- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2002

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has spoken often about the importance of developing reserves who might be forced into pivotal roles in this year's 13-game regular season. That time is apparently now.
Friedgen will find how far many of his young players have evolved after a rash of injuries tempered the Terrapins' 45-12 pasting of Duke on Saturday.
It started when tailback Bruce Perry was hit in the ribs on Maryland's first offensive play, and his status remains unclear. The offensive line could be short two starters and its top reserve when Maryland (6-2, 2-1 ACC) vies for a sixth consecutive victory at North Carolina (2-6, 0-4) on Saturday. The defense also suffered a severe blow when nose tackle C.J. Feldheim suffered a knee injury on the game's first play.
Starting offensive tackle Matt Crawford also suffered a knee injury. Crawford, Perry and Feldheim will undergo MRIs today, and are doubtful this week. Starting center Todd Wike left early with a hyperextended big toe, and is questionable. The offensive line's scenario is further complicated because top reserve Kyle Schmitt missed the Duke game with a shoulder sprain and may not be able to play against the Tar Heels.
"I'm counting on maybe Crawford [being] out this week," Friedgen said. "I haven't ruled him out for the season yet. A lot depends on Kyle Schmitt. What [doctors] tell me now is, they don't want him to have any contact this week. I don't know how you practice with a center and not have any contact. We have to see how bad Todd Wike is."
Wike and Schmitt are the team's top two centers. The third-stringer is junior Ed Tyler, who has played in only three games this season. There is currently no center behind Tyler. True freshman Stephon Heyer could make his first start at tackle, and sophomore Lou Lombardo should get extended playing time.
The outlook for Perry should become a little clearer today. Perry, who had missed the first seven games after tearing a groin muscle in the preseason, was hit from behind on a 19-yard run. It was the first play of the season for Perry, who left with a strain to his chest, described as where the collarbone meets the breastbone.
"The guy from behind got him, and he pinned his right arm to his side," Friedgen said. "Then with his whole body, he kind of landed on his shoulder. His ribs might have buckled. He got hit pretty good; I didn't realize it at the time. [Trainer] Sandy [Worth] told me that [former Maryland fullback Matt] Kalapinski had this injury and really had trouble practicing, but he played every game. We'll have to see what an MRI shows."
On defense, senior William Shime stepped in for Feldheim, a stalwart at nose tackle. The defense has depth with several capable backups, including Shawne Merriman. The freshman started in place of injured linebacker Jamahl Cochran, who was able to play 15 snaps despite a strained hamstring.
"The thing that was encouraging about Shawne on Saturday was that he didn't make many mental mistakes," said Friedgen, who said Merriman played well enough to possibly merit a start. "He only had two [missed assignments], which is a real improvement for him. I think he knocked down two balls. He flew around."
The Terps are comfortable with their depth at linebacker and in the secondary, but reserves on the defense line are a problem. Backup defensive end Scott Smith could miss a second straight game with back problems, and the possible loss of Feldheim could further deplete an already thin defensive line.
"I don't have enough bodies there," Friedgen said. "I really don't know what the solution is. I thought about moving [backup offensive lineman] Akil [Patterson] over, but with Schmitt and Wike hurt, I don't know if that helps us there either. So I'm out of answers."

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