- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 12, 2001

The Maryland football team wasted no time getting to work yesterday with its first full-squad practice proceeding at a frenetic pace.

New coach Ralph Friedgen has no intention of easing into the two-a-day schedule. The Terrapins worked on the passing game during the second half of practice, running long series of plays with few breaks between.

"Obviously, we're practicing at game speed right now, and we're not ready to play in a game," quarterback Shaun Hill said after the morning practice in shorts and pads.

The team went through a two-hour practice before the scheduled afternoon session was rained out. The coach generally was pleased with the team's early results as he continues to implement his extensive offense and evaluate personnel.

"They went through the first three-quarters of practice pretty good," said Friedgen, who is running his first fall practices as a head coach. "But you have to get conditioned to thinking when you're tired. That's what's going to win games for you when you don't make mistakes when you're tired. A couple players broke down today. It's a mental toughness thing."

The coach plans to keep up the rapid pace and ride players so they get used to pressure in practice and won't be bothered by it in games. Friedgen used his booming voice to point out mistakes, and his staff did the same.

"It was very demanding," center Melvin Fowler said. "Coach turned up the tempo on us. We did more reps in a short period of time than we're used to. It was a gut-check today."

The new staff is also looking to build a depth chart and hopes to have a working model in place by week's end. Friedgen said he was impressed with the development of offensive tackle C.J. Brooks, a 6-foot-5, 304-pound redshirt freshman who is coming off a shoulder separation. And he sees progress in reserve quarterback Latrez Harrison.

The biggest offensive void for the Terps is at tailback. Sophomore fullback James Lynch comes into camp as the No. 1 fullback, replacing four-year stalwart Matt Kalapinski. But the featured running back slot has five players competing to replace the school's all-time rusher LaMont Jordan.

Senior Marc Riley, junior Chris Downs, sophomore Bruce Perry and true freshmen Jason Crawford and Mario Merrills are all possibilities. No one is a clear favorite, although the 6-3, 225-pound Riley came out of spring with a slight edge over Perry and Downs.

"I can't dilly-dally around on that one," said Friedgen, who expects to choose the finalists after eight or nine practices. "I have to get some reps to the people that are going to figure in."

By the time the tailback job is decided, the team figures to be in football shape. The Terps feel they are in good condition from a strong offseason conditioning program, but they're not in game shape. Nonetheless, players say they are coming into fall practices well ahead of last August, when Ron Vanderlinden was in charge.

"We didn't have nearly as much retention last year," said Hill, a junior college transfer working with his third offense in as many seasons. "You can tell everyone was studying the playbook in the offseason. Last year we weren't nearly as sharp on plays and routes and checks. We're a step ahead of where we were this time last year."

Notes Offensive tackle Eric Dumas is in good academic standing and practicing with the team, contrary to a published report yesterday. The 6-6, 300-pound sophomore is competing to start at left tackle… .

Guard Lamar Bryant, who started six games last season, is out indefinitely because of academics and did not attend practice yesterday. Reserve offensive tackle Chris Snader is academically ineligible for the season… .

Friedgen plans to conduct three intrasquad scrimmages, the first Saturday. The Terps will hold a "game-type" scrimmage Aug. 22 and a final scrimmage Aug. 25. The season opener is Sept. 1 against North Carolina at Byrd Stadium.

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