You know things are going well at Maryland when Coach Jerry Claiborne stands up at his press conference and immediately expounds on the things that are wrong.
The Terrapins, who moved up to No. 13 in the UPI poll and No. 15 in the AP balloting, extended their record to 3-0 with an important Atlantic-Coast Conference decision over North Carolina, 21-20, Saturday. Claiborne is not competely satisfied with the team's somewhat suprising performance coming up to Saturday's home game against Kentucky.
"One of the things we're lacking right now is the ability to put the ball in the end zone," said Claiborne. The Terps scored two touchdowns last week and tried four field goals, hitting three. In three games, place-kicker Ed Loncar has attempted 10 field goals, making five.
"We've gotten close," said Claiborne," and then we have to kick field goals, and we've been missing some of those.I've been noticing around the country how many field goals are being attempted, and it seems to be a greater number this year.
"We might be relying on field goals too much. Offensively, if you're thinking of always being able to go for a field goal, you might be using your downs jst to get in field goal range instead of going for the toudhcown."
Claiborne said there were two instances Saturday that quarterback Tim O'Hare had receivers open for touchdowns but didn't hit them. "But he has been playing exceptionally well," Claiborne added.
Claiborne praised the blocking of fullbacks Mickey Dudish and Steve Koziol and backup offensive tackle Phil Livingston who filled in for Larry Stewart when he left with a pinched nerve in his neck. Stewart is expected to play Saturday.
He also noted that "Steve Atkins continues to run well," drawing aggrement from UPI, which selected Atkins in its "backfield of the week" with Washington State quarterback Jack (Throwin' Samoan) Thompson, USC tailback Charles White and Utah State running back Rich Parras. Atkins rushed for 162 yards and both touchdowns.
"Defensively," said Claiborne, "we did the poorest on third-down situations North Carolina average only about two or three yards on first and second downs, but they average about seven yards on third downs. They trapped us, we lost our men in man-to-man coverage and they were able to catch short passes and dominate the third quarter."
Linebacker Neal Olkewicz was chosen ACC defensive back of the week for the second straight week, with 20 tackles, including three in the backfield for a total loss of nine yards, and batting down a two-point conversation pass.
About 6,000 seats remain for Saturday's game, which will be carried on a delayed telecast. (WJLA-TV-7) at 11:30 p.m. The Terps will be going for their eight straight win, stretching back to last season's loss to North Carolina.