- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2002

The Maryland Terrapins believe less is more.
That's the Terps' philosophy after they were held to 16 yards rushing and 133 total yards while being shut out by Notre Dame in last weekend's season opener. Maryland will use a simplified game plan against a lower-caliber team Saturday when Akron visits Byrd Stadium.
The 22-0 loss to the Irish knocked Maryland out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since last September.
"A lot of people want to know what happened," guard C.J. Brooks said yesterday, the first day of classes. "There were huge expectations. A lot of things just didn't work out in the first game."
The Terps are unlikely to get much of a test from the Zips, who yielded 51 points in the first half to Iowa last week before losing 57-21. Maryland will pay Akron $200,000 for the visit presumably in exchange for an easy win. The Terps will have a much more formidable opponent next week when No.5 Florida State comes to College Park.
Maryland hopes Akron (4-7 last season) is the cure for two ineffective quarterbacks and an unproductive offense. The Terps had six three-and-outs and had no first downs during a 21-minute stretch between the second and third quarters. The playbook has been scaled back to allow starter Scott McBrien and Chris Kelley to concentrate on the basics.
"I'm going to have this game plan so tight this week that they can do it in their sleep," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "Then we'll find out whether they can see and be able to do the things that we ask them to do."
The simplified offense also should help tailbacks Jason Crawford and Mario Merrills, who are filling in while ACC offensive player of the year Bruce Perry rehabilitates from a groin tear. Crawford was held to 16 yards on 10 carries, and Merrills finished with six yards on four carries.
"I just felt we got away from the run a little earlier than what we needed to," junior guard Lamar Bryant said. "If we had stuck with it, I felt like we would've scored more points and the game would've been better off for us."
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Crawford will make the second start of his career Saturday. Friedgen expects the explosive sophomore to run upfield more and be more relaxed.
"Crawford is a guy that needs to be a punishing-type runner," Friedgen said. "A couple times we had him matched up with a free safety. You got to make that guy miss, or you have to make him feel the pain one or the other."
Maryland unlikely will be able to measure its progress by wins and losses over the four-game homestand starting with the Zips. The Terps figure to have easy wins as they pay hefty sums of money for Akron, Eastern Michigan (Sept.21) and Division I-AA Wofford (Sept.28) to come to Byrd. The Seminoles, conversely, will be a heavy favorite. Maryland probably will have to wait until Oct.5 at West Virginia for an accurate barometer.
Friedgen assuredly will play up the upset angle this week after two teams from Akron's conference the Mid-American beat two ACC teams last week. Miami of Ohio stunned North Carolina, while Northern Illinois surprised Wake Forest.
"They better not be [overlooking Akron]," said Friedgen, whose last experience with the MAC was a 50-3 victory over Eastern Michigan last season. "We'll be 0-2 if that happens. Then we'll all have some fun."
Some 45,000 tickets have been distributed for the home opener, though the number of tickets sold was unavailable. The hype from last season's 10-2 record and ACC title has died down after the Terps' horrendous start to 2002, but Maryland vows its first impression won't be lasting.
"A lot of people will jump off the bandwagon now," said Friedgen, pointing out he has a young team with little experience at key positions. "That's human nature. I told them I was disappointed with how they played but not their effort. I still like this football team. I'm very proud of this football team. We'll get better I promise you that."
Notes The Akron game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis by Comcast Cable and can be ordered for $14.95. A three-game package, including Eastern Michigan and Wofford, costs $29.95. The game with the Zips will be re-broadcast on Comcast SportsNet on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Akron quarterback Charlie Frye completed 21 of 29 passes against Iowa for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.



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