"I sleep on Thursdays," said Bruce Palmer, Maryland's irrepressible defensive guard.
Palmer leads the team in jumping up and down in self-congratulation, because all season he has trimmed the egos of highly publicized players lining up across from him.
After so much leaping and finger-pointing, it is difficult for Palmer to wind down to the point of being able to sleep. Thursdays are generally good for this.
Thursdays are not his favorite, however.
"I like Saturdays the most," said Palmer, comparing them not so much to other days of the week as to other events in life. "I like playing in front of all those people. It sounds so great when all those people yell. You get goose bumps."
Palmer, 6-foot-2 240 pounds, is not an especially well-known player, but his frenzied emergence is a major reason Maryland leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in total defense giving up 127 yards a game) and rushing defense (121).
Palmer is second on the team in tackles with 61 and leads in tackles behind the line of scrimmage with nine. Behind the line of scrimmage is where he conducts his victory ceremony, first bursting up from the ground with fists clenched, then running in circles for a while. Palmer does not worry that this display might irritate his victims.
"If anything," said Palmer, "they're wondering where all that energy comes from."
It's a common question, because Palmer in his nonfootball life is not a jump-around, in-your-face kind of guy. One day last fall, he came to practice with an injured look on his face, so apparent that someone, almost an utter stranger, asked what was wrong.
"I just can't decide whether I should call this girl," said Palmer, glad to relieve himself of something that was obviously troubling him. "I just don't know."
Palmer was something of a celebrated athlete at William Byrd High glad to relieve himself of something that was obviously troubling him. "I just don't know."
"I always like to change when I get on the field. I always like to be as mean as I can," said Palmer, "like a street fighter. I can get emotional pretty quick."
He was asked about the two Palmers, the one whose feelings crumble, and the one who's mean.
"Well, I'm not like that away from football," he said, speaking of the meanness. "I'm considerate about people about girls. I can't be mean to a girl."
Palmer is a no nonsenseperson who liked Maryland above the other ACC schools that recruitedhim, partly because "they didn't feed me a bunch of bul."
Palmer was something of a celebrated athlete at William Byrd High in Roanokea two-time state champion in wrestling and an All-America [WORD ILLEGIBLE] guard. Coaches from many places including Oklahoma, paid visits until they found out that he hadn't taken the proper courses to go to college.
"Coach (George) Foussekis Maryland assistant was the only one who came back," s120:Maryland assistant was the only one who came back," said Palmer, a person who remembers such things.
Palmer enrolled at Fork Union Military Academy to take a college preparetory curricullum and the coaches began returning Foussekis more often than the others.
"I'm couldn't leave that place without a pass and every time coach Foussekis came to see me, they gave me a pass said Palmer, "I like that."
Palmer was anxious to leave the military way of life. One of his duties was to guard the entrance to the school on Halloween. But he fell asleep and some protester set fire to a bunch of [WORD ILLEGIBLE] bushes at the school's gate.
"They were real nice flowers, and the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] said they had been growing there about 15 years," said Palmer. "I felt real bad.
At Maryland, Palmer endured the usual duespaying year on the bench and the second squad("I didn't like it too goodat all") and a knee injury hampered his sophomore year.
But last season, as a junior, he beat [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] guard Larry [WORD ILLEGIBLE] out of his starting position. The two alternated and this year with [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] gone, the job is all Palmer's.
"I couldn't get into the game enough alternating with Larry," said Palmer. "This year, I get all the playing time I want. You can really get the feel of the [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] get used to the guy [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] It helps a lot."
So far this year palmer has gotten to [PARAGRAPH ILLEGIBLE]
His best day was against North Carolina. When he dominated All-America guard [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] and made several tackles behind the line.
"I like to do good against those guys," said Palmer. "They have all the recognition I didn't have any."
Not until he jumps all over the field. He's becoming easy to recongnize.