Ralph Friedgen used a four-letter word to describe his Maryland team's offensive performance in yesterday's practice: blah.
All the quarterbacks struggled, Friedgen said, although Joel Statham, the projected starter, played the best of the group during a contentious goal-line scrimmage.
Friedgen has repeatedly noted his team's enthusiasm, and that was on display yesterday during the 50-play scrimmage, which included 16 plays run by the first-team offense. But while players were competitive, Friedgen said, some lacked poise. There were penalties and ejections. Even Friedgen wound up with a bloody mark on his left shin, evidently from a cleat.
"I'm a little worried about this team because they are so enthusiastic," Friedgen said. "We can't have penalties. That helped us get beat last year against Northern Illinois. I want them to get back to where we were in 2001 -- lead the league in least amount of penalties and turnover ratio."
A fight ensued between strong safety Chris Kelley and left tackle Stephon Heyer, which prompted Friedgen to throw them out of the scrimmage and have them run.
"It was real intense out there," center Kyle Schmitt said.
On the positive side, Friedgen complimented the efforts of tailback Lance Ball, fullback Ricardo Dickerson, middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and defensive tackle Robert Armstrong.
In addition, Schmitt said he already has developed a chemistry with Statham, the sophomore who has widened his lead over the other quarterback hopefuls.
"Assignment-wise, I think we're probably a little bit ahead of where we've been in past years," said Schmitt, a senior.
Suter: As Good as It Gets
If senior wide receiver Steve Suter can't run quite as fast as he once could, he isn't concerned. "I'm as good as I'm going to get," said Suter, who also is a punt return specialist. Asked how close he feels to 100 percent, Suter said: "I'm not worrying about percentages anymore. I'm just worrying about playing."
The problem: He says he has no more cartilage in his left knee after having the knee scoped for the second time this offseason. In all, Suter has undergone five surgeries -- two on each knee and one on his finger. The lack of cartilage creates a bone-on-bone sensation in his knee, said Suter, who added: "It's not pleasant. Sometimes it feels good, sometimes it feels bad. Flip a coin."
Suter, who was limited in spring practice and missed summer seven-on-seven drills, is a key piece to a receiving corps that Friedgen feels is a team strength.
Second Team, First Rate
The second-team offense scored all three times on the second-team defense. . . .
Wide receiver Rich Parson dislocated his right thumb yesterday. Wide receiver Drew Weatherly (ankle) returned but was not at full speed. . . .
Maryland begins two-a-days today, with officials on hand. "The vacation's over," Friedgen declared. The Terps will stage a standard scrimmage Saturday, two weeks before the season-opening Northern Illinois game.