- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 2, 2001

Maryland tailback Bruce Perry has moved from the doghouse to the penthouse after yesterday's 116-yard rushing performance against North Carolina.
Nagging injuries kept the elusive redshirt sophomore from making a strong first impression on coach Ralph Friedgen last spring or during preseason workouts. But over the course of the last two weeks, Perry has emerged as the Terrapins' top tailback and has quelled Friedgen's running back-by-committee plan.
After the Terps' 23-7 win over North Carolina, Friedgen said the tailback job was Perry's to lose.
The knock on Perry has been his durability. But against the Tar Heels, Perry (21 carries) finished runs with power, breaking tackles and moving piles despite his diminutive 5-foot-9, 190-pound frame.
"Bruce thinks he's been in my doghouse," Friedgen said. "And anybody who's hurt is usually in my doghouse. What I didn't like about Bruce was that he was an east-west guy, a dancing guy. I like a guy north-south, and he's learning to run like that right now."
Added Perry: "I was in the doghouse, I know [it]. I had to step it up and show that I could make plays and I was here to play ball… . In high school, if you have speed, you can go around the corner and be gone. But this is the collegiate level, and you have to be a hard-nosed running back. I kind of caught on to it at the end of the spring and realized that this is going to get us where we need to be and I need to change."
With Perry developing into a complete back, Friedgen has a go-to-guy out of the backfield. This is something the first-year coach felt was absent from his team with the program's all-time leading rusher, LaMont Jordan, now in the NFL.
"We wanted to show the world there was life after number 15," Perry said of Jordan.
Before the game, Friedgen said he would use up to four tailbacks against the Tar Heels, but only two played considerable minutes. Senior Marc Riley did a nice job spelling Perry and finished with 30 yards rushing and a touchdown. A third, freshman Jason Crawford, who has been fumble-prone in practice, saw action when the game was out of reach. He carried the ball five times for 23 yards on the Terps' final drive.

Booming Barnard

Junior punter Brooks Barnard gave the Terps a huge advantage in field position yesterday, nailing six of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line. He finished with a 50.4-yard average even though his first punt went just 27 yards.
The All-American candidate did this despite missing the team's breakfast yesterday morning. Barnard was a minute late, and Friedgen locked the doors, as is the coach's policy.
"I had to go to the bathroom and walked in just when the doors shut," Barnard said. "I had a couple teammates sneak out some bananas and stuff like that, but I tell you what, if that's the result every game, I might show up a minute late every time."

No more play calling

Friedgen, known for his dynamic and explosive offenses while offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, called just one play yesterday.
"It was a bad play… . I was going for the deep play," Friedgen said. "I thought we had a pretty good lock on their personnel and what they were going to do, and they didn't do it."
Offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe resumed the play-calling after the failed pass attempt.

Extra Points

Freshman kicker Nick Novak did not have the easiest NCAA debut. He missed field goal attempts of 47 and 50 yards but was successful on three extra points …
Senior cornerback Tony Okanlawon (DeMatha High School), the most abused man in Maryland's secondary last season, had an interception and a team-leading two pass deflections… .
Senior Guilian Gary showed no ill-effects of the sprained neck he suffered in practice Aug. 21, when he was airlifted to a shock trauma center in Baltimore. He started, caught two passes for 26 yards and returned two punts for 17 yards and one kickoff for 19 yards.


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