Maryland football coach Ron Vanderlinden said last night that sophomore Randall Jones, who entered the preseason as the team's starting quarterback, will move to safety to help fill a gap created by an injury in Thursday's season-opening 6-0 victory over Temple.
Safety Tony Jackson broke his ankle while returning a punt in the second half and will miss six to eight weeks, Vanderlinden said.
Redshirt freshman Calvin McCall started at quarterback, completing 10 of 23 passes for 100 yards and rushing for a game-high 85.
Jones, who in addition to playing quarterback in high school also was a standout at safety, missed four days of practice with a sore arm this summer and struggled when he returned.
McCall excelled in practice, then played well against the Owls. Jackson's injury cemented Vanderlinden's decision to move Jones to safety.
"Randall's a very good athlete and, ultimately, Calvin threw the ball better than he did," Vanderlinden said. "You've got to be able to throw the ball at this level.
"I'd actually made the decision 10 days ago that if Calvin played well enough in the opener that would allow us the luxury of moving Randall back."
Vanderlinden has not yet decided who will start at safety next Saturday in the home opener against Western Carolina. Although Jones will not start immediately, Vanderlinden is hoping for quick results.
"He needs a lot of work, but we're going to get him ready as quickly as we can," Vanderlinden said. "We're thin in the secondary."
Vanderlinden was pleased with the maturity Jones showed when informed of the move, saying, "He was great. He's just too good of a player to be standing next to me on the sidelines."
Said Jones: "I'll do it if they ask. "I'll do whatever I have to to help us win."
The move opens the door for highly touted freshman Latrez Harrison, who will compete with Trey Evans for the backup quarterback spot.
Vanderlinden wants to bring Harrison along slowly and even moved him back to fourth string against Temple to alleviate some pressure.
Terrapins Notes: Vanderlinden ended speculation that running back LaMont Jordan would have to fight for his starting job after being benched for the first part of Thursday's game for "an academic situation." Vanderlinden declined to elaborate.
Jordan did not enter the game until the Terrapins' second series, but Mukala Sikyala already had gained 50 yards. Jordan struggled, gaining 56 yards on 21 carries.
"LaMont is our starter right now," Vanderlinden said. . . .
Cornerback Lewis Sanders, who made an interception, recovered a fumble and knocked away another pass before suffering a concussion in the second half, likely will not miss any games.
Sanders and Jackson were hurt one play apart in the third quarter, which forced the Terrapins to cover Temple's wide receivers with linebackers for the final quarter.