The University of Maryland has designated 19 captains for tomorrow's Atlantic Coast Conference title clash with Clemson at Byrd Stadium. This is not for the purpose of gaining an advantage in the coin toss, but to honor the 19 seniors who have spent four, or, in many cases, five years of their lives in the Maryland football program and now willplay (or watch) their final regular-season game.
This week each of the 19 was asked to reflect on the highlights and low points, the happy and sad moments that make each college football experience unique. Here are some of the things they recalled: Steve Atkins Tailback
"I think more bad things stand out for me being injured all the time. There was a friend of mine at home who I went to see when I got hurt. He was working at the Pizza Hut and he said, 'I have no time to talk to you,' and I said. Well, keep on making your pizza.' I haven't seen him since. I learned from that I'm kind of sensitive and things hurt me. I've learned how the world really is and how to cope with it. I know that not everyone at home is my enemy. Things are balancing out now. I feel great about this year. A lot of people thought I wouldn't even gain 500 yards or last through three games but I've gained more than 1,000 and played in all the games. I'm so glad I didn't get seriously injured. One thing that stands out in my mind was my freshman year when we went to the Gator Bowl and I won the MVP. I didn't really even know anybody on the team. I kind of stayed to myself, like I do now. The team was just faces to me." Mickey Dulish Fullback
"The worst thing happened my sophomore year in the Cotton Bowl when I was blocking for our punting team. I blocked my man and the guy flipped in the air and he blocked the punt with his legs. I was afraid to tell Coach Claiborne it was my man. When I got to the sidelines he asked what happened and I said, 'I got my man,' and ran away. The highlight would be when we accepted that Cotton Bowl bid. When you think back on how many people in the world get to play in a game like that it makes it worth all the hard work. My worst experience in football was being injured and having to watch us lose at Penn State this year. It's something I've looked forward to since last year and I thought I was going to play. It was a hopeless feeling. In high school I never thought I'd ever be able to play major college football. I think I've matured a lot, learned a lot. You grow up quick." Alvin Maddox Running Back
"My worst time was my first start my sophomore year against Wake Forest. The first time I carried the ball I fumbled it and then midway through the game I fumbled it again. I didn't think I was ever gonna play any more. I thought I blew my chance. I learned it wasn't like high school. I can't say I'm satisfied with the way it's gone. It's been up and down. Onet week you're happy and the next you're upset. My biggest disappointment has been not carrying the ball as much as I want to, and I let running back Coach (Tom) Groom know about it, too. I used to go off and explode. Now I've learned to become more patient. At time I've been treated fair and at times I haven't been. Football has meant a whole lot to me. It's all I've done since I was 10. One of my best moments was when I played in my first college game against Villanova and I was the leading rusher. I think I carried 12 times for 80 yards - something like that." Dan Dather Reserve Wingback
"The biggest goal I had here was to play full time and not achieving that is one of my biggest disappointments. I was always told to improve and get better. One of the coaches told me my sophomore year that an athlete gets to the point where he turns the corner and really becomes an athlete and that I hadn't made it around that corner. I didn't think it was a good thing to say. A lot of times it seems like you work and work and it seems like it's for nothing. I don't think I got a fair shot. They've moved seven or eight people ahead of me since I've been here. I never really did understand it. I was naive to a lot of it but I felt something wasn't really right. Recently I've had to cope with the strain of not reaching the goals I set out to reach. I caught only one pass this year - one pass. I've always had the respect of my teammates and that's one thing that's kept me here." Tim O'More Quarterback
"My first impression of Maryland was the second of summer workouts my freshman year when (quarterback) Mark Manges was moved up to the varsity. I felt taken. Then I thought, heck, four years is a long time. Every dog has his day. I never thought it would be five years. I remember sitting in the stands of the Alabama game and thinking I'd hit the big time now. I could first see myself on the field and that was impressive to me. I guess nothing else much happened for the next coupe years. I was pretty much anonymous. I read my names as Tom O'Hara from Montclair, N.Y. (O'Hare is from Montclair, N.J.). I'd go to parties and people would say, "Who are you?" but at least my friends knew I was on the team. When I went in the Virginia game last year in the third quarter I thought this is where it all starts right now. This is the beginning here. Our opening game this year against Tulance was the most pressure I've ever felt. This year made me feel like I've come a long way accomplished something I'd set out to do." Charlie Johnson Defensive Tackle
Winning the most valuable player award in the Hall of Fame Bowl last year. I never dreamed I would even be considered for an honor like that. I thought back to when I first started playing and the coaches thought I'd never amount to anything, never use potential right. It's something you never forget as long as you live, something material in your home, a trophy." Neal Olkewick Linebacker
"The thing that stands out in my mind is our eye-opener, our fullback dull, where the fullbacks hit the linebackers. The fullbacks run isolation and we come up and hit them. My freshman year, there were three or four "zingo" linebackers and for 15 minutes we would basically run into each other. That was when I realized it wasn't going to be all roses. A lot of times your freshman year you ask yourself, do I really want to do this? Why? I still don't really have an answer." Ed Lancar Kicker
This week. This is it. We can go to a bowl, and I can break the (school) field-coal record. If we can win this week for me it will be the greatest moment in my career here. We weren't supposed to be anything this year. I guess my worst moment was when I was suspended my freshman year for missing curfew before the Penn State game by 45 minutes." Steve Cinomi Reserve Gaurd
"When I visited my roommate in the hospital after his third knee operation and he found out he couldn't play football anymore. I felt really depressed. Maybe I shouldn't say this. Maybe I should wait a mont, but it made me realize how lucky I was not to have a serious injury. He went through a lot of physical and mental pain.
