After viewing the films of Maryland's 27-3 loss to Penn State, Terrapin Coach Jerry Claiborne said he was more disgusted than disappointed.
"After getting whipped like we did it's tougher to stand up and talk," Claiborne said at his press luncheon yesterday. "Standing on the sidelines, it looked like we were getting whipped physically, but looking at the films that wasn't the case.
"We did not execute our plays. Had we executed our plays better, it would have been a much closer game. I'm not saying we would have won at all. But I'm disappointed we didn't do a better job of coaching."
Claiborne expressed concern about his offense, which he said hasn't improved since the fifth ball game." claiborne said the injuries to the first three fullbacks and the top three three quick tackles has impeded the offense in practice.
Asked if he would rather have the injuries scattered around, he replied, "That's kind of like asking if you want to be electrocuted or hanged."
At fullback, the Terps will probably still be without starter Mickey Dudish in Saturday's game at Virginia. Steve Koziol, who is still having hamstring trouble, will start. Third-stringer Rick Fasano, who started against Penn State, has a swollen knee and is on crutches.
Maryland which dipped from fifth to 13th in the Associated Press poll and 14th in United Press International, will probably make more use of Alvin (Preacher) Maddox at fullback or tailback or both. Tailback Steve Atkins has looked lethargic in the last two games and underwent blood tests yesterday.Tom Groom, running backs coach, said Atkins may be suffering from a virus.
"I'm sure you'll see Preacher play a lot more," said Groom, adding that the staff was not unhappy with Atkins' efforts. "We just didn't block well. Steve didn't have a chance to break any tackles. I think we ran the sweep seven times and Penn State just did a good job of defending itnce to break any tackles. I think we ran the sweep weven times and Penn State just did a good job of defending it.
"Looking at the films, the loss wasn't as bad as we thought. We just have to try and cut down on mistakes."Claiborne said he was displeased by the fact that the offensive skill people did not make the necessary plays to beat the second-ranked Nittany Lions.
"With the exception of (quarterback) Tim O'Hare's 33-yard pass to Dean Richards, our skill positions did not come up with any big plays," said Claiborne.
"I felt that on some of our (10) sacks we should have gotten rid of the ball. When (Penn State quarterback) Chuck Fusina got in trouble, he threw the ball out of the end zone over everbody's head."Claiborne switched quarterbacks five times in the second half. O'Hare will start the Virginia game.
The staff felt the turning point against Penn State came when backup quarterback Mike Tice missed tight and Eric Sievers, who was open at the Penn State nine-yard line. A few plays later, Fusina threw a 63-yard touchdown pass.
"It seemed during the game like we didn't put any pressure on Fusina at all, but in the films, there was someone right in Fusina's face all the time," said Claiborne. "He did a trememdous job. I'm even more impressed with him now than I was on the sideline. And I was pretty impressed on the sideline."
Coaching staff members seemed pleased with the defense, which has won several games for Maryland, and expect safety Ralph Lary to return this Saturday.
Quarterback Coach Jerry Eisaman also cited individual breakdowns in the offense as the root of its problems and was particularly concerned that penalties forced Maryland into long-distance downs all day.
"I can almost name them for you - second and 27, third and 29, first and 26 - we were in that kind of situation 11 times in nine different series," said Eisaman. "That's hard to overcome no matter who you're playing against."
"We're just going to have to get back to not missing assignments and not getting dumb penalties."
Coaches and players alike were helpless to explain why Maryland would have that kind of problem nine games into the season. Tice said the loss was the result of "a team effort messing up on offense."
"Our execution was bad," said offensive lineman Glenn Chamberlain. "We ran wrong routes, missed blocks, missed open receivers. It wasn't that we couldn't block them. It was the execution of the plays, and not by one person, by the whole team.
"I guess we'll just have to work on fundamentals, like we did in August. I just couldn't believe it when I was in there. The execution wasn't there. I know Penn State is not 24 points better than we are."
Maryland has two games left, against Virginia and Clemson, and probably will have to win both of them to regain the Atlantic Coast Conference title won last year by North Carolina.
"Everybody is pretty down. It seems like we got ourselves kicked," said Chamberlain. "But the team has a good attitude and we still have a lot to shoot for."