Surgery Will Sideline Moten
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Maryland linebacker Adrian Moten will be out at least a month after undergoing wrist surgery Monday, leaving the Terrapins without one of their most productive and disruptive defensive players for the next few games.
Moten, who tore a ligament in his wrist against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 20, managed to play 25 plays in Saturday's 20-17 victory at Clemson. But Coach Ralph Friedgen said he decided Moten would undergo surgery Monday because it would give the sophomore a chance to recover for the final month of the regular season and perhaps return for the Nov. 6 game at Virginia Tech.
"The doctors told me we had a window where we could wait until we operated," Friedgen said. "I decided to go ahead and operate on it sooner so that hopefully we can get him back. The fact we had a couple open dates kind of helped. The tough part about it is that his last two games have been his best two games. He was starting to really come on and play well, and we're going to miss him."
Against Eastern Michigan, Moten had an interception and blocked a punt that led to Maryland's first score of the game. Against Clemson, Moten, who wore a cast on his arm, recovered a lateral that put Maryland in scoring position in the first half.
"He is a playmaker, whether he has one arm or two," linebacker Moise Fokou said. "I am surprised he didn't use that cast as a weapon, but he did pretty well with one arm."
Safety Antwine Perez, who has not played linebacker since eighth grade, is expected to help back up Fokou. Defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre said Moten's absence will hurt because he has been one of the Terrapins' best pass rushers.
In other injury news, Friedgen said cornerback Nolan Carroll (knee), running back Da'Rel Scott (shoulder), defensive end Mack Frost (knee) and defensive tackle Travis Ivey (foot) all are questionable to play against Virginia on Saturday.
Offensive Line Lets Down
Maryland's veteran offensive line was expected to be one of the ACC's best, but Friedgen is concerned about the play of the line after it had several miscues against Clemson. Among the issues Friedgen cited were missed assignments, costly penalties and generally poor run blocking.
"I am concerned about it right now," Friedgen said. "Very much so. I really felt we would have played very well there."
Friedgen said the line's poor performance was one of the reasons Maryland's running game struggled against the Tigers. Aside from wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey's 76-yard reverse, Maryland amassed just 47 rushing yards, and 10 of those were gained by backup quarterback Josh Portis. Running backs Cory Jackson, Davin Meggett and Scott combined for 39 rushing yards on 25 carries.
"If you do get notoriety as an offensive line, it's either going to be positive or negative; there is no in between," center Edwin Williams said. "Coach doesn't have to say it for us to know" improvement is a priority this week in practice.
Expecting a Tough One
Virginia has yet to beat a division I-A school this season, the Cavaliers rank 118th nationally in total offense and they are coming off a 31-3 loss to Duke. Yet Maryland's players talked up Saturday's matchup as if it will be another tossup game in a heated rivalry.
"This rivalry is no joke," said Fokou, whose Terrapins lost, 18-17, to Virginia last season. "Dirty plays, trash-talking -- the strongest will survive."
The series has seen its share of tense moments in recent years. Prior to kickoff of the 2003 matchup, Virginia Coach Al Groh and James Franklin, then Maryland's wide receivers coach, exchanged words near midfield at Byrd Stadium. They gestured at each other and waved their arms before officials stepped in.
"I was watching," said Williams, who was a senior in high school at the time. "I was like, 'I can't wait to come to Maryland.' That's the way I like it."