"We did some crazy things too, like when I put frogs in the salad bowls or the night we taped a couple of our teammates inside their room and they had to break down their door after an hour and a half to finally get out. We had to run a dozen 100s for that." Kevin [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Reserve Def. Guard
"The first thing that stands in my mind would be participating in my first game for Maryland against Richmond two seasons ago as a walk-on. My next one would be gettiny a scholarship last year. Those were goals I had set for myself and I had accomplished and it meant a lot because a lot of people said I couldn't do it because of my height (5-foot-8)." Dean Richards Split End
"Playing in the Cotton Bowl. A lot of people back home got to see me play and I looked at it like a stepping stone to success in life. But I don't think you really succeed in life unless you go to heaven. Losing to Penn State this seaon also stands out. I know we are a better team than we showed. We had so much going for us and to lose the way we lost, it just felt pretty bad. It made me realize that everything is not going to go your way, that you have to take the bad with the good and make the best of everything." Bruce Palmer Def. Guard
"Winning the Gator Bowl. It was the first time I'd ever seen Coach Gerry Claiborne that happy.It was the first game I dressed for and I got in for a couple plays. The worst thing I remember was always losing to Penn State and going to summer school every summer to get my grades up." Glenn Chamberlain Guard
"I know the worst one. It was our Penn State game two years ago when I didn't block to the inside and a guy beat me and our field goal got blocked. It was my worst play ever. Probably one of the worst things that ever happened to me in my life was when I dropped the 270-pound weight on my face. I didn't think I'd ever look normal again. It was truly unreal. The inside of my mouth swelled over my teeth. My two little nieces cried and wouldn't come near me. They couldn't tell who I was." Bob Frink Manager
"Trying to stay in school for 30 years." Jim Ulam Tackle
I guess the low point was losing to Penn State this year. Either that or when I found out I was being moved from safety to tight end and my sophomore year. I finally played in my first complete game against Clemson last year when Kervin Wyatt got hurt. That was the turning point when I first knew I could play on the offensive line after being a safety. After the game Coach Claiborne had my picture on his TV show and said I had played a good game. It gave me the confidence I needed." Joe Muffler Defensive End
"Probably the biggest thing I remember was the locker room when we got invited to the Cotton Bowl. Everyone went wild. We were undefeated and ranked fifth, and when I went home for Thanksgiving everyone was asking me about the team. One of the hardest things was this year's Penn State loss. There was such as buildup, and I was going home to Pennsylvania, and it was going to be on national TV. It's something I'll hear about forever, When I go home. People love to bug you about it. And they just don't know how much it meant. I think the hardest part of football is your freshman year adjusting, all of a sudden being something called a "zingo." One of the things that got me through is that everyone is in the same boat with you." Chris Ward Defensive Back
"I figure I've seen it all. I've been been on the bench, I've been happy, I've been sad. The main thing that has really stood out has been the friendships I've made. These are guys I'll never forget the rest of my life and they are more important than one game. Coming to Maryland helped me realize a lifelong dream that any young athlete has to play on a big team and go to a big bowl. Being on a football team is something that makes you feel like a special person and not just a regular college student. You feel like in some kind of way you have something extra - like the coach says, you're a different breed of cat. It's not an ego thing, it's more of a self-filling feeling and it helps you to grow up pretty fast. People say that athletes are given everything: some of them even think that someone does our laundry for us. But to be in a pressure situation of having to win a game for a championship you learn more than you do when you learn a chemical equation. It teaches you something about yourself, what you're made of, what kind of person you are.
"I've been less fortunate with two back operations than most of my teammates but it's been more than satisfying." Steve Kental Fullback
"One of the funniest things was my freshman year when I opened my door and all I saw in the hallway wwere our sophomores dressed in white robes and hoods and there was a bunch of powder all over so all you could see was white. It scared the heck out of us. The most meaningful thing has been being teammates and competing with Mickey Dudish and being good friends, rooting for one another. It shows you can be competitive and good friends and you can work together." Mike Simon Center
"My best moment will be when I get healthy and injured. I've started and my degree. My worst was losing to Penn State when I didn't get to play because I was hurt." Keith Calla Def. Tackle
"There are a lot of nutty things I remember, taping one of our teammates inside an elevator, and things like that. I've been on both sides of the fence. I used to start at defensive end and now I run second at a position that's not really mine. I like the other side of the fence better. I feel like if I can accomplish what I have here under these circumstances, I'm sure I can handle any job, any mental torture they can throw at me." CAPTION: Picture 1, Steve Atkins, Tailback; Picture 2, Mickey Dickey Dulish, Full back; Picture 3, Alvin Maddox, Running Back; Picture 4, Dan Dather, Reserve Wingback; Picture 5, Tim O'More, Quarterback; Picture 6, Charlie Johnson, Defensive Tackle; Picture 7, Neal Olkewick, Linebacker; Picture 8, Ed Lancar, Kicker; Picture 9, Steve Cinomi, Reserve Guard; Picture 10, Kevin [WORD ILLEGIBLE], Reserve Def. Guard; Picture 11, Dean Richards, Split End; Picture 12, Bruce Palmer, Def. Guard; Picture 13, Glenn Chamberlain, Guard; Picture 14, Bob Frink, Manager; Picture 15, Jim Ulam, Tackle; Picture 16, Joe Muffler, Defensive End; Picture 17, Chris Ward, Defensive Back; Picture 18, Steve Kental, Fullback; Picture 19, Mike Simon, Center; Picture 20, Keith Calla, Def. Tackle