Merriman, Podlesh get ACC honors

Linebacker, punter first from UM honored in 2003

College Football

October 07, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Linebacker Shawne Merriman and punter Adam Podlesh became the first two Terrapins this year to earn conference Player of the Week honors for their performances in Maryland's 21-7 win over Clemson Saturday.

Merriman, a sophomore from Upper Malboro, had six tackles, two sacks and four quarterback hurries in the victory, despite playing with a badly sprained hand. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound linebacker leads the Terps with five sacks and ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in that category. For the game, Maryland held Clemson to just 10 yards rushing.

"With the talent they have, and for them to not move the ball, it really shows that our defense stepped up to play," Merriman said. "The thing is, we have to do it every week."

Podlesh, a freshman from Pittsford, N.Y., had a 41.0-yard average on seven punts, and had three land inside the 15-yard line, including one punt in the fourth quarter that went out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Podlesh currently is ranked ninth in the country with a 45.0-yard average.

"Adam did an exceptional job punting the ball," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "He has really exceeded all my expectations. Not only does he punt for distance ... he's getting the ball off in under two seconds."

Merriman wasn't the only linebacker to play well in Saturday's win. D'Qwell Jackson led the Terps in tackles for the fifth time in six games this year, and Leon Joe had, according to Friedgen, one of the best games of his career.

"I thought he had an exceptional game this week," Friedgen said of Joe. "He had tremendous intensity and he really used his speed to run down a lot of plays. It was one of the finer games he's had as a Maryland Terrapin. A lot of the coaches wanted him to fall down on [his fourth-quarter] interception. Not me. I knew if he could beat one man, with the way he can run, nobody was going to catch him."

NOTES: Friedgen said Sam Maldonado, who was suspended for two weeks for "violating team rules," will return to practice today. ... Latrez Harrison, who left Saturday's game with a concussion, is questionable for today's practice. ... Steve Suter didn't show up for treatment on Sunday, which was fine with Friedgen. "I take that as a sign he's doing well," he said. Suter played against Clemson with torn cartilage in his left knee.

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