When the Maryland thinkers decided their quarterback was worthy of Heisman Trophy consideration, they should have nominated an entry: Mark Dick Manges, say, or Larry Manges Dick. It would have been innovative and, as matters appear now, entirely appropriate.
Mark Manges and Larry Dick have been running 1 and 1A most of their athletic lives at Maryland, with Manges gaining the advantage last season and seemingly ready to reap national attention their senior year while Dick again played the anonymous goodscout role.
Until today, Until 9 1/2 minutes into the third quarter of a game Maryland had an excellent chance to lose to be exact. Manges was missing passes he usually completes in his sleep - and there was a reason. His left foot hurt dreadfully, and with a Manges-like quarterback three toes can be as important as his right arm.
"Especially when you sprint out, like I do so much," he was saying after the Terrapins escaped with a 21-14 victory. "Think about it. You actually pass off that left foot when you roll (left), on your toes, in fact.
"When the foot was numb the first half (after a shot of pain killer), it was all right. Slowly, as the shot wore off, it became impossible. You can stay in, play the hero role, tough it out, but what you're really doing if you do that is hurting the team."
So Larry Dick, who had all but come to terms with his role as the fine quarterback who never would get to show his skills his final two collegiate years, suddenly was in there pitching with his team in a jam. Bruce Sutter should throw as well in relief.
"You try to prepare as though you were starting, but it's a little hard to be enthusiastic," he said. "It's so much easier if you're going to start. You want to work as hard as possible on everything, because you never know what little thing might win for you.
"But Mark was granted the position last year (after Dick had completed 90 of 158 passes for 1,190 yards as a sophomore and quarterbacked the Gator Bowl victory) when I got hurt, and he played very well.
"I knew there was nothing I could do to win the job back." It would have to be by default - and Dick was prepared to grab the hero's mantle when it became available today.
There was no three-runs-and-punt strategy his first series of plays, either. On second down, he tried the same sort of pass Manges was unable to execute, a sprint left and throw that must be soft enough to drift over a linebacker and hard enough to keep a deep defender from grabbing it. Vince Kinney caught it for a 23-yard gain.
There was two touchdown passes, one on third and 19 to Chuck White that tied the game on Dick's first series and the winner a 43-yard pitch to largely unknown Jim Hagan with six minutes left in the game.
Both required the sort of instant reaction by receiver and quarterback that usually comes only when the quarterback gets more work during practice than Dick is allotted. If the defenders react one way, the receivers vary their patterns - and a moment's hesitation can quickly turn a passer into an insurance salesman.
"The last one (to Hogan) wasn't drilled as much as it should have been," Dick said. "I've probably thrown 1,000 of those (fly) patterns in practice, and our good cornerbacks batted down at least half of them that were thrown better than the one today. It floated a bit."
Two years ago, the last time the Terrapins played in this den of din, where the decibel level seems unbearable at times and scads of fans paint their faces with small orange tiger paws. Manges came off the bench in relief of Dick and directed the drive for the winning field goal in the final seconds.
"I've been telling you people all along we have two quarterbacks," coach Jerry Claiborne said. "And we're proud of both of 'em."
Clearly edgy, Claiborne responded to the inevitable question of who would quarterback the Terrapins Saturday against West Virginia with: "Why don't you ask about the ball game today?"
In truth, his decision may be relatively easy, because Manges later confided: "This is not responding to treatment."
Dick, as usual, is prepared to accept whatever Claiborne wills.
"You always want to start, if you're any kind of competitor," he said, his jaw firm. "But that's not my decision. I will be ready, though. If I have a starter's role or not, I'll be ready."