- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2002

ATLANTA William Shime has been suspended from the Maryland football team and will not play in tomorrow's Peach Bowl against Tennessee, according to team sources. A Maryland spokesman would not comment on the starting nose tackle's status.
Shime was suspended for breaking team rules, did not practice yesterday and left Atlanta in the afternoon. The fifth-year senior will miss the final game of his career. Terrapins coach Ralph Friedgen confirmed that a starter had been suspended, but would not identify which one.
"I really don't want to say," Friedgen said following an afternoon practice at Georgia Tech. "I have one guy that I sent home."
Shime got in trouble on Saturday night. The absence means the 20th-ranked Terps have a crisis on the line, and that junior Tosin Abari could get his first career start. The 6-foot, 259-pound Abari has played sparingly in eight games this season and recorded seven tackles. Starting defensive end Durrand Roundtree could also play some at nose tackle, and reserve defensive end Scott Smith is likely to see extended playing time.
Shime had been a reserve until C.J. Feldheim tore an ACL and was lost for the season on his first play against Duke on Oct.26. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Shime started and played well in the final five games of the regular season. He recorded 39 tackles, and was an important part of occupying offensive lines and freeing linebackers to make plays.
Shime was scheduled to graduate from Maryland earlier this month. He is a native of Cameroon who moved from Africa and spent his final two years of high school at Bishop McNamara in Forestville. Shime converted from defensive end to nose tackle in the spring.
No ticket fever
The buzz is more like a murmur. Maryland fans are not flocking to the Peach Bowl like they did to the Orange Bowl last season in Miami.
The Maryland athletic department donated 3,500 tickets a face value of $227,500 to military and non-profit groups because they did not sell. The department still had another 1,500 unsold tickets as of yesterday. The university sold 15,000 tickets, including 500 through the Peach Bowl office.
Maryland officials were so optimistic tickets would be a hot item when they received the invitation that they committed to 20,000, 2,500 more than the number mandated by the Peach Bowl. Last year, 22,000 bowl tickets were sold through Maryland.
There are many possible reasons Terrapins' fans are not converging on Atlanta. Athletic Director Debbie Yow feels the sluggish economy has cut down on discretionary income, and supporters are not used to budgeting for a bowl trip since the Orange Bowl was Maryland's first bowl appearance since 1990.
The Terps also may be a victim of their own success. Fans have shelled out for two consecutive trips to the Final Four, last season's bowl game and the Aug.31 Kickoff Classic against Notre Dame at Giants Stadium. Many also made additional donations to the university to keep basketball seats in the new Comcast Center.
Supporters also have been purchasing paraphernalia, from Orange Bowl and basketball national championship merchandise to pieces of the Cole Field House floor.
"We feel like we have been selling new things almost daily," Yow said. "Is the glass half full or half empty? I would say it's half full. Absolutely, I'm not [disappointed]. It's hard to be disappointed after looking at the whole picture."
Yow points out that the 15,000 tickets sold is in the top 10 among the 48 non-Bowl Championship Series bowl teams. However, two ACC teams (N.C. State and Virginia) not in the BCS sold more than their allotment to their respective bowls. The Cavaliers, however, were required to sell only 12,500 tickets.
There could be other factors keeping fans home. Atlanta is not considered a vacation spot like Miami, and many Terps' faithful were in the city for the Final Four this past spring. Also, car trips are difficult because it is an 11-hour (650 miles) drive from Washington.
And the football team's startling success last season an ACC title and BCS bowl coach in Ralph Friedgen's first season left the Peach Bowl bid as somewhat of a letdown. Fans had thoughts of another conference title and BCS bid likely the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans before a 48-13 loss to Virginia on Nov.23.
"I don't think we have been successful enough to be spoiled," Yow said. "We're too young. [Maryland fans] are not in the habit of going to a bowl. We have to get people to work out their finances in advance in order to go to a bowl in December."
A fruitful state
The land of peaches has been fertile soil for Maryland, and should only grow with Friedgen's reputation in the state. There are as many Georgians five on the Terps' roster as players from Virginia.
Maryland could have all five Georgia products on the field at the same time next season. Offensive tackles Eric Dumas, a junior, and C.J. Brooks, a sophomore, already start, and freshman tackle Stephon Heyer is a top reserve. Junior Latrez Harrison is a starting receiver. Quarterback Joel Statham, who is redshirting, is a promising freshman.
Friedgen, after spending nine seasons as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech before taking the Terps after the 2000 season, is still popular around Atlanta.
Dumas, Harrison and Brooks were recruited by previous coach Ron Vanderlinden. The Terps already have received a verbal commitment from Marietta (Ga.) linebacker Tim Cesa for next season.
Extra points
Offensive tackle Matt Crawford practiced yesterday after missing two days because of a shoulder strain. Offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe expects him to play. The Terps held their final outdoor practice in 60-degree temperatures at Georgia Tech. They will have a walk-through in the Georgia Dome this morning.

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