The rehiring of football coach Joe Krivak yesterday completed eight blissful days for most of the Maryland football team.

The team expressed joy that the Terrapins knocked off then-No. 8 Virginia and received an invitation to the Independence Bowl, and the players appeared happy with Athletic Director Andy Geiger's decision to give Krivak four more years.

"We worked hard, we got our bowl bid; he worked hard, he got his contract extension," said quarterback Scott Zolak. "That's going to help with recruiting. Kids know where he's going to be four years down the road."

Linebacker Glenn Page, the team's leading tackler, said he thought Krivak did a commendable job, considering the turmoil that has characterized the school's athletic department the past five years: "It was hard to recruit and if you don't have the players, it's hard to win. He turned it around with hard work and dedication."

Team members dismissed the thought that the Terps' 35-30 victory over Virginia saved Krivak's job, but they admitted it may have played a part in Geiger's decision.

"This just shows what a big difference a couple of weeks can make," said center Mitch Suplee. "We were all wondering what was going to happen to Coach. I knew Coach Krivak was a good coach, but with a new AD, I didn't know what was going to happen. It's as big a surprise to me as it is to everybody else."

Not everyone had Krivak's future in mind before the Virginia game. "I just looked at it as my final game," said tackle Clarence Jones. "I didn't see it any other way. {Krivak's future} wasn't up to me, so I didn't consider it. I wished the best for Coach either way."

Seniors said winning the Virginia game was vital for another reason. "We've never had a winning season since I've been here and I wanted to be able to say we went out as winners," Page said. "I wanted that to be a memory forever. {Krivak} said to just try our best and play for each other."

Said Zolak: "He kept us playing for ourselves and not playing for his job."

The Virginia win completed a comeback that began after a surprisingly one-sided 34-10 loss to North Carolina on Oct. 27.

"Right after that game, that's when people started asking questions about Coach Krivak's future," kicker Dan DeArmas said. "Nobody would have asked otherwise. If we'd won, people would have been asking what bowls we thought we might go to with six wins that early in the season."

But the Virginia win and a solid performance in a loss at Penn State helped change the tide.

"I vacillated in that period of time," Geiger said. "I was all over the place in how I felt about this. But I began to see a solid consensus that formed. . . . I would guess the Virginia game had some effect on this. It was kind of like, 'Wait a minute, this thing seems to be going in the right direction.' "

Geiger said he got about 30 players' opinions on Krivak. "There was a general feeling of wanting Coach back, some very powerful," he said. "There was also some criticism. . . . I allowed that expression to take place. We will react to some of the things that they said."

Said Zolak: "If we helped in any way, I'm glad."