- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2003

Maryland might run itself back to prosperity. After all, that’s what revived the Terrapins after a slow start last year.

Coach Ralph Friedgen yesterday said he’ll consider a return to the running game while simplifying the offense against The Citadel on Saturday at Byrd Stadium. Friedgen believes slumping quarterback Scott McBrien will regain his play-action pass success when he’s not forced to convert third and longs. Maryland (0-2) scored only one offensive touchdown in losses to Florida State (35-10) on Saturday and Northern Illinois (20-13) on Aug.28 — a 1-yard plunge by running back Josh Allen.

“We have to improve our running game to help Scott,” Friedgen said. “We have to simplify as much as we possibly can. We’re not throwing the ball very well and people are not respecting the passing game and ganging up on the running game.”

However, the Terps backfield is uncertain. Running back Bruce Perry aggravated his high ankle sprain in the third quarter against Florida State and left with only 32 yards on 10 carries. His status against The Citadel is uncertain until at least tomorrow. Sam Maldonado may have edged past Allen as the top backup. Maldonado gained 41 yards on nine carries against Florida State while Allen managed just 1 yard on two carries. Friedgen figures to use several backs.

McBrien’s lost confidence has the Terps confused. Despite solid spring and summer camps, McBrien often has looked confused and missed downfield opportunities. He completed only six of 18 for 61 yards with one interception against Florida State before he was pulled early in the fourth quarter.

“I was making bad decisions, bottom line,” McBrien said. “I don’t know what it is.”

Senior Orlando Evans replaced McBrien against Florida State while receiver Latrez Harrison twice ran the option for two plays. Friedgen hasn’t lost confidence in McBrien, but needs to jump-start the offense.

“I don’t feel Scott feels he’s as confident as he needs to be,” Friedgen said. “You have to trust the ball is going to be thrown on time because you can’t wait for guys to be open. Scott can do that very, very well. The guy has a gun. He has to take that from practice to the game and make better decisions on where to throw the ball in the game. He knows what to do. Sometimes he just has to do it.”

Evans completed seven of 12 for 57 yards, though he fumbled one snap and was sacked twice when both teams played reserves. Friedgen may be willing to spell McBrien, though the senior remains the clear starter.

“[Evans] decisions were very sharp and decisive,” Friedgen said. “I like how he handled the team. Orlando is one of our more improved players. I haven’t had a chance to sit down with Scott. There’s a guy that won 11 games for us last year. I have all the confidence in the world in him. He’s not playing as well as he can play. I think he’s a little frustrated by it.”

Receiver Steve Suter might get more snaps as Friedgen looks for more “playmakers” on the field. Suter played 15 snaps in his season debut after missing Northern Illinois with a strained hamstring. Suter set up a field goal for a 10-0 lead with a 17-yard punt return to the Seminoles’ 34. He’s also a strong downfield blocker.

“We have to get more production out of our playmakers,” Friedgen said. “I’m a big guy on effort and looking for guys that are really competing. Steve knows all the positions and I want to see if we can get our best players in the best spots.”

Meanwhile, guard Ed Tyler will miss his second game with a leg injury. However, safety Dennard Wilson’s shoulder injury wasn’t serious.

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