The new-look offense of Coach Bobby Ross was very much in evidence in Maryland's annual Red-White spring scrimmage yesterday. But the teams managed only 23 points, with the White team winning, 15-8, before 1,000 at Byrd Stadium.
The teams passed nearly 40 percent of the time, less than the 50-50 ratio Ross has promised, but still more than the dive-plunge offenses of Jerry Claiborne, the former coach.
"We've definitely got to put more points on the board," said Ross, who watched much of the scrimmage from the stands. "But I don't think you can completely gauge what our offense is going to be like from this game. We didn't show a whole lot. We're definitely going to do a lot more things offensively."
Sophomore Stan Gelbaugh of the Red team was the most impressive of the five quarterbacks who played, completing seven of nine passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. Gelbaugh has come on in recent weeks to challenge Brent Dewitz, who started last season as the No. 1 quarterback, for the backup spot. Dewitz, still recovering from a knee injury suffered last season, threw two interceptions.
Norman (Boomer) Esiason, who replaced Dewitz last season, completed one of six passes for nine yards yesterday, but still will be the likely starter in the fall. "I know people who watched this game are going to be pretty skeptical of this new offense thing. I'm sure it was pretty dull watching us," Esiason.
"But I hope people don't get discouraged. We have a heck of a lot more than what we have showed. We have five or six plays that could be game-breakers that we didn't use at all."
Ross had said his new offense would not feature prominently one running back, but John Nash did the bulk of the Red team's running yesterday, carrying 20 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. Nash got his yardage on a variety of running plays that were mixed well with Gelbaugh's passes.
In assessing his team's progress in a month of spring practice, Ross said he was happy about the ease with which former defensive guard J.D. Gross and former running back Doug Burmeister have adjusted to defensive end, and the way Alan Sadler has handled the switch from receiver to tight end.