Terps prepared to use punt returner at QB

Injuries had Logan, No. 85, taking snaps in pregame

September 25, 2010|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — Maryland made two surprise quarterback decisions before its 42-28 victory over Florida International on Saturday.

First, coaches started redshirt freshman Danny O'Brien for the first time. It had not been clear that redshirt junior Jamarr Robinson's sore shoulder would keep him from starting as he had the previous three weeks.

Coaches also decided that punt returner Tony Logan — once a highly-regarded quarterback in high school in Piscataway, N.J. — would be the No. 2 quarterback.

Fans arriving at Byrd Stadium early were greeted with the sight of an obvious non-quarterback — Logan wears No. 85 — performing passing drills.

The next quarterback on the depth chart, Devin Burns, is a true freshman who has never played in a game.

Logan didn't get into the game at quarterback. But he distinguished himself with an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown to give the Terps a 14-7, second-quarter lead.

Logan now has 327 punt return yards this season, surpassing his entire total from last season.

Kicking in good hands

Maryland entered the game ready to play two field-goal kickers.

Coach Ralph Friedgen said he would use Travis Baltz for most field goal attempts, but might turn to Nick Ferrara on long tries.

Friedgen said he could not think of another time in his coaching career when he entered a game with a designated long kicker.

Ferrara, a sophomore, was used on kickoffs. He lost his field-goal kicking job before the season with a groin injury. Baltz, the punter, performed so well in Ferrara's absence (4-for-4 entering Saturday's game) that Friedgen has stuck with him.

"I was kidding Travis," Friedgen said before the game. I said, 'Are you going to yield this job? And he said, 'No I'm not.' "

Baltz was wide on a 45-yard attempt in the first half Saturday — his first miss of the year.

Baltz is still the punter.

"I think he's punting better than he's ever punted — more consistent and he's got great height on the ball," Friedgen said.

Keeping the ball

Maryland did not turn the ball over Saturday, continuing a season-long trend of winning the turnover battle.

Last season, Maryland finished tied for 97th in the nation in turnover margin at minus 0.55 per game.

This year, Maryland has not surrendered any points on turnovers and has scored 31 points following opponents' fumbles and interceptions.

Cornerback Trenton Hughes and linebacker Adrian Moten had interceptions on Saturday.

Hughes' interception ended a fourth-quarter drive by FIU at the Maryland 2-yard-line. Moten's was a difficult sideline catch that led to the Maryland touchdown that gave the Terps a 35-21 lead.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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