- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

Scott McBrien couldn't move the team. Chris Kelley didn't do much better.
The Maryland Terrapins yesterday began regrouping from Saturday night's misery in the Meadowlands. At the top of Ralph Friedgen's to-do list following the 22-0 loss to Notre Dame in Giants Stadium is finding a way to make his quarterbacks better.
"One of the things we have to do is probably cut back on what we're doing offensively," said the Maryland coach, in response to the Terps gaining 16 yards rushing and 133 total against the Irish. "We felt like the other [offensive] guys could handle it, but I don't think our quarterbacks can. That's where it all starts."
Friedgen plans to start McBrien again Saturday against Akron but Kelley also is expected to play.
Quarterback is just one of a slew of problems Maryland will address before the likely overmatched Zips visit Byrd Stadium. The schedule doesn't stay soft as No.5 Florida State comes to College Park on Sept.14.
The Terps, who were ranked 21st last week but likely will fall out of the AP poll today, also are looking to improve at tailback while Bruce Perry is out with a torn groin muscle. Jason Crawford (10 carries, 16 yards) and Mario Merrills (four carries, six yards) never got untracked as Notre Dame controlled the line of scrimmage.
There also is the matter of special teams. After reviewing the game films yesterday, Friedgen questioned the effort of some in that unit, which gave up the game's only touchdown on a 76-yard punt return by Vontez Duff. The score early in the third quarter gave Notre Dame a 16-0 lead and effectively put the game away.
The lone encouraging spot was defense, which did not allow a touchdown despite being on the field 41 minutes. All-American linebacker E.J. Henderson showed no effects of offseason back surgery, and freshman linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (10 tackles, two assists) had an impressive first game. The defense did allow five field goals as it was on the field most of the game because of the offense's propensity for three-and-outs.
The anemic offense must come to life if the Terps hope to have a second consecutive strong season and a berth in a top bowl. McBrien started, but couldn't execute the option and had trouble finding receivers. When he did, the play often ended with a dropped ball. McBrien completed nine of 23 passes for 84 yards with two interceptions. Kelley relieved him late in the third quarter before McBrien finished the game.
"It's kind of hard when you can't run the option," said McBrien, who sat out last season after transferring from West Virginia. "It's hurts our passing game when they stuff the running game."
Kelley came in with the Terps trailing 16-0 but did not threaten to score in his four series. The redshirt sophomore completed three of nine passes for 33 yards and one interception.
"We just weren't ready for what they threw at us," said Kelley, of the physical, pressing secondary of the Irish.
Friedgen's plan now is to build up his quarterbacks' confidence after the dreadful showing, in part by shrinking the playbook.
"We have to probably simplify and get them to where they make quicker and faster decisions and be able to get [some] offense," said Friedgen, after Maryland was shut out for the first time since 1998. "You have to try to put them in situations where they are going to be successful."
Note
Nickelback Ty Stewart suffered a groin pull and is doubtful for Akron.


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