- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 11, 2002

The Maryland Terrapins are ranked in the preseason for the first time since the 1985 season when Bobby Ross was the coach and Ralph Friedgen was the offensive coordinator.
The Terps are 21st in the Associated Press poll, which was released yesterday. Maryland is ranked No.20 in the coaches' poll. Florida State, which is No.3, is the only other ACC team in the AP rankings.
"It's the beginning of the season, but we haven't done anything yet," Friedgen said. "It's going to change in three weeks anyway if we don't beat Notre Dame."
Maryland finished last season No.11 after its shocking run to the ACC title, also its first since 1985.
In addition to being nationally recognized, Maryland got positive news on the field from Chris Kelley. The sophomore quarterback, who underwent surgery on his right knee less than three months ago and was feared lost for the season, looked rusty but otherwise comfortable on the first day of practice.
"I was really pleased with Chris," offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said after the players worked out in shoulder pads, shorts and helmets. "He threw that one ball, I think it was to [Dan] Melendez, that deep ball. He had to really drive off that back foot to be able to throw it. That had to be 60 yards in the air. That was a good sign that he could drive off that foot with no problems."
Kelley is coming off his third knee injury that required surgery in less than three years. He was cleared to play by doctors this week, much earlier than the coaches expected. The first two operations, both on his left knee, kept him sidelined most of his first two seasons. He was not available to the media yesterday per Friedgen's orders but appears to be back in the competition for the starting spot with transfers Scott McBrien and Orlando Evans.
Kelley, who was the No.1 quarterback before his latest setback, said Friday he plans to start the season opener against Notre Dame on Aug.31.
"I miss just being out there with the guys," said Kelley, a blue-chip recruit out of Seneca Valley High School in Germantown. "I missed a lot of football the last two years. I don't want to go through that again."
Coaches were encouraged after the first practice but remain far from declaring him fit for action against the Fighting Irish.
"He was a little tentative [backpedaling] and some of those things," Taaffe said. "He has to work through that. But he moved around OK. He took all the reps. He didn't have to back out [of drills]. I said, 'How do you feel?' He said, 'I feel great.' I was really surprised he was able to do what he did. I wouldn't say he was game speed, but he was moving faster than I anticipated he would."
E.J. bouncing back
All-American middle linebacker E.J. Henderson went through his first practice since before the Orange Bowl. The ACC player of the year had back surgery in April, which forced him to miss spring practice. He said all went as well as could be expected on the first day and that he expects to be nearly 100 percent for the opener.
"It felt good," Henderson said after receiving ice treatment for 20 minutes after the morning session. "The back's a little tight. But that's expected."
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior plans to ease into full-scale contact. The Terps should hold their first practice in full pads Tuesday.
"I have to take it easy on the contact part," said Henderson, a Butkus Award finalist last season. "I will tag off [stop before hitting] a little bit."
Shrinking 'Fridge'
Ralph Friedgen said he has lost 39 pounds since starting his diet, which puts his weight at 315 pounds. The coach essentially has cut out carbohydrates like breads and beer and is eating a lot more fish, chicken and vegetables. The 55-year old coach's incentive came when two alumni each pledged $500 to the football program for every pound he loses.
On Friday's media day, Friedgen bypassed on the pizza for vegetables. The coach joked that he's turning into a rabbit because he's eating so many carrots.
"I had a salad," said Friedgen, whose ultimate goal is to lose 100 pounds by April. "My ears are starting to grow."

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