- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Ralph Friedgen got home late Monday night in time to catch some of Philadelphia's rout of the Washington Redskins. The Maryland coach slipped into his comfortable chair, turned on the television and allowed himself to dream for a moment while watching Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
"I was wondering if McNabb would want to transfer," Friedgen said of the quarterback who kept the Redskins off balance with his running and passing. "I was sitting back there and enjoying him, to tell you the truth, because he was playing quarterback the way it is supposed to be played."
And in a way that has been missing in College Park this season.
Although star tailback Bruce Perry should return this week, the competition at quarterback between starter Scott McBrien and Chris Kelley has been reopened. McBrien, a junior, was ineffective in lopsided losses to Notre Dame and Florida State, throwing four interceptions and no touchdowns. His only scoring drive in the two losses resulted in a 44-yard field goal that cut the fifth-ranked Seminoles' lead to 30-3 in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Kelley has been waiting not so patiently for his opportunity. The redshirt sophomore recovered rapidly from his third knee surgery and was ready for the preseason. The 6-foot-2, 213-pounder has gotten into all three games in mop-up roles. He executed Maryland's only touchdown drive from 18 yards in the 37-10 loss to the Seminoles on Saturday.
"Scott is one of my good friends, but I'm out there to win the job," said Kelley, who is recovering from a stomach flu. "When I'm out on the field, I don't have any friends, you know what I'm saying? I'm here to win the job."
The Terrapins (1-2) desperately need some offense, and it appears they will get a boost with Perry expected to return in a limited role this week after missing the first three games with a torn groin. Maryland has the luxury of bringing him along slowly Saturday; Eastern Michigan (1-2) comes to Byrd Stadium as a 34-point underdog.
The likely mismatch could provide a good opportunity for the Terps to work on their problems at quarterback. McBrien had two interceptions against the Seminoles, the same as in the Terps' 22-0 opening loss to Notre Dame.
"I blame myself for everything," said McBrien, who completed 14 of 26 passes for 187 yards against Florida State. "If I don't make mental mistakes, our offense will succeed. It's the same things I say every week. We just missed assignments mental mistakes."
McBrien was comfortable and effective in the 44-14 win over Akron two weeks ago; he had plenty of protection, and the Terps were physically too strong for the Zips. The 6-foot, 180-pound quarterback felt he made some bad throws last week, sometimes trying to force the ball and other times executing poorly when he made the correct decision. His first interception, which was returned to Maryland's 7-yard line, was too short and thrown on the inside rather than to the right of receiver Scooter Monroe.
"What I have seen with Scott is his decision-making has improved," Friedgen said. "What he needs to do now is make the plays. I thought he rushed the ball a little bit Saturday. I thought he got a little antsy."
Meanwhile, Perry, last year's ACC Offensive Player of the Year, is about "85 percent," according to Friedgen. The plan is to bring him along slowly so he can regain his endurance. The 5-foot-9, 196-pound junior probably will split time at tailback this week with Chris Downs.
Perry rushed for a league-high 1,242 yards last season and was Maryland's second-leading receiver with 40 catches for 359 yards. His return should be a boost for an offense searching for playmakers and waiting for McBrien, who is considered the better passer, or Kelley, a more physical runner, to claim the quarterback job.
"Each of them have their strengths and their weaknesses," Friedgen said. "It's kind of been like that from Day One. They're pretty close. What I don't want is this [competition] to be a big issue. I'm trying to play the best guy, the guy that can get it done. Right now, I think what we need to do is give them the same amount of reps with the same amount of competition alternate them between the first and second team and see where we are at the end."
Notes Reserve receiver Derrick Fenner broke his left ankle in Monday's practice when he slipped on the grass. The promising freshman will miss six weeks, according to Friedgen. Tailback Jason Crawford, who did not play against Florida State, is questionable this week with a hip flexor.


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