Terps' top priorities are beating Duke, getting healthy

With Blue Devils on tap followed by a bye week, Maryland hopes to nurse Robinson, others back to full strength

September 28, 2010|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — Maryland (3-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has several priorities heading into Saturday's game against Duke — the Terrapins' first ACC game of the season.

The first, of course, is to beat the Blue Devils (1-3, 0-1 ACC), who are surrendering an average of 44.5 points per game — last in the conference. Duke's games include a 62-13 loss to No. 1 Alabama.

Maryland would like to get healthier in the next few weeks. Quarterback Jamarr Robinson, who missed Saturday's win over Florida International with a sore throwing shoulder, has still not healed.

"Jamarr is still limited. We'll know more about that by Thursday," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said Tuesday at his weekly media session. "He did practice [Monday], so he's ahead of last week."

Redshirt freshman Danny O'Brien, who threw for 250 yards in Saturday's 42-28 victory, also practiced and is expected to be the starter — although coaches have not made that official.

O'Brien's name appears atop the depth chart this week for the first time. Robinson is not listed on the chart, presumably because he is still ailing.

The game against Duke, which beat the Terps last season in the rain, is the last game before Maryland's bye week.

"Going into the bye 4-1 and getting healthy, I'd feel pretty good," Friedgen said.

Maryland right guard Andrew Gonnella, who left the FIU game with an ankle sprain but returned, is expected to be ready for the Duke game.

Plenty of open seats

Attendance at Maryland's last three home games all rank in the bottom five of crowds in the Friedgen era, dating back to 2001.

Saturday's attendance was 33,254. The two home games before that — dating back to last season — attracted 40,099 ( Morgan State) and 35,042 (Boston College). Byrd Stadium's capacity is 51,500.

Before those games, only two home contests under Friedgen ever attracted less than 40,000 fans — Troy State in 2001 and Wake Forest in 2002.

"We keep winning, they'll be there," Friedgen said Tuesday of the fans.

Terps players noticed the size of Saturday's crowd.

"I don't think I've seen it that low," wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "At the same time, we've got a job to do. We appreciate the people who were there."

Said punt returner Tony Logan: "The West Virginia game probably had the fans down a little bit."

The Terps fell, 31-17, at West Virginia on Sept. 18.

Logan connects with Suter

Logan enters the Duke game ranked third in the nation in average punt-return yardage (25.2 yards) following his 85-yard touchdown against FIU.

Logan trails only Oregon's Cliff Harris (28.14) and LSU's Patrick Peterson (28.11), but he has more returns (13) than both players. He now has three returns over 50 yards this season.

Logan said Tuesday that Steve Suter — the last Terp before Logan to have a punt-return touchdown (in 2004) — Facebook-friended him Monday. Logan said that was freaky because he was about to Facebook-friend Suter the same day.

"I talked to Steve actually and he gave me some pretty good advice and told me he was going to come to a game," Logan said.

Logan, who has not received as much media attention as many Terps, seemed genuinely excited to be interviewed Tuesday and to be likened to Suter, who averaged 10.5 yards per return in his career.

Suter "just said he's been watching me and he really likes my playing style, how aggressive I am," Logan said. "I told him that [assistant] coach [James] Franklin told me a couple weeks ago that Steve never fair-caught a ball. I was like, 'Wow.' That's just an aggressive mindset, I guess. I told him I wanted to have my name up on the stadium just like his."

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sunjeffbarker

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