The Maryland football team's starting quarterback situation moved into focus yesterday, when Coach Ron Vanderlinden said sophomore Randall Jones will be the clear No. 1 when the practice begins next week.
"It's his job to lose," said Vanderlinden, who was more ambiguous about the topic at the ACC's annual football media day July 19. "He's the incumbent starter, and he made a nice improvement in the spring."
Jones started four games last season and completed 44 of 98 passes for 567 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. If he falters during the preseason, Vanderlinden said the starting spot could go to redshirt freshman Calvin McCall or freshman Latrez Harrison.
Maryland's first-year players are scheduled to report to College Park today and begin practice Monday. The first full team practice will be Thursday.
Cavs' Womack to Redshirt
Virginia junior tailback Antwoine Womack said he will redshirt the 1999 season, regardless of the outcome of his upcoming assault trial. Womack, who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in yards per carry last season and was named second-team all-ACC, will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
"I need to take a year off to get my [situation] right," said Womack, who rushed for 708 yards and four touchdowns last season as the backup to ACC rushing leader Thomas Jones -- the player he would have backed up again this season.
Womack is scheduled to face one felony count of malicious bodily injury Aug. 11 for his alleged role in an on-campus fight the morning of Feb. 7. He took a leave of absence from the team in April. He said the decision to redshirt was his alone, and that academics were not a factor in the decision.
In January 1998, he received a 30-day sentence for the assault and battery of a fellow student at a party on Nov. 9, 1997. The sentence was suspended pending Womack's good behavior for the following two years.
Members of the Virginia coaching staff were not available to comment, but in the team's 1999 media guide, Womack is not listed on the alphabetical roster or the preseason depth chart. His biography, however, is included in the team member section.
His absence means the backup tailback spot likely will go to heralded redshirt freshman Arlen Harris, who worked at tailback and wide receiver during spring practice. A Parade all-American from Exton, Pa., Harris rushed for 93 yards on 18 carries in the spring game.
Virginia begins practice next week, and opens the season Sept. 4.
Argeris reported from Charlottesville, Seidel from College Park.