Rick Badanjek dragged a heavy walking cast on his right leg, Chuck Faucette wore a flak jacket to protect bruised ribs. But the Maryland Terrapins insisted yesterday that the hurt -- physical or mental -- from Saturday's drubbing at Michigan will not ruin their season.
"We haven't played up to our capabilities and that's disappointing," offensive captain Len Lynch said before practice. "But I still think we're a good team. For us to prove that, we've got to go out and win the next seven games."
Offensive tackle J.D. Maarleveld added, "We were 2-3 last year and won our last seven games. Nobody should give up on us yet."
The same theme, not surprisingly, ran through the comments from Coach Bobby Ross, who said: "I don't see where the season has come to an end. We can still accomplish every goal we set at the start of the season."
The goals Ross referred to were to improve on last year's 9-3 record, win the Atlantic Coast Conference title, and go to a fourth consecutive bowl game. The players insist that a major bowl isn't out of the question yet.
With a game at North Carolina State coming up on Saturday, the Terrapins turned attention toward winning a third straight ACC championship, perhaps not aware that the eight ACC teams' record against Division I-A nonconference opponents so far is less than .500 (7-8).
The Terrapins went back to practice yesterday with stinging words from their coaches -- mostly about the offensive players -- that some didn't play all out at Michigan, and with the knowledge that the depth chart could change before Saturday.
"We're going to keep practice competitive at some positions, three or four of them," Ross said, declining to specify which positions. "We're not going to decide anything about who will start until late in the week."
When asked if quarterback Stan Gelbaugh's starting spot would be challenged, Ross said Gelbaugh is still his quarterback.
Maarleveld, asked if practice would be especially tough this week, said: "It should be."
One of the players who didn't come through as he would have liked was place-kicker Ramon Paredes, who missed a 31-yard field goal that could have tied the game, 3-3, in the first half.
Paredes was asked if he thought he was fighting for his job this week. "My concern right now is to get myself turned around and start making them," he said. "I'm capable. But it's a mental block. I haven't made a field goal in two games.
"I can't be pessimistic and say, 'Can I ever make one again?' I hope if I make one, everything will fall in place. There's something special that goes with being a place-kicker, but so far I haven't found it."
There were other leftover thoughts from the 20-0 loss at Michigan. "Coach Ross told a few of us -- not the defensive team, they played real hard -- that we didn't play as hard as we could have," Maarleveld said. "I can't mention any names of course, they're my friends. But you can't have even a couple of guys do that against a team like Michigan and expect to win. You have to go 100 percent all the time and some of us didn't."
Maarleveld said his dormitory room, which he shares with several other offensive linemen, had been pretty quiet following the game. "Not much talking and a lot of sleeping," he said. " . . . If we had won that game (to have a 3-1 record), we would have had everything right where we wanted it. But we let it slip."
Several players said they appreciated that Ross didn't throw a tantrum following the game. And Ross said, "I'm not going to berate them or anything of that nature.
"We've just got several things we have to work on. It was one of our worst games offensively. We've got to get it across (the goal line) when we get in that tough zone (inside the opponent's 30-yard line). We had some poor decision making."
Badanjek, who has a turned right ankle, and Faucette, who has bruised ribs, are expected to be practicing at full speed soon. Faucette said he would never allow himself to take the field in a flak jacket. The Terrapins are fairly healthy physically. Ross hopes that translates into better effort all week, and Saturday night.