- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2002

Scott McBrien has misfired in losses to Florida State and Notre Dame two highly ranked, undefeated teams with punishing defenses. The Maryland quarterback has been efficient and productive in wins over Akron and Eastern Michigan two lower-tier teams with porous defenses that serve as fodder for the big boys.
McBrien provided hope Saturday that he could be the answer at quarterback when the Terrapins meet better competition, starting Oct. 5 at West Virginia and followed by seven ACC games. The left-handed junior completed 14 of 19 passes for 300 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against Eastern Michigan.
"He threw the ball very accurately," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who simplified the offense last week to focus on execution. "The big thing I have been concerned with him is throwing [in sync with receivers]. If you noticed last week he was back there holding the ball, trying to make a decision. I thought he was much more decisive [Saturday]. If the pattern called to take a five-step drop and throw on the fifth step, he did it."
Not that the Terps (2-2) can conclude too much from the 45-3 win over Eastern Michigan, including how McBrien will hold up against formidable defenses. The Mid-American Conference cellar dwellers rarely provided a rush and left Terps receivers as open as all-night diners. McBrien and Co. should have another field day Saturday when Division I-AA middleweight Wofford comes to Byrd Stadium.
But the progress of McBrien and the likely return of star tailback Bruce Perry, who has missed the first four games with a torn groin, is encouraging for Maryland fans. The Terps have several receivers, including Jafar Williams, Scooter Monroe and Steve Suter, who can turn short throws into large gains. The return of Perry, who rushed for 1,242 yards and had 40 catches for 359 yards last season, will give a new dimension to the developing offense.
"Coach [Friedgen] really put an emphasis this week on making plays and making the right decision," said McBrien, who beat out Chris Kelley during the week to keep his starting job. "If you make the right decision, big plays are going to happen. You don't have to worry about making the plays yourself, really. If you do your assignment and know what you are doing, big plays are going to happen."
McBrien did a good job Saturday switching to secondary receivers if his first target was covered, something he had trouble with previously. The quarterback said seeing the entire field gives receivers incentive to finish routes and get free.
"You get [repetitions] going backside," McBrien said of working the opposite side of the field from the primary target. "You gain confidence going backside. That's going to pay off when we get into the ACC."
McBrien is getting more comfortable through practices and studying film on his own. Now he will have to prove he can react well to blitz-crazed defenses with top cornerbacks.
"Is he there yet? No," said Friedgen, who plans to hold another open competition at quarterback this week. "He's got a gun. And in practice, he's very accurate. He hasn't always been that way in games, and that's what we have to get to. I'm hoping the more knowledge he has, he'll be more confident of where he is going with the football. That's when things slow down."
Notes Third-string quarterback Orlando Evans suffered a knee injury in Saturday's game and will have an MRI today to determine the extent of the damage. True freshman Joel Statham moves to the No. 3 quarterback spot. Wofford (3-0) defeated Georgia Southern 14-7 on Saturday. The Terriers from Spartanburg, S.C., also defeated South Carolina State 7-6 and Newberry (S.C.) 48-0.
Maryland is paying Wofford $225,000 for the visit. The Terps were originally scheduled to play Troy State, but the Alabama school bought out of the contract in February for $150,000.

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