- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien remains listed as “day to day” for Saturday’s game against North Carolina after continuing to experience side effects from a recent concussion.

Freshman quarterback Joel Statham practiced with the starters yesterday while McBrien threw lightly in individual drills. McBrien suffered headaches Sunday and Monday following his concussion during a 7-3 loss at Georgia Tech on Thursday. He will be examined today and can practice once the headaches end.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said he expects McBrien to start. However, the Terps also will prepare a package for Statham.

“We have to plan for Plan B,” offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said. “We have to keep it a smaller package and manage the offense around a young quarterback and not give him too much.”

Statham has replaced Orlando Evans as the No.2 quarterback and also is being groomed for 2004 as McBrien’s possible successor. Evans is available after missing two games, but the senior’s recent poor practices have prompted the Terps to move ahead with Statham.

Statham improved after a shaky start against Georgia Tech, finishing 10-for-22 for 110 yards with one interception. However, his fumble led to the Yellow Jackets’ winning score.

“Joel went in and got hit right in the mouth about 20 times and never backed down,” Friedgen said. “I was encouraged by his performance. He can grow from that experience. I’m hoping it’s the beginning of something good.”

Statham threw several passes in plays he hadn’t practiced in weeks. However, he’s much more comfortable following the emergency entrance.

“The biggest thing is he didn’t panic,” Taaffe said. “I’ve been around a young quarterback who hasn’t played, and you can’t run anything. Maybe that helps Joel know, ‘I can do this.’”

Said Statham: “I feel a little more confident. I’m starting to see everything a little better now that I know what I’m supposed to do.”

But seriously

Friedgen quoted Cuba Gooding Jr. from the movie “Jerry Maguire,” saying the Terps need more “quan” to play well under pressure.

“We gotta get the quan,” Friedgen said. “I’m going to let these kids play four games where they don’t have to worry about anything. Just go out and play and have fun and let’s see what happens.”

Friedgen was in rare form during his weekly news conference, trying to dispel some of the pressure because the Terps (5-3, 2-2 ACC) must win their final four games to avoid the worst season in the coach’s three years.

On whether homecoming provides any benefit against North Carolina, Friedgen said jokingly, “They can hang coaches at homecoming, too. You have all the posses here. [Former coach] Lee Corso told me never lose a homecoming game.”

As to how he can make the offensive line improve, he started praying, “Our Father …”

Closed meeting

Friedgen spoke with his seniors Monday, hoping to inspire a strong finish against three bowl contenders after North Carolina. Maryland meets Virginia in a nationally televised home game before traveling to N.C. State and Wake Forest.

“I like a good discussion,” he said. “If you want to call it an argument, fine. I like to hear the plusses and minuses. I told them you get out in the real world, and it’s the guy that wants to achieve who wants to work who’s successful. You don’t always have to like your boss. You have to find a way to get it done and be productive, and that’s the same way it is here.

“This is one of the tougher times in my stint here at Maryland. We have the toughest part of our schedule coming up, and we’re not playing well on one side of the ball. We have to bind together as a team.”

However, Friedgen isn’t asking players to practice harder. Daily workouts have often gone well.

“Practice hasn’t been the problem — the games have been the problem,” he said. “We have to transfer it over to the games, and it has to come from our seniors if it’s going to get done.”

Extra points

Receiver Rich Parson is questionable with a sprained ankle. … The North Carolina game is expected to sell out; just 800 tickets remain. … Guard Lamar Bryant wouldn’t mind being Friedgen’s ambassador of “quan” as long as the embassy was in “the dining hall since I’m an offensive lineman. There’s food there, so why not?”

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