Terps move up

secondary takes hit

Troy State rout lifts UM to No. 13, but Wilson strain further depletes coverage

College Football

November 05, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Following its 47-14 win over Troy State Saturday, Maryland moved up in both polls, to No. 13 by the Associated Press and No. 11 by the coaches.

The rankings are significant because they will determine the Atlantic Coast Conference representative in a Bowl Championship Series game if the league's top teams finish tied at season's end.

With a 5-1 record in the ACC, the Terps are tied for first place with Florida State, a team that beat them, 52-31, on Oct. 27. If both teams won out, the conference's BCS bid would go to the team with the highest average ranking in the AP and the ESPN/USA Today poll, which is determined by coaches. Florida State is ranked No. 10 in both polls.

Maryland's Ralph Friedgen has a vote in the coaches' poll, as does Florida State's Bobby Bowden, his son, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, and Friedgen's former boss, Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary.

Friedgen demurred when asked about where he voted his Terps this week in relation to the Seminoles - "I don't think I need to comment on that."

More immediately, cornerback Dennard Wilson - who had a strong outing Saturday during Maryland's rout of Troy State - came out of the game with a hamstring injury.

That could leave Friedgen looking more intently at pass coverage options this week as his team approaches two games with teams who throw the ball well, Clemson and North Carolina State.

Yesterday, Friedgen described Wilson as questionable for Saturday's home game against the Tigers, though he said that evaluation may change as soon as today.

Without Wilson - who has only four career starts himself - Maryland would have Curome Cox as its only cornerback with significant experience, as Tony Okanlawon remains sidelined.

Junior college transfer Jamal Chance, who played some against Troy, would take on an increased role, as would freshman Dominique Foxworth (Western Tech), who had hoped to sit out this season as a redshirt.

Safety Tyrone Stewart was considered another option, but he's also considered questionable after suffering a hip flexor against Troy State.

"Dennard played well Saturday, but it's a concern and something we'll have to take into consideration," said Friedgen, when talking about his team's pass coverage.

One remedy may be to put the corners in fewer man-to-man situations against receivers.

Another is to hope that substitutes can respond in the manner that reserve linebacker Ryan Swift did when in place of the injured Mike Whaley on Saturday, recording one sack and two tackles for loss. "These are the cards we're dealt and we have to play them," Friedgen said.

Quarterback Shaun Hill left the game in the middle of the third quarter after turning his left ankle and did not return.

Friedgen said Hill should be able to play against Clemson. Yesterday, the senior quarterback visited trainer Sandy Worth, for whom he successfully attempted a few drop-back maneuvers, according to the coach.

"He seemed to be OK, just a little sore," Friedgen said.

NOTES: In other injuries, reserve linebacker Andrew Henley is gone for the season after he broke his right leg on Saturday. Fellow reserve linebacker Marlon Moye-Moore suffered a hamstring injury and is questionable. ... Saturday's game against Clemson will start at 7 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2. Approximately 2,000 seats remain.

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