- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Bruce Perry's checkered preseason took another negative turn yesterday when the Maryland tailback suffered a pulled groin that was described as "serious."
"I talked to him, and he said a lineman stepped on his foot," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "He was driving and said he heard something pop. He was in a lot of pain. He's going to get an MRI [today]."
Perry was injured in warmups before the Terrapins' scrimmage at Byrd Stadium.
The ACC offensive player of the year had abdominal surgery in May and had been limited in fall practices with complications from that. However, he practiced three straight days of two-a-days before yesterday's setback.
"I think it is something different than what he had before," Friedgen said. "From what the doctors tell me, it could be serious."
Perry, a junior who rushed for 1,242 yards last season, was not available for comment.
The tailback's injury put a damper on the closed scrimmage, which players said ran for about a half. It was essentially the last dress rehearsal before the 21st-ranked Terps open the season Aug.31 against Notre Dame in the Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands. The scrimmage was full contact, except for quarterbacks who wore yellow jerseys and were not hit.
Friedgen said he has not made a decision whether Scott McBrien or Chris Kelley will start at quarterback. McBrien, a left-handed transfer from West Virginia, was slightly ahead of Kelley before yesterday. Friedgen, who has said he expected to make a decision shortly after the scrimmage, described the race as virtually a dead heat.
"Today was so close," Friedgen said. "I really have to look at the tape. I might be like [Washington Redskins coach] Steve [Spurrier] and say, 'You'll know when he takes the field.' I don't know if I have to play my hand to Notre Dame."
Both quarterbacks were said to be further along in passing than in the running game. Kelley, who had his third major knee surgery in May, said he feels fine and is preparing as if he will be the starter against the Fighting Irish. The redshirt sophomore wore a brace on his right knee and said he is physically "80 to 90 percent" back from the injury.
"I threw the ball pretty well and made some good decisions," said Kelley, a prep All-American from Seneca Valley High School. "Confidence is something you need coming off a serious injury like I had. Today I had confidence. I'm not here to be second or third. If I was here to be second or third, I would be at the pool right now. I'm here to be the starter."
McBrien believes he hasn't earned the starting spot and won't until he proves himself in a regular-season game. The 6-foot junior said he doesn't know who will start when the season opens in 10 days.
"I wish I did," said McBrien, a 6-foot junior from DeMatha. "It's something I can't think about. I just have to come out and work hard."
The bigger question is who will be the featured rusher behind McBrien or Kelley. Mario Merrills was the No.1 tailback with Perry out early in the camp, but the redshirt freshman was slowed by a separated shoulder last week. Merrills played yesterday without incident and shared time with sophomore Jason Crawford and freshman Josh Allen.
The Terps are hoping they won't have to go to Plan B at tailback.
"We'll see the MRI, and we'll see how serious it is," Friedgen said of Perry.
McBrien was involved in what players said was one of the highlights when he threw a screen pass to Latrez Harrison, who took it some 80 yards for a touchdown. Friedgen said sophomore Steve Suter returned the opening kickoff more than 100 yards for a touchdown. Reserve safety Ty Stewart suffered a concussion. His status was unknown last night.

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