Crowd Noise, Band Are Not Exactly Music to Terps' Ears

The Washington Post's Eric Prisbell previews Maryland's matchup with Middle Tennessee State on Saturday, a team that defeated the Terrapins last season. Video by Atkinson & Co.
By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 17, 2009

Most of Maryland's offensive line troubles have been attributed to replacing five fifth-year seniors from a year ago with an inexperienced group that includes two former walk-ons and a freshman.

But after the Terrapins committed two false starts in the second half of Saturday's 38-35 overtime victory over James Madison, there is some concern among fans that Maryland's student band created too much noise by playing while the Terrapins were getting ready to snap the ball.

"This is a non-issue," said Brian Ullmann, Maryland's senior associate athletic director for external operations. "Standard protocol here at Maryland is that, except for a five- to seven-second segment of 'Victory' after a big play, our band does not play while we are on offense. If we are in hurry-up, we don't even do that. However, the JMU band did play while we were on offense, which did cause some confusion."

Players said crowd noise during the season-opening 52-13 loss at California on Sept. 5 caused some confusion and communication problems, but no Maryland coach or player said that the school band caused any problem in Saturday's game.

Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said his offensive line played better in the loss to California than it did against James Madison, even though quarterback Chris Turner was sacked six times by the Golden Bears.

"They didn't run-block like they should have," Friedgen said. "I know the problems. But you have to be with the kids, you can't get down on them because they are what we've got."

Keeping Carroll Close

Maryland's players are contemplating the best way to honor cornerback Nolan Carroll, who will miss the remainder of the season with a broken leg suffered in the fourth quarter against James Madison.

Friedgen said Carroll will remain one of Maryland's four team captains throughout the season. Other players said the team may dedicate the season to Carroll, who many have said was Maryland's best defensive player.

Defensive lineman Jared Harrell said the team may keep Carroll's No. 14 jersey on the sideline during games.

"We are going to find a way to appropriately honor him and play for him this season, so he can know that he is still with us," Harrell said. "The game is going to keep going on. Since he is hurt, that's what he would want us to do."

A Motivating Defeat?

Just how much last season's 24-14 loss at Middle Tennessee motivates the Terrapins is a matter of debate. Entering Saturday's rematch with the Blue Raiders, Friedgen said he hopes his players are angry about the loss, which stands as Friedgen's worst defeat in his nine seasons at his alma mater.

But 30 seniors from last year's team are gone, and some players said this is a different team. Friedgen reminded the players this week about the loss when one player interrupted and said that was a different year, a different team.

The loss is "apparent," Friedgen said. "But I don't know how relevant it is." . . .

Wide receiver and punt returner Tony Logan (shoulder) could return this week after missing the first two games. But it has not been decided whether Logan or Kenny Tate will return punts.

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