Terps satisfied with 4-1 start, hungry for more

Maryland hopes to use bye week to make improvements, get healthy

October 03, 2010|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — The Maryland Terrapins are where they had hoped to be as they head into the bye week -- with a 4-1 record that includes a victory in their only Atlantic Coast Conference game so far.

But coach Ralph Friedgen was blunt in his assessment of the team's prospects after Saturday's 21-16 win over Duke.

With the schedule turning harder, Friedgen said, the Terps need to improve -- and get healthy.

Four of Maryland's next five games are on the road. The stretch starts at Clemson on Oct. 16 and includes a visit to No.13 Miami on Nov. 6.

"We've got our work cut out for us the last half of the year," said Friedgen, not allowing himself much time to savor Saturday's win.

Maryland beat Duke despite surrendering 399 yards. It was the fourth time in five games that the Terps had been outgained. The Terps have overcome such yardage deficiencies largely by forcing turnovers and stopping teams in the red zone.

The Terps have forced eight more turnovers than they have lost.

The highlight of the Duke game was Tony Logan's 84-yard punt return that gave the Terps their first lead in the third quarter. "I really feel like it got our defense and offense going," said Logan, who is now second in the nation in punt-return average behind Oregon's Cliff Harris.

The coming stretch concerns coaches because Maryland has not won a road game since September 2008 at Clemson.

Since then, the Terps -- excluding neutral-site games -- have made nine trips without a win. The last road loss was 31-17 at West Virginia on Sept. 18. The Terps appeared flustered by crowd noise during that game, committing numerous early penalties on offense.

Asked Sunday whether the Terps would be better prepared for such an environment -- Clemson's Memorial Stadium seats about 80,000 -- Friedgen replied: "I'm hoping so." He likened the experience of playing at Clemson to playing at West Virginia's Milan Puskar Stadium.

Maryland has a number of nagging injuries to key performers. Receiver Torrey Smith has been limping on a sore ankle, and quarterback Jamarr Robinson -- who hasn't played in two weeks -- has a sore throwing shoulder.

Linebacker Adrian Moten sprained his ankle against Duke. Tight end Dave Stinebaugh might have suffered the most damaging injury on Saturday: a knee injury that could sideline him four to six weeks. Friedgen said Stinebaugh is due to have a magnetic resonance imaging soon and that his status is uncertain.

Friedgen said the bye week was well timed. He said he hopes to work on the team's running game, which produced 124 yards Saturday but had minus-10 yards in the West Virginia loss.

"I definitely think we've got to get better in a lot of areas," Friedgen said. "We've got to get well, but we've also got to get better."

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sunjeffbarker

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