Terrapins' Plan: Keep It Simple

Lance Ball
Maryland called 50 offensive plays Saturday, running the ball 34 times. "It's nothing new to us," said Lance Ball. (Toni L. Sandys - The Washington Post)

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By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 11, 2006

During their first two games of the season, the Maryland Terrapins were reluctant to throw the football, instead favoring a running game that is expected to serve as the team's offensive foundation this year.

"It's nothing new to us," said running back Lance Ball, who along with Keon Lattimore helped pace Maryland's 24-10 victory against Middle Tennessee on Saturday night.

But even with a Thursday matchup looming against No. 6 West Virginia -- a team built specifically to stop the run -- it doesn't look as if the Terrapins are going to deviate much from their conservative strategy.

"One of the things I'm probably going to have to do is probably simplify things for our receivers," Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said after the win against the Blue Raiders.

The Terrapins already have kept most of the offense in the hands of the backfield, with 74 running plays and 35 passes this season. Several times against the Blue Raiders, quarterback Sam Hollenbach (11 of 16 for 139 yards) passed up chances to throw long, settling instead to dump off the ball.

Tight end Joey Haynos led the Terrapins with three catches for 45 yards.

Meantime, the starting wide receiver trio of Isaiah Williams, Danny Oquendo and Darrius Heyward-Bey combined for five catches and 57 yards -- another modest performance for the team's youngest unit.

Friedgen said the lack of depth at the position has forced him to scale back, perhaps an indication that the conservative play-calling will continue despite the matchup with the Mountaineers, who have just one returning starter in their secondary.

"The three are okay, but we don't have enough behind them and we're going to need them so we're going to need to cut back what we're doing with these guys," Friedgen said. "And I know you're saying, 'Well hell, you're not doing much with them anyway.' I'm afraid they're going to make mistakes."

Terrapins Notes: Cornerback Josh Wilson came up big on special teams for the second week in a row. Wilson returned the opening kickoff 61 yards and later had a return of 26 yards.

"Josh set the tone with a really good kickoff return," Friedgen said.

Wilson, who once again leaped into the student section as the Terps ran onto the field, blocked a punt in the season opener against William & Mary. . . .

Linebacker Moses Fokou made the most of his opportunity to play, forcing two fumbles and recording five tackles against Middle Tennessee. Fokou earned a scholarship during camp. The 6-foot-1, 216-pound linebacker walked on to the team last year after playing as a freshman at Frostburg State. With a strong camp, Fokou, Dave Philistin and Rick Costa have earned spots in the rotation at linebacker. . . .

Nose tackle Dre Moore recorded two sacks against Middle Tennessee. Moore turned in a strong showing despite Carlos Feliciano starting at nose tackle. Moore made six tackles. . . .

Right guard Andrew Crummey missed Saturday's victory with a pulled hamstring he suffered during warmups. Crummey was in shorts and a jersey on the Terrapins sideline, watching replacement Garrick Clig make his first career start. Crummey spent most of the first half riding an exercise bike on the sideline. . . .

Safety Marcus Wimbush saw action only late in the second half. Friedgen said Wimbush injured his knee earlier in the week. J.J. Justice played in Wimbush's place. . . .

An ankle injury sidelined right tackle Dane Randolph, allowing Jared Gaither to make his first start of the year.


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