Coach Bobby Ross pronounced himself "satisfied" after Maryland's first football scrimmage yesterday, and more than pleased by a number of freshmen who could become contributors this season.
Quarterback Stan Gelbaugh and the first-string offense played just long enough for a scoring drive, as most of the scrimmage was devoted to viewing situation defenses and finding depth at key positions as the Terrapins prepare for their season opener against Penn State Sept. 7 at Byrd Stadium.
Running back Mike Anderson, formerly of DeMatha High School, was the freshman flash of the day with a seven-yard touchdown run while working with the second-team offense.
"Overall, I'm pleased," Ross said. "We got done what we wanted to. As for where we are in terms of Penn State, we have a lot of work to do. So I'm not disappointed and I'm not totally fired up."
A couple of key questions could be decided today, after Ross and his staff view film of the scrimmage. Still unresolved is who will back up Gelbaugh: Ken Vierra, Dan Henning or Drew Komlo. Also in question is the starting center position, which appears to be a tossup between John Rugg and Dave Amend.
Ross said he was pleased with Gelbaugh, who completed seven of nine passes for 80 yards and directed one scoring drive. Gelbaugh completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Ferrell Edmunds, and running back Alvin Blount scored on the next play on a three-yard run.
Vierra appears favored to become backup quarterback. Working against the first-team defense, he completed three of five passes for 19 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown to fullback Keith Bullock, a redshirt freshman.
But Henning, a redshirt sophomore from Annandale, continues to press him, along with redshirt freshman Komlo. Henning completed three of four for 31 yards and directed a 60-yard scoring drive that culminated in Anderson's seven-yard scoring run, then completed a two-point conversion to tight end Chris Knight. Komlo completed three of six for 23 yards.
"We'll look at the films and see where we stand," Ross said. "I wasn't disappointed in any of them. It's not muddled, it's just a look-and-see thing. We've got three people of equal ability. We'll make a decision on one guy, but we'll travel with all of them."
The competition at center also seems virtually equal. Rugg and Amend split time most of the scrimmage, and deciding that starting assignment may take more time.
Also alternating at center was redshirt sophomore William Hughes, who is splitting time at all three offensive line positions while center John Perna recovers from off season back surgery and tackle Tony Edwards deals with strained ligaments in his right foot.
Anderson rushed for 29 yards on eight carries and scored early in the second quarter on his seven-yard run. He is one of five or six freshmen, according to Ross, who could see playing time.
"Anderson did very well," Ross said. "There were five or six that caught our eye. That's important to us, depthwise. The more we see of this group, the more we think we have a pretty good class."
Two more standouts were defensive backs James Brown, another DeMatha product, and Irvin Smith, of Poolesville High School.