Shut out in UM debut, McBrien gets second chance

Friedgen sticks with QB, simplifies attack for Akron

September 02, 2002|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Scott McBrien should remain at quarterback for Maryland's home opener against Akron on Saturday, football coach Ralph Friedgen indicated in a teleconference yesterday.

McBrien, a junior who transferred from West Virginia a year ago, struggled in his Terrapins debut, a 22-0 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night in the Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J. He completed only nine of his 23 passes, and two of his throws were intercepted as the team amassed only 117 passing yards.

Asked about a possible switch to Chris Kelley - the other candidate to replace Shaun Hill during fall camp - Friedgen said, "I don't see a change."

Playing near the end of the third quarter, Kelley fared about the same as McBrien, hitting three of nine passes and throwing an interception.

Friedgen was unhappy with both quarterbacks, citing inaccurate reads both before and during plays. He hoped that paring down his offense, which gained 439 yards a game last season, might help.

"We made a lot of mistakes at quarterback," Friedgen said. "We definitely need to simplify and get it down to what they can handle. They did some positive things, but they did too many things that need to be corrected."

In yesterday's teleconference, the coach tried to take what good he could find in Saturday night's defeat, aware of the relative youth of this team.

Ten Maryland players got their first Division I-A action against Notre Dame, including middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, whose minutes were extended with the suspension of starter Leon Joe for a violation of team rules.

Jackson, a freshman from Seminole, Fla., recorded 14 tackles.

"It was really a pleasant surprise," Friedgen said. "[Inside linebackers coach] Rod Sharpless had him on 10 solo tackles and 10 assists. A lot of the tackles were hard hits because I could see it on the sideline. He's very mature, and he has great instincts. It was one of the positive things that came out of this game."

Along with first-time jitters, veteran-generated errors troubled Friedgen, namely the drops made by Maryland's receivers. The team used senior Scooter Monroe and junior Jafar Williams most, and neither did as well as the coach expected from practices.

"I thought we'd be more exact on offense," Friedgen said of his offense, which gained 133 total yards and never got place-kicker Nick Novak into position to give the Terps points. "Sometimes we didn't do things exactly the way they need to be done. I see us doing it right in practice. I'm alarmed, and yet I know we can do it. I have the belief that we can do it right."

With Maryland's special teams giving up the game's only touchdown - a 76-yard return by Vontez Duff - only the defense emerged from Giants Stadium relatively unsullied by criticism.

Despite having the ball for 41 minutes, Notre Dame had to settle for five field goals from Nicholas Setta, two from beyond 40 yards.

"[Cornerback] Curome Cox had a good game," Friedgen said. "[Defensive tackle] Randy Starks had his best game as a Terrapin. Dennard Wilson played well until he cramped up. I just thought we were on the field way too long."

NOTES: Reserve safety Tyrone Stewart was the lone Terp injured to a significant extent Saturday. He suffered a groin pull on his right side and is doubtful for Akron. Receivers Williams and Steve Suter are both probable, with a left shoulder sprain and a quadriceps contusion, respectively. Punter Brooks Barnard aggravated a sprained left ankle. ... Reserve cornerback Jamal Chance stayed home because of academic concerns.

Next for Terps

Opponent:Akron

Site:Byrd Stadium, College Park

When:Saturday, 6 p.m.

TV/Radio:No TV/ WIYY (97.9 FM)

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