helped set up Maryland's second touchdown. "It psyches us up. We're going to go down there and get after it."

As usual, the most watched player on the field today will be Maryland's LaMont Jordan, who got off to a rocky start last week in his Heisman Trophy bid. Jordan scored two touchdowns but was limited to 62 yards rushing on 22 carries by a combination of the Terps' ineffective offensive line and a quick Temple defense.

But West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said, "Jordan looked awfully good to me. On one play, he went left, right and forward at the same time."

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