Maryland went into Clemson week yesterday with fullback Rick Badanjek unable to practice because of an extremely sore toe and Coach Bobby Ross still upset at the officials.
Badanjek, perhaps Maryland's most dependable player, has been aching on many Tuesdays over the past four years but always has managed to play. He still may play Saturday at Clemson, where a victory by the Terrapins will enhance their bowl possibilities.
Ross said he and the medical staff probably won't make a decision until Friday. The "turf toe" injury Badanjek suffered against Miami last week could compound Maryland's offensive problems because it is doubtful junior tailback Tommy Neal is ready to play following recent arthroscopic surgery on his knee.
Ross said Neal might very well make the trip south, but would play only in an emergency.
Quarterback Stan Gelbaugh bruised his nonthrowing shoulder, but practiced yesterday and should be fine by Saturday, Ross said. The team already has lost defensive guard Neal Sampson for the final two games with a knee injury and defensive back Dan Swingle with back surgery.
If Badanjek cannot play, Stephon Scriber would start at fullback. Since Badanjek also plays some tailback, Ross also would have to do some shuffling there. Freshman Mike Anderson and redshirt freshman Carl Morton would play if needed. "We'd go to our younger people," Ross said. "We really have no choice."
The injuries were not the only thing on Ross' mind. He is also "very, very disturbed" with the officiating the past two weeks. Ross called the officiating in his team's 29-22 loss to Miami "the worst in the four years I've been here."
Ross said after the 28-10 victory over North Carolina that he called the Atlantic Coast Conference to get an interpretation on blocks that could cause injury. "And I got a phone call to the effect that the supervisor of officials (Bradley Faircloth) concurred with me," Ross said.
"I hesitate to discuss this," he said. "I don't like to get into it. In four years (at Maryland), I have gone to the (ACC office) only twice, but it happens to be in consecutive weeks. But I do not understand, with all my days of coaching, how we can play four teams who get called for (a total of) one holding or illegal-use-of-hands penalty. In three games, there were no holding calls against the other team. And in the Miami game, there was one (which Maryland refused because of a loss of yardage play).
"There have been holding penalties," Ross said. "That's supported by the film. You can come and see."
Ross said there were "15 different things" that could have been called against Miami, including a clipping penalty on a 74-yard punt return that cut Maryland's lead to 22-20.
"Those missed calls are not why we got beat," Ross said. "Miami played better than we did when they had to. But this bothers me. (Maryland players) are out there fighting their hearts out and certain things weren't being called which weren't correct."
Ross said a 15-yard personal foul called against one of his players (O'Brien Alston) that put Maryland out of good field position and changed the complexion of the game was a "good, legitimate call. We did something we shouldn't have done. But there were three very similar incidents on Miami's part that were not called.
"There were also three defensive holding calls, and on one of them, Bobby Arnold (a Maryland lineman) was laying on the ground trying to get up. And the call was made against him. You can come and watch it on film."
Faircloth said yesterday he could not comment on the Miami game because he has not yet seen the film.
"But his complaints were justified in most of the cases on the chop block in the Carolina game," he said. "We missed at least three or four of those, I'll admit that. Coach Ross has been one of the strongest supporters of our officiating program. He's not a guy who pops off without reason.
"I will meet with the officials involved. We'll study the film and try to determine why we missed the plays. We know we have improvements to make, and we don't take it lightly."