- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maryland linebacker Rick Costa was arrested early Saturday in College Park and charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault.

Coach Ralph Friedgen announced Tuesday, in accordance with the school’s student-athlete code of conduct, that Costa is suspended indefinitely from all team activities, including practice and games.

“Once the issue has been resolved, Rick’s status with the team will be re-evaluated,” Friedgen said.

According to charging documents obtained Tuesday, an officer noticed a fight at the Cornerstone Grill and Loft at about 2:25 a.m. Saturday. Two bouncers informed the officer that Costa and two other men were attempting to enter the bar after being told it was closed.

After being asked to leave, the 22-year-old Costa “became combative, striking [the bouncers] in the face,” prompting another bouncer to intervene, only to be pushed away.

The officer proceeded to identify himself and observed Costa was “intoxicated and disorderly.” Costa then “became belligerent and punched the [officer] in the right side of his eye, causing a severe face injury.” The officer defended himself with Mace, and other officers soon arrived to arrest Costa.

Costa’s arrest is the first major fracas involving Maryland’s football program in more than three years. The Terps suspended three players for one game in 2005 for their roles in a Halloween brawl at Cornerstone, though people within the program say players did not instigate that melee.

“Thank God, knock on wood, if you look at our record compared to other schools, it’s pretty good,” Friedgen said last month.

Costa, who started two of Maryland’s nine games, ranks second on the Terps (6-3, 3-2 ACC) in both sacks (three) and tackles for loss (seven) and has 22 total tackles. He and senior Trey Covington split time at LEO, Maryland’s end-linebacker hybrid position.

Costa’s absence likely will force Maryland to play redshirt freshman Derek Drummond in his stead Saturday when No. 17 North Carolina (7-2, 3-2) visits Byrd Stadium.

The Terps briefly toyed with the idea of moving reserve weakside linebacker Adrian Moten into a backup role to Covington. However, Moten still is hampered by wrist surgery he underwent earlier this season and would not match up well against an offensive tackle in such a limited state.

In addition, shifting Moten to LEO likely would force Maryland to burn freshman Demetrius Hartsfield’s redshirt as a backup inside linebacker. That leaves Drummond, who traveled to road games throughout this season but has yet to play, to assume a game-day role.

“He came in [Monday] night, and we were very pleased with what he knew,” Friedgen said. “We’ll see how he does. It will be a loss from an experience situation. We had two experienced guys playing that position. [We’re going] to fill in with a young guy looking for a chance, and that could be good, too.”

Note - The Terps are altering their defensive line after yielding 273 yards rushing in Thursday’s 23-13 loss at Virginia Tech. Tackle Jeremy Navarre will move to end, where he started the last three years, and Travis Ivey will start at defensive tackle. Redshirt freshman Dion Armstrong will start at nose tackle.

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