Sleep Strategy Hatched For Opener At Cal

Football

August 21, 2009|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen is devising a strategy to try to help his players adjust to the three-hour time difference they will encounter in their opening game at California on the evening of Sept. 5.

The game starts at 7 p.m. - or 10 p.m. in the East.

Friedgen wants the team to travel to California on the Thursday night before the game. He wants his players tired when they arrive so they sleep through their first night in the different time zone.

"I'd like to get there about [midnight] our time," Friedgen said Thursday. "I'd rather have them a little bit tired when I get there. I'm trying to prevent them from getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning, which is what I do when I go out to the West Coast."

Last year, Cal players were asked repeatedly by the media whether their cross-country trip to play at Maryland left them with jet lag. The noon start came as they would normally be finishing breakfast on the West Coast.

Cal played the first half as if it had missed a wake-up call, falling behind early and losing, 35-27.

Scrimmage spotlight

Maryland held a closed scrimmage Thursday inside Byrd Stadium. The Terps have another scrimmage Saturday.

The coaches like scrimmages because they get the players thinking about doing things on the fly - as in a game.

"You've got to deal with tempo, you've got to deal with no-huddle and substitutions," defensive coordinator Don Brown said. "In some respects, it's more difficult because you never rest."

Among those making standout plays, according to the coaches, were running back Gary Douglas, who broke a long run; receiver Emani Lee-Odai, who caught a touchdown pass; and kicker Mike Barbour.

Barbour "upped his stock" and "kicked off better than I thought he would against the wind," Friedgen said.

Tate stepping up

A little more than a year ago, Kenny Tate was a receiver from DeMatha entering his freshman season at Maryland. Today, he's a safety.

Coaches, who moved the 6-foot-4 Tate because Maryland needed help in the secondary, say he has learned his position diligently and has gotten bigger and stronger.

As much as they have been of any player in preseason camp, coaches are effusive in their praise of Tate, who made his first interception in the Humanitarian Bowl to end the season.

Here is Friedgen on Tate: "He's a force right now. If he does in the games what he's doing now, he'll get a lot of honors."

QB of the future?

The good news for Maryland at quarterback is that senior Chris Turner has experience and poise.

But behind Turner? There's some uncertainty.

Redshirt sophomore Jamarr Robinson, who didn't throw a pass in a game last season, got a lot of snaps in Thursday's scrimmage.

Would he be ready for game action?

"Jamarr did some good things and made some plays," Friedgen said. "Some mental things - game management things - he's got to get better at."

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