The practice drill came to a halt on the basketball court at Maryland's Cole Field House. These things happen. Coach Lefty Driesell became confused about where his guards were supposed to be stationed against a full-court press.

Yet another guard walked onto the court from the sideline as if he might really confuse things.

"Reggie goes here and Ernie goes there," said Dutch Morley, sounding nothing like the freshman he is.

"Yeah," said Driesell.

Morley went back to the sideline. No big deal.

The head coach is not the only elder statesman to be set straight by Morley, who says he tries to make up for his lack of talent by using his brains.

Before the season began, Driesell commented, "Dutch Morley knows more about our system than any other players," and he probably will start at point guard tonight, leading the 1-0 Terps against Georgetown at Capital Centre.

Morley shares the position with the talented Reggie Jackson, and both of them can be heard barking orders on the court, pointing out missed assignments - words seldom heard on Maryland's side of the midcourt stripe last year.

The only reason Morley can bargain 20 minutes of playing time away from Jackson is that he is so adept in orchestrating the operation, at figuring out what should be done and ordering it.

"My biggest problem is not being as talented as other people," said Morley. "I'm not as strong as a lot of people, I'm not the quickest thing in the world and I'm not a great physical talent. So my mind is the big thing I have to rely on, to make up for those things."

Morley's direction of last year's undefeated De Matha team is well chronicled, along with his A-minus average in school. One assistant basketball coach watched him warm up for an all-star game last year and said, "He can't shook a lick, but we really want him."

That is a recruiter's way of saying Morley is not a scoring machine but does all the other things well, all the things nobody wants to do - play defense, make scoring passes, take the charge, memorize the playbook.

In Maryland's unofficial debut against Athletes in Action, Morley passed out 12 assists in his first college game. Had the game counted, it would have tied John Lucas' record.

"Assists mean a lot to me. It's the first column I look at," said Morley. "Maybe like, way back in sixth grade, I was the leading scorer. Ten points a game. But I was never a big scorer."

That makes Morley different from most major college starters, as does his disinclination to play professionally.

"I don't think there were any 'biggest things' in my lift," said Morley. "I went to school. I had friends. I played three sports, so basketball didn't dominate my interest.

"At De Matha, I tried out for the freshman team, and I didn't even care if I made it. I wasn't well known, and it was just something to do, something for fun."

Morley says the difference in college life "is that it gives me the freedom to study when I want, to set my own pace, to skip a class if it's going to be a review of things I already know. Sometimes I'm better off studying back here (in his dorm room) on my own."

Morley was upset when Maryland lost concentration in the second half against Bucknell and played slippily, inviting the Bison back into what was a runaway game.

"I think our talent is good, but not great," said Morley. "The big thing is that every once in a while we don't hustle back on defense. We're going to have to play better against Georgetown or we'll be in trouble."

Maryland's continuity appeared to have been damaged by Driesell's mass substitutions. No group of five players was on the floor for more than three consecutive minutes. Driesell contends that "this is the way we're going to play," but he probably will cut down on the player shuffle as the season moves on.

That will mean that either Morley or Jackson should emerge No. 1 point guard, something Maryland needs.

"I'm sure eventually someone will turn out to be the main point guard," said Morley. "Right now, Reggie and I are both pretty good at it. If one of us slips, the other will move in. I don't think it's anything urgent right now.

"Naturally, I'd like to start, but I don't have to. For a freshman to pay 20 minutes a game is fine. I'm not disappointed at all. I never thought I'd come this far."