- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

Some people prefer to begin a new job with a relatively easy assignment before more difficult situations come up.
Maryland redshirt freshman C.J. Brooks doesn't have that luxury.
The Terrapins' starting left offensive tackle will open his college career against one of the nation's best players when he tries to contain North Carolina All-American defensive end Julius Peppers on Saturday. Brooks, 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds, switched from second-string right tackle to starter on the left side just last week.
"It's definitely a heck of a way to start off, playing against Julius," said Brooks, who speaks calmly of the daunting challenge. "Even though I just started to play left tackle, I felt I came into it well and have been doing well in practice. Peppers can be a better athlete than I can, but he can't outwork me. It's just a task I can do."
In the Terps' media guide, Brooks lists "clutch" as the best word to describe him. The Rex, Ga., native will immediately be put to the test against Peppers, a junior who led the nation with 15 sacks last season.
The 6-6, 270-pound Peppers has already announced this will be his final college season, and will likely be a top-five draft pick in the NFL Draft. Peppers is such a good athlete that he was a key reserve on the Tar Heels' basketball team, which reached No. 1 in the country last season, and made the Final Four when he was a freshman.
"You have to try to get help on [Peppers]," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "The other problem is you have [Tar Heel defensive tackle Ryan] Sims. He's a good football player too. You can't double-up everybody. Somebody has to step up and be a man."
The Terps do have the option of using tight ends to help on the line, and may use seven men up front to try and offset the fierce rusher.
Peppers has already made an impact this season. Even though Carolina lost to No. 3 Oklahoma 41-27 last week, Peppers intercepted a pass and ran it back 29 yards for a touchdown for the Tar Heels' first score of the day.

Gary catching up
Receiver Guilian Gary received quite a scare last week when he was flown by a helicopter from the practice field to a hospital in Baltimore. The senior suffered a sprained neck, and was handled gingerly by the medical staff after losing sensation in much of his body. The Terps' top wideout the last two seasons is back and expects to play against North Carolina.
"Everything is back to normal," said Gary, who could also return kicks. "I took a hit here and there. I laid out for some balls and hopped right back up. It feels like nothing has changed. The first day it was just a mental thing, just getting back in there and seeing the defense coming at you."
Gary will be part of the receiver rotation that will include Jafar Williams, Scooter Monroe and Maurice Shanks. Steve Suter, who had arthroscopic knee surgery during the first week of the preseason, has also been practicing this week.

Kelley's status uncertain
Reserve quarterback Chris Kelley hoped to find out earlier this week whether he would need knee surgery again and redshirt another season or be cleared for light workouts in hopes of a midseason return.
"Right now, he's talking with doctors," Friedgen said. "Right now, he is planning on coming back."
Kelley plans to get a definitive decision in the next several days. It was originally believed that Kelley would miss about four weeks of the season. Now, it appears he will miss at least six.

Bunting coming home
North Carolina coach John Bunting was a star linebacker at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring before moving on to North Carolina and a long playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He spent his post-playing days as a professional assistant coach and was a co-defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams when they won the Super Bowl before moving to the New Orleans Saints last season.
Though he calls Chapel Hill and Philadelphia home, he is looking forward to revisiting College Park, where he often came to Byrd Stadium and Cole Field House as a youth.
"My parents still live here, in the same house they've lived in since 1958," said the 51-year-old Bunting. "They'll be over [at the game]. They're 80 and 81."

Extra points
Randall Jones is no longer the third-string quarterback, and will focus exclusively on his role as starting safety. True freshman Shai Warsaw (Sherwood High School) is likely the new emergency signal caller, according to Friedgen… . The coach expects true freshmen Jason Crawford (tailback) and Randy Starts (defensive tackle) to play Saturday, and Mario Merrills and Maurice Smith could play on special teams.


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