For Terps, problems are basic

October 29, 2007|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,Sun reporter

Maryland missed 12 tackles in the third and fourth quarters of the Terps' 30-17 loss to Clemson, coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday, and the defense isn't improving its fundamentals, despite working on them in practice.

"Right now, we're not playing smart, we're not playing proper gaps, we're missing a lot of assignments," Friedgen said.

He attributed some of that to fatigue, as the defense was on the field for 86 plays Saturday - a problem that stems in part from the offense not being able to sustain drives. Friedgen said coaching "is a factor," along with players working at multiple positions and young players in significant roles.

Still, the Terps allowed 249 rushing yards and more than 400 yards of total offense for the third straight game.

"The teams that spread us out, they get us out in the open and fatigue sets in," Friedgen said. "When we're in close, we do pretty good. We've got to continually get more people to the ball, and we've got to take better angles and we've got to wrap up."

Note -- Friedgen said tight end Dan Gronkowski is out for two weeks with a knee injury, and offensive lineman Bruce Campbell has an ankle sprain. Fullback Cory Jackson, who didn't play because of a broken hand, will be limited to noncontact drills this week.heather.

dinich@baltsun.com

MARYLAND REWIND

Replay

On a fake punt in the third quarter, junior linebacker Erin Henderson ran the ball for the first time in his career - a 12-yard carry that led to a first down. Henderson also made a team-high 15 tackles.

Erase

Maryland quarterback Chris Turner fumbled the ball inside the 30-yard line, but the Terps almost got it back. Early in the second quarter, J.J. Justice dropped a would-be interception in the end zone, and Turner's turnover led to a Clemson field goal.

Fast forward

The Terps (4-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) face North Carolina (2-6, 1-3) at 3:45 p.m. Saturday in Kenan Stadium. After their 37-10 loss to Wake Forest, the Tar Heels have lost six of their past seven.

HEATHER A. DINICH

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