After a one-point loss to Clemson two weeks ago, Maryland Coach Joe Krivak received a letter criticizing his play calling.

"I wrote him back and told him to send me diagrams of what he wanted to run and when to run it," Krivak said yesterday at his weekly news conference. "Even better, I told him that he could come to the game and I'd sit him next to me and he could have the responsibility for all the third-down plays and for the last two minutes of the game. I haven't heard back from him yet."

Chances are that the mail will be slow and the phones silent this week, with the Terrapins (3-1, 1-1 in the ACC) preparing for Saturday's game at sixth-ranked Michigan. The Wolverines (1-1) are three-touchdown favorites in the game, final in a two-game contract that will pay Maryland $400,000 (before expenses) this season.

The Terrapins certainly hope to fare better than that. Last season Michigan dominated play, defeating the visitors, 41-21, and sending Maryland home with several injuries.

Despite the sizable paycheck, incoming athletic director Andy Geiger said recently he did not envision Maryland playing at schools that did not want to pay return visits to College Park. Coincidentally, Saturday's game will be the first Maryland contest seen by Geiger, who begins his duties at Maryland on Monday.

"We know they're a great team but you have to go at it with the idea that on any given day one team can beat another," said defensive back Michael Hollis. "Maybe they'll take us lightly, maybe they won't play as hard as they can."

What Maryland has been doing best this season is playing outstanding defense, but that unit will be tested against one of the nation's best attacks. Sophomore quarterback Elvis Grbac has completed 58 percent of his passes for 310 yards.

Maryland's Scott Zolak has a total of 1,141, but while the Terps have rushed for 244 yards, Michigan has 709 -- 489 of them from tailback Jon Vaughn, the nation's leading rusher. Much of the credit for the converted defensive back's impressive totals goes to an overpowering offensive line that averages more than 280 pounds.

"All I remember from last year's game is this sprint draw that they ran," said linebacker Glenn Page. "Their line was so big it was impossible to see over them into the backfield."

Krivak said he is not going to try and con his team, admitting that Michigan "has the best team and the best personnel that we'll face this year. Last year we moved the ball against them, but we made some mistakes. This year we'll have to do whatever it is we can do and then do it like heck."