Maryland defensive players jokingly call Tyrone Furman "the Big-Time Stabber."

They say Furman, a reserve defensive guard, has voodoo dolls of all the Terrapins' starting linemen in his locker; when Furman wants more playing time, he stabs a doll in the back.

It was more than voodoo that sprained ligaments in the left knee of defensive captain Mike Corvino on Saturday. But the result is the same. Furman will start at right guard against Duke Saturday at Byrd Stadium (1:30 p.m.), in place of Corvino, who will be sidelined approximately four weeks.

Furman, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound junior, is good enough to start for most teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, observers say, because he plays well against the run and is a quick pass rusher. But at Maryland, where the starters make up the nucleus of the fourth-best rushing defense in the nation, Furman sits more than he plays.

"I haven't felt any jealousy or misfortune," Furman said yesterday. "Mike and Frank (Kolencik, the left guard) haven't been too greedy about playing time. I was even in the game when Mike went down on Saturday. Coach (Bobby) Ross knows I'm capable and I think my teammates respect my ability. I don't think they feel they have to play harder when I'm in there to cover for me or compensate in any way."

Because Ross plays many reserves throughout the game, regardless of the score, Furman has played 30 to 35 times in place of Corvino and Kolencik. The Terrapins have had seven starting players miss at least one game this season because of injuries. But Ross' system has developed young players rapidly, and as a result there is depth in nearly every position. Furman is one who has benefited.

"Sometimes, I'm not ready to come out of the game because I'm not tired or hurting," Corvino said yesterday. "But now it's really paid off because Furman has played, and played in some important situations."

Ross said yesterday that the Terrapins cannot replace Corvino. But Furman, in Ross' words, "is anything but a slouch. He has some of the same big-play potential Mike has."

It also helps that Furman, well-spoken and well-liked by his teammates, listens so much to Corvino.

"I've already talked to him about the Duke game," Corvino said. "And I'm going to have another talk with him before the North Carolina game."

Corvino, meanwhile, began his rehabilitation yesterday, ahead of schedule. "I don't mean to dispute Dr. Stan Lavine (the team physician) or anything," he said. "But I'm not waiting. My mental outlook is that I'll be back before then (four weeks). I plan to play against Clemson in three weeks. I don't expect to start or anything when I get back. But I'm not going to feel sorry for myself or anybody."

Furman's primary duty on Saturday will be rushing Duke quarterback Ben Bennett, who Ross expects to pass as much as Wake's Gary Schofield, who completed 40 of 65 passes against the Terrapins.

"I want to rely on my pass rushing," Furman said, "because I feel that is my main strength. And I got more than adequate practice at it against Schofield last week."

Ross said all-purpose back John Nash will start at tailback against Duke, in place of Willie Joyner. Nash rushed 13 times for 152 yards and three touchdowns against Wake. Nash still will play several positions and Joyner, the team's leading rusher with 85 yards per game, will receive about the same amount of playing time.