- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen once placed ads in the student paper for walk-on players. He soon might start recruiting guards, too. The Terrapins will use their fourth right guard against The Citadel on Saturday after losing three to injuries.

“If you’re an offensive lineman and you want to play, come to Maryland,” Friedgen said. “You’ve got a real good chance — soon.”

Guard Ed Tyler (arm) is out and guard Akil Patterson (high ankle sprain) doubtful after being injured during the 35-10 loss at Florida State on Saturday. Running back Bruce Perry also is doubtful after aggravating his high ankle sprain.

With guard Lamar Bryant (broken foot) sidelined at least another week, the Terrapins (0-2) will move either Ryan Flynn or Matt Powell, both reserve offensive tackles, to guard. Center Kyle Schmitt could slide to guard, but with Tyler also the backup center the Terps then would have two players out of position.

“There’s a big dropoff from our starters to our backups,” Friedgen said. “It’s hard to bring a guy in and just plug him in when he hasn’t played there. If we could run an offense without a right guard I’d probably do it.”

Flynn is a converted tight end who saw little time over two seasons. He switched to tackle during the spring, and the coaches hope his limited experience is enough for a one-game “Band-Aid.”

“I hope it’s not the jinx of the right guard,” Flynn said. “Hopefully, there’s not much of a falloff. The knowledge is the hard part. Our playbook is so extensive every position is a whole different world.”

Maryland’s offensive struggles are a result of myriad breakdowns from quarterback Scott McBrien missing downfield chances to receivers dropping balls to running backs getting little room at the line. However, Bryant’s absence especially has been critical. Florida State had two sacks and a forced fumble against his successors.

“We’re going to get beat, especially at that right guard position at times,” Friedgen said. “It’s something we have to try to help. We just have to live through it right now.”

Bryant is walking without a boot and even helped during practice yesterday. The senior’s leadership in the huddle has been missed, some teammates said.

“You can’t replace Lamar,” receiver Rich Parson said. “Once we get Lamar back, the offensive line will start clicking.”

Schmitt will work alongside someone new for the third straight game. However, he felt the turnover wasn’t the biggest reason the offense has gone 111 minutes since scoring a touchdown in its opening drive of the 20-13 overtime loss at Northern Illinois on Aug.28.

“Everybody has different styles,” Schmitt said. “We have to gain our continuity. We can play together no matter who it is. They’re not blowing us off the ball. It’s an occasional missed assignment.”

Friedgen simplified the gameplan against Florida State and might downscale it further vs. The Citadel. The Terps simply might try to bull past the undersized Bulldogs (1-1). That would lessen the impact of an inexperienced right guard being used in complicated pass blocking schemes.

“[Friedgen] had to slow things down just to get guys to concentrate on the little things,” Parson said. “He simplified the plays. … Everybody’s trying to do things on their own instead of coming together.”

The Terps might even rotate running backs partly based on blocking needs. Josh Allen will start barring a repeat of Perry’s surprising improvement last week, which elevated him from doubtful to starter in two days. Sam Maldonado could be used in multi-receiver sets to block. Perry often doubled as a featured runner and blocker.

Friedgen said Maryland’s beleaguered offense isn’t far from rebounding. However, a healthy line is needed for the resurgence.

“We get Scotty right, get our receivers going and help our right guard and get Lamar back,” he said, “you’ll see this whole thing pick up.”

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