- The Washington Times - Friday, October 4, 2002

Scott McBrien will relive a dream in a roundabout fashion when Maryland visits West Virginia tomorrow. The Terrapins' quarterback envisioned a successful career at Mountaineer Field when he signed with West Virginia in the fall of 1999 after an outstanding career at DeMatha High School.
McBrien even started a game in Morgantown against Syracuse in 2000 and played in 10 games that season. The 6-foot left-hander was expected to be a candidate to start last season. But when the outlook changed in fall practice McBrien couldn't scramble out of Morgantown fast enough.
"I had basically lost interest in football," McBrien said earlier this season. "I thought about hanging up the cleats. I left West Virginia. I came home. I called my high school coach. He kind of talked me back into playing again. I went with it, and things worked out."
McBrien's abrupt exit from West Virginia came after he was demoted to third team behind Brad Lewis and then-freshman and current starter Rasheed Marshall. It came amid reports of a contentious relationship between McBrien and first-year coach Rich Rodriguez, with the coach regularly launching verbal attacks. The coach who recruited McBrien, Don Nehlen, had retired after the 2000 season.
McBrien has been banned from talking to the media this week by Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who hopes to quell hype about the quarterback's return to Morgantown. Despite his own silence, the fourth-year junior is sure to hear many taunts and cascading boos from the crowd.
"There has been a lot of discussion about Scott going back to West Virginia," said Friedgen, whose Terps (3-2) will try to beat the Mountaineers (3-1) for their third straight win this season. "I think he is very happy at Maryland. I think this is a special game for West Virginia and a special game for Scott. But I just want him concentrating on what he has to do to perform well on Saturday."
Friedgen didn't know who McBrien was when DeMatha coach Bill McGregor called to recommend him. The Terps coach figured it was a no-lose situation with a "DeMatha kid" wanting to walk on. Six weeks later, Friedgen was impressed enough with McBrien's passing accuracy to award him a scholarship.
"I really did think about [quitting]," said McBrien, who didn't consider switching to a smaller program. "I was just grateful to play football again."
The Rockville resident never really thought about starting this season while sitting out 2001 in accordance with NCAA transfer rules and working with the scout team. Latrez Harrison and Chris Kelley backed up Shaun Hill last year. Even with Hill graduating and Harrison switching to receiver, Kelley was the heir apparent before he tore an ACL in the spring game. Then McBrien found himself thrust into the limelight.
McBrien beat out Kelley in the preseason and has started all five games with mixed results. He has four interceptions and no touchdown passes in lopsided losses to ninth-ranked Notre Dame and No.11 Florida State but showcased himself against inferior opponents Akron, Eastern Michigan and Wofford with five touchdowns and no picks. Tomorrow he will again try to be effective against a quality team for the first time.
"He wants to have a breakout game," said receiver Scooter Monroe, McBrien's roommate. "He is a little bit more jacked up for this game. Besides that, his performance on the field is the same and there is no difference in him."
The quarterback still has keepsakes of his time in Morgantown and is friendly with former teammates. He has the Mountaineers' jersey he wore in the 2000 Music City Bowl. But he has said his West Virginia days feel like a distant memory even though he is trying to recapture the thrill of taking the field there.
Tomorrow he won't be wearing Old Gold and Blue and have the frenzied faithful behind him. Instead, McBrien will be clad in red and white and be public enemy No.1.
"I played in some big games at West Virginia," McBrien said. "I kind of miss that. I kind of feel like I haven't fulfilled my goal yet. I feel I can do that here at Maryland fulfill my goal, play in some big games and lead this team. That's kind of what I'm striving for."
Note Receiver Jafar Williams aggravated his sprained left shoulder in practice yesterday and had X-rays last night. Results were not available.


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