McBrien's homework has no questions

MARYLAND NOTEBOOK

QB shielded from media for return to West Virginia

College Football

October 02, 2002|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien is going back to his old school, and Terps coach Ralph Friedgen does not want the junior to talk about it.

As the Terps prepare for their first road trip in a month, a ride that will take them on Saturday into the nasty atmosphere of Mountaineer Field against a familiar opponent in West Virginia, Maryland figures to find out much about its makeup as the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule lies in wait.

And as McBrien prepares to return to the campus he left by transferring to Maryland last year, Friedgen has barred him from interview sessions this week to shield McBrien from questions about going home again.

"Right now, I'm worried about Scott learning the game plan and executing it," Friedgen said. "I'm not making him available to the media, because that's what I want him focusing on."

Though Friedgen likes the progress McBrien has shown in recent weeks - he threw for a career-high 300 yards against Eastern Michigan and followed that with a more understated but effective outing in Saturday's 37-8 rout of Wofford - he wants more out of a passer who now has to navigate through much tougher competition.

Against Wofford, McBrien made some of his better option decisions of the season, and he completed a modest 11 of 19 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. But he had trouble at times sorting through Wofford's eight-man zone coverages, and McBrien figures to see much of the same against the Mountaineers (3-1).

Then there is the hostility McBrien and every other Terp expects to confront.

Before the Wofford game, McBrien recalled the home-field advantage in Morgantown, and how it will be turned against him.

"I still keep in touch with some of the guys [at West Virginia]. Morgantown is a great place but it's a very tough place to play," McBrien said. "Maybe they'll give us some kind of shield for our bench area."

"It's one of the worst places I've played," added senior middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, recalling a trip there two years ago. "[The fans] were throwing batteries at us. When we were on the bus, they were throwing beer cans and stuff at the bus."

Perry still sitting

Junior tailback Bruce Perry, who suffered a setback last week in his recovery from a torn groin muscle, is doubtful for the West Virginia game. Perry has yet to practice this week.

"He has some swelling in his thigh and he's tender. I told Bruce we will not play him unless he is 100 percent," Friedgen said.

The season continues to slip away for Perry, last year's ACC Offensive Player of the Year who has not played in a game since the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2. Perry tore the groin muscle six weeks ago, and was projected to be out until midseason. He has been replaced by senior Chris Downs, who is fresh off a career-high 147 yards rushing against Wofford.

Friedgen said he is not in favor of shutting down Perry for the season and applying for a medical redshirt, with the idea of retaining two years of eligibility for Perry. A fourth-year junior, Perry originally sat out the 2000 season.

"It's been my experience that [medical redshirts] are not always easy to get. I just don't know what the possibility of that is," Friedgen said. "What I would hate to do is, if he were to become healthy, we say we're not going to play him, and he doesn't get the medical redshirt, and we've missed playing him. To me, we're going to take it day-by-day with the kid and keep his spirits up."

On the run

If Maryland intends to get out of Morgantown with a victory, the Terps must contain the nation's top rushing offense.

Led by senior running back Avon Cobourne, the Mountaineers are averaging 36.2 points per game because they are rushing for 345.5 yards per game. Cobourne and backup Quincy Wilson have combined to gain 937 yards on the ground in four games.

"Our front seven has to stop the run and make them one-dimensional," said Henderson, who needs to produce another big game to make that happen. Henderson leads the ACC with 40 solo tackles.

Et cetera

Fullback Chad Killian and third-string quarterback Orlando Evans, who suffered season-ending right knee injuries the past two games, are set for surgery tomorrow. ... West Virginia leads the all-time series vs. Maryland, 19-18-2. ... Friedgen said he will include pumped-in noise at the next two practices to simulate the crowd at Mountaineer Field. ... After Saturday, the Terps have a bye week and will resume the stretch run of their schedule by playing host to Georgia Tech on Oct. 17.

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