As final preparations are made for Saturday's opener at Clemenson, Maryland coach Jerry Claiborne finds his football team less healthy and more complacent than he had hoped.
Injuries at strong guard have become critical. Mike Yeates, only returning starter to the offensive line, suffered a hip pointer in scrimmage Friday and it has turned out to be slightly more bothersome than first thought. He will play part time, at best, and is being held out of practice all week.
Yeates' backup, Richard Cummins, has pulled a back muscle. Clairborne is using quick tackle Kervin Wyatt at stong guard, working him at both positions.
Quarterback Mark Manges also was held out of contact work yesterday because of a bruised toe. He is expected to start against Clemson.
On defense, left guard Larry Seder has been out since Thursday with a sprained ankle but is expected to heal in time for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
Claiborne is still unhappy over what he calls a lack of intensity, and too many mistakes.
"The squad has to get more aggressive," Claiborne said yesterday. "The mood on the team is not real good, because they haven't been playing like they should."
In Claiborne's tentative starting lineup, only two defensive players have never started before: left end Jim Shaffer and right tackle Charlie Johnson. It will be the first start for Ernie Salley at tackle after moving from guard.
The offense is still filled with question marks. The only sure starters are Manges, tailback Steve Atkins, receivers Vince Kinney and Chuck White, center Don Rhodes and strong tackle Larry Stewart.
Tight end is still indefinite, with Tom Burgess listed as a probable starter. Eric Sievers, wo was thought to be a better candidate, has been slowed by a cut on his chin that required several stitches.
Steve Koziol is listed as the top fullback, but Claiborne says George Scott and Mickey Dudish have not been ruled out.
Jim Ulam will probably play at quick tackle while Wyatt is filling in at strong guard. Glenn Chamberlain is given the edge at quick guard over Paul Glamp.