Maryland's starting defensive guard Neal Sampson has only a slightly sprained knee and Coach Bobby Ross said yesterday, "Knowing Neal, I think he'll play Saturday" against West Virginia at Byrd Stadium.

Bob Arnold, who played well coming off the bench, will probably start, and former starting guard Tommy Parker is back in practice after a leg injury.

Tommy Neal, who missed most of the Penn State game with a hyperextended knee, will start at tailback ahead of Alvin Blount, but the two interchangeable backs will split time as usual, Ross said.

After two games, quarterback Stan Gelbaugh's pass completion percentage is 39 (compared with 59 percent last season). He has been hurt by a rash of dropped passes.

But Ross also commented:

"The burden of proof was on his shoulders to start the season. And he started off (the Penn State game) with those two interceptions and there was perhaps a loss of a little confidence, initially. I see him starting to get that confidence back. It's important for him, and for us, too."

After having one of the best passing attacks in the nation last year (236 yards per game), the Terrapins are averaging only 120 yards per game after two this season.

Rookie center David Amend (a defensive lineman last year) has been very impressive in both games, Ross said. "He has progressed much faster than I thought he would. He is stronger than Kevin Glover (last year's center who is now in the NFL). In the past, there's been some (team) that could stuff us (at the line of scrimmage). Now, that isn't happening."

Ross said he is using substitutes not only earlier in the season, but earlier in games because they've played so well. Already, he has played five defensive ends, six linebackers, five defensive tackles and six defensive guards.

West Virginia's Brian Jozwiak, an all-America candidate at offensive tackle from Catonsville, Md., has indicated he is fired up about playing the Terrapins since Maryland didn't recruit him. Told that, Ross said, "Tell him that wasn't me (Jerry Claiborne was the outgoing head coach at the time) so he won't come in here mad."