Maryland still silent on naming starting QB

Friedgen won't say if nod goes to Kelley or McBrien

College Football

August 26, 2002|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Five days remain until Maryland begins its 2002 football season on Saturday night against Notre Dame at the Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J. That, incidentally, is how long you'll probably wait until finding out who the team's starting quarterback will be.

With two-a-days ending and preparations for the Irish beginning, Chris Kelley and Scott McBrien are still competing to succeed Shaun Hill in a contest that has gone back and forth since the Terrapins returned from the Orange Bowl in January.

The job apparently remains open nearly a week after Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen's expected deadline for naming a starter in order to get one quarterback more repetitions in practice.

Some of that decision may be mere gamesmanship. It nearly worked for Virginia, whose head coach, Al Groh, kept his decision to play quarterback Marques Hagans secret until Hagans appeared in the second quarter of the team's 35-29 loss to Colorado State on Thursday night.

Likewise, Friedgen, with Kelley a right-hander and McBrien a left-hander, wouldn't mind making Notre Dame prepare for both quarterbacks.

"I don't know that we're going to announce that," Friedgen said Wednesday, when asked if he was going to name a starting quarterback. "I don't know if I want to [show] my hand to Notre Dame," he said the previous day.

On the other hand, both quarterbacks have displayed similar quality since spring practices, when Kelley had barely edged McBrien before suffering an injury to his right knee, after already suffering two knee injuries to his left side.

It seemed McBrien and Orlando Evans might compete for the spot, but Evans hasn't performed at the level of McBrien this month, and Kelley returned in three months, without much apparent difference other than his need of a knee brace.

"The more I run, the faster I get," said the 6-foot-2, 213-pound Kelley, whose running is one of his strengths. "When you have reconstructive surgery, speed is the one thing that is going to slow you down."

McBrien, a transfer from West Virginia last year, has won over teammates with quick, smooth, accurate throws and seems to have the edge as a passer.

McBrien, 6 feet and 180 pounds, has drawn some doubts about his size, but he said he continues to work on the option game that is stressed in the offense Friedgen brought with him from Georgia Tech.

"I worked on it all winter, throughout the spring," McBrien said. "It's just a matter of knowing the read keys, knowing when to give the ball, when to pitch and when to cut it up and run inside. If we keep working on it, things will fall into place."

Maryland began preparing for Notre Dame last week, with both second teams playing in the Irish's offenses and defenses against the Terps' starters during a scrimmage on Tuesday.

Despite Notre Dame's struggles last season - a major reason former Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham replaced Bob Davie - Friedgen suggested his team is likely to face better talent this season.

In one game, a 28-18 loss to Tennessee, Friedgen noticed the speed Notre Dame displayed, particularly in the secondary.

"They're pressing man-to-man on Tennessee, and they're running all over the field with them," Friedgen said, adding he wouldn't be surprised if, despite Willingham's previous offenses, the Irish ran some option because quarterback Carlyle Holiday is a big player (6-3, 230 pounds) who can run.

"I know at Stanford they didn't do much option, but deductive reasoning tells me we have to be ready for the option."

Next for Terps

Opponent:Notre Dame in Kickoff Classic

Site:Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

When:Saturday, 8 p.m.

TV/Radio:Ch. 2/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line:Notre Dame by 1 1/2

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