The gut-busting two-a-days are over and Maryland is shifting toward preparing for its season opener next Saturday night at Syracuse.

The Terrapins scrimmaged Friday night in Byrd Stadium, practicing all sorts of game-day type of activities, including the coin flip.

Running back has been one of the bigger question marks, but Coach Joe Krivak said he was happy with what he saw.

"The running backs are getting better and better," he said. "The skill people played well, but then we expect them to play well. The real test will be Saturday."

Redshirt sophomore Bren Lowery, who rushed for 317 yards in 59 carries last season, will probably start at tailback.

"He's had a very good preseason," running backs coach Tony Whittlesey said. "He's worked hard, caught the ball and he's had very few mental mistakes. What he needs most -- even more than the rest -- is people in different colored jerseys."

Lowery agreed, saying, "We're getting tired of hitting each other. It's a drag to see the same faces, beat up on the same person. We're ready to whup up on an opponent."

This week the Terrapins defense will be trying to get used to facing a quarterback, Syracuse's Don MacPherson, who runs as well as he passes. Although Maryland has enough quarterbacks who can act as a decoy in practice, none is of that mold.

"It's tough to simulate the capabilities of a MacPherson," Krivak said, "We don't have a player like him and we've told the guys that everything will be a step or two quicker."

Krivak said the special teams seemed in good shape. Kicker Dan Plocki will continue to do the the place kicking, but now will probably also kick off. Senior punter Darryl Wright has been challenged by freshman Dan DeArmas, but for the moment at least, still has the edge, Krivak said.


Senior fullback Curtis Brown ran for 114 yards and quarterbacks John Nobers and Alton Grizzard led two scoring drives during the Midhshipmen's lengthy scrimmage.

First-year coach Elliot Uzelac showed mixed emotions over yesterday's session. "There were a lot of good things out there, but we were inconsistent at times," he said. "Fortunately we still have two weeks to go before our first game. I think we are making some progress, but I am still concerned about some of the mistakes."

Senior safety Curtis Irby had two interceptions, returning one 18 yards.

Brown gained his 114 yards on 29 carries and junior halfback Paul Parker had 87 yards on 21 carries. Nobers finished with 68 yards on 18 carries. Grizzard, a freshman from Virginia Beach, had 55 yards rushing on 16 carries and also completed four of seven passes for 63 yards.