- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 26, 2001

Coach Ralph Friedgen and his Maryland Terrapins gave fans a taste of what's to come when they held an open practice and scrimmage yesterday in College Park.

About 2,000 fans, eager to see the first-year coach and his revamped squad, attended the practice to get some indication as to how the Terps will look when the season opens Saturday against North Carolina at Byrd Stadium.

The Terps used the 2?-hour scrimmage to work on special situations, including the two-minute drill, overtime and running the clock with a lead in the final moments. Starting quarterback Shaun Hill looked sharp, as did likely starting tailback Bruce Perry.

"I think we have shown some good things in practice," said Friedgen, who makes his head coaching debut this week. "I'm anxious to see how good we are. I really don't know. I'm anxious, nervous, excited."

Most of the starting spots have been secured. Perry took the brunt of the work at tailback and has a slight edge over Marc Riley and Jason Crawford. Leon Joe is expected to start at outside linebacker, but Andrew Henley is close behind.

The top wide receivers, according to Friedgen, are Scooter Monroe, Jafar Williams, Maurice Shanks and Darryl Whitmer. Wideout Guilian Gary, out with a sprained neck, should practice tomorrow, and receiver Steve Suter also could return this week after having arthroscopic knee surgery 10 days ago.

Overall, Friedgen seemed pleased with the preseason camp. After inundating players with information the first week, the coaches backed off last week and gave them time to absorb the new packages.

"I'm feeling more comfortable now," said Hill, a senior quarterback who goes into the season as the undisputed starter. "The last couple of weeks, I feel I've turned a corner. I'm doing better in checks on the running game, which had been my downfall."

The running game now has players to go with positions. Perry, who battled nagging injuries early in camp, finally appears in good health. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound sophomore showed yesterday he could find seams and cut back, as well as catching the ball out of the backfield. His backfield companion will be massive fullback James Lynch, who is conservatively listed at 261 pounds.

"The offense at first was a shock," Perry said of the new playbook's complexity. "I think I finally caught on to the system this summer working with the quarterbacks. We're just getting polished. Now it's really the beginning."

Friedgen put the team through a much more extensive scrimmage Thursday at Byrd Stadium. The team practiced a wider variety of plays in game-like situations.

The coach hopes that extensive scrimmage will help balance North Carolina's advantage of having played a game this season, although the Tar Heels took an embarrassing beating from Okla- homa last night.

"[A win] would give the team a lot of confidence," Friedgen said. "It needs something to build on. It needs to know it can fight through things and achieve."

Notes Quarterback Chris Kelley, who had knee surgery earlier this month after a freak accident at the beach, may require another operation and could be out for the season. Kelley had been expected to resume light workouts over the next few weeks and return by midseason.

"I'll find out more [from doctors] Monday," said Kelley, a high school phenom from Seneca Valley. "I hear something different every day." The redshirt freshman missed all of last season after tearing an ACL in a summer all-star game …

Friedgen is considering dropping the experiment of using Randall Jones as the team's third quarterback. Jones, a senior, is a starting safety and spends no time in offensive meetings. If Jones is out of the mix, Brian Ramey or Shai Warsaw, both freshman walk-ons, would run a scaled-down offense as the third-stringer… .

Redshirt freshman Nick Novak has won the job as kicker, while redshirt freshman Jon Condo is the long snapper. The starting defensive tackles will be sophomore C.J. Feldheim and junior Durrand Roundtree.


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