The difficulty Maryland's football team encountered in moving the ball last Saturday at Syracuse was a surprise to those involved. Was it just a bad day, or was it an indication of what the offense will be like for the next 10 games?

For now, the Terrapins are approaching it as an aberration.

"That was not typical of the type of performance I would expect from a Maryland football team," Coach Joe Krivak said this week.

The Maryland passing attack was expected to be a strength, but it was out of sync in the 25-11 loss and the lack of running production accentuated those difficulties.

"We didn't have a rhythm," Krivak said. "We had trouble getting going. We had 18 yards on 17 carries {in the first half} and the passing game wasn't much better."

Run or pass, offense begins with controlling the line of scrimmage, which the Terrapins didn't do last Saturday. It was difficult to judge the play of the running backs, Krivak said, because there weren't many holes to run through. And, as offensive line coach John Zernhelt pointed out, when there was a hole, such as during the first series, the Terrapins fumbled.

The Terrapins faced many long-yardage situations, and converted on only two of 17 third downs.

"Two for 17," Krivak mused. "With a mark like that, you're not going to beat your upper lip. It's got to be around 45 percent."

The Terrapins face Virginia at noon Saturday at Byrd Stadium. Maryland's offensive plan has some subtle changes, but is not radically different. No matter the defense, the quarterback has to be protected.

"To some degree, they do some different things with coverages," receivers coach Dick Portee said. "But . . . the main thing we want to do is protect Dan {Henning} and throw the ball down field. When we had opportunities to do that, we weren't successful. We want to execute better."

Portee said Syracuse dropped back and gave the Terrapins room. Virginia might try more tricks.

"They've been known to stunt and put pressure on by bringing {on a blitz} a strong safety or a weakside cornerback," Portee said.

Maryland will again be without wide receiver James Milling, who broke his left ring finger on Aug. 30.