Maryland Gears Up For Va Tech Visit
Nov. 12, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - With the threat of flooding due to heavy rain in the area, the University of Maryland football team held practice in its off-campus indoor facility Thursday afternoon in preparation for Saturday's Virginia Tech game.
The contest will kick off at 1 p.m. from sold-out Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
The Terps (2-7, 1-4 ACC) enter their matchup with the 20th-ranked Hokies (6-3, 3-2 ACC) looking to continue recent success against Top 25 teams. In their last eight matchups with teams ranked in the Associated Press poll, the Terps have gone 6-2. Maryland leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech 15-14, although the Hokies have won the last four matchups.
Despite coming off a tough 38-31 loss to North Carolina State, the Terrapins had a good week of practice.
"I was pleased with this practice," said head coach Ralph Friedgen after Wednesday's session. "We're beat up a little bit. (Today) I just went through our team practice and cut the individual (periods). We got done what we needed to."
Quarterback Chris Turner, who ranks second all-time on Maryland's career passing yards chart (6,442) and has started 29 of the last 30 games, is listed as doubtful for Saturday's game after suffering a knee injury last week against NC State.
Sophomore Jamarr Robinson, who played the entire second half in Turner's absence last week, could make his first career start if Turner can't go. Friedgen said he has been pleased with the progression of Robinson throughout practice this week.
"(He seems) more confident than he had been," said Friedgen after Thursday's workout. "I think he's had a good week of practice. Some things are not as fast as they need to be. I thought yesterday and today he did a good job."
The Terps hope their offensive playmakers will help offset the potential loss of Turner.
Torrey Smith's record-breaking year continued last week against NC State, as the sophomore broke his own ACC single-season kickoff return yards record. Smith had a career-high 204 in the game, including an 82-yard TD return, to bring his 2009 total to 1,113 yards. His previous record, set last year, was 1,089. He ranks fourth on the ACC career kickoff return yardage list with 2,202. The TD return was the second of the season and third of Smith's career, which is a Maryland record. Smith was named ACC Specialist of the Week for the second time this season for his performance.
Smith, whose 200.7 all-purpose yards per game average ranks third in the nation, needs just 35 on Saturday to break LaMont Jordan's single-season school record of 1,840.
Running back Gary Douglas, who missed the past two games with a shoulder injury, is expected to be available Saturday. Douglas joins sophomore Davin Meggett and freshman Caleb Porzel at tailback. The trio has combined to get all of the carries with All-ACC running back Da'Rel Scott sidelined with a broken wrist. Scott practiced without contact this week and may return vs. Florida State.
Virginia Tech has one of the best defenses in the conference and several playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.
The Hokies rank third in the ACC and eighth nationally in pass defense, allowing just 163.1 yards per game. Their defense has allowed just 17.4 points per game this season, third best in the conference.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is a dual-threat, having thrown for 1452 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 211 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Redshirt freshman running back Ryan Williams leads the ACC and ranks ninth in the nation in rushing average (123.2 ypg). He is also third in the conference in touchdowns scored with 11.
The Terps, meanwhile, have been good defending the run, especially in conference play. Maryland ranks No. 1 in the ACC (conference games only) by allowing just 92.4 rushing yards per game.
"I think it's going to be a challenge for us, especially up front," said senior defensive tackle Travis Ivey. "They have a pretty good running team, they're averaging something like a 190 yards on the ground. As a whole defense, I think that we are up to the challenge...we just really want to put an emphasis on stopping the run."
In partnership with Under Armour, the Terps will wear special black and desert camouflage uniforms to support the Wounded Warrior Project, a not-for-profit organization that provides programs and services for injured service members and their families. The uniforms will also have a unique twist; a core value embellishment - Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country and Service - will replace the players' last name on the back of each jersey.
Wounded Warrior and Under Armour created special make-up products for fans to wear on gameday to show their support. The gear will be sold in college book stores, local military base exchanges, and on-line at www.underarmour.com. Game jerseys will be auctioned off after the game on www.umterps.com and the proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Maryland fans are encouraged to "blackout" the Hokies by wearing all black to Saturday's game.
Following Thursday's practice, Friedgen announced that Smith will serve as special-teams captain against Virginia Tech.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network (pregame begins at 11:30 a.m.) and streamed on ESPN360. Comcast SportsNet will show a replay of the webcast in the Washington D.C./Baltimore market at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets: Tickets for home games are available through the Maryland Athletics Ticket Office, though only mezzanine and luxury suites remain for Virginia Tech. Fans my call 1-800-IM-A-TERP or click here.
Wounded Warrior Honorary Captains Chosen: Under Armour and the Wounded Warrior Project have selected three Wounded Warriors to serve as honorary captains at the first University of Maryland Wounded Warrior Project Game Powered by Under Armour. Former U.S. Army Captains Ferris Butler and Ryan Kules, as well as retired U.S. Army Specialist Adam Mattis are all from the state of Maryland. Two of the three Iraq veterans, Kules and Mattis, spent Monday afternoon with the Terps and will participate in the ceremonial coin toss at the beginning of Saturday's Virginia Tech game in honor of the U.S. Armed Services. Click here for a bio sheet on the honorary captains.
Annual Merriman Coat Drive: The seventh-annual Light's On Foundation Coat Drive will be held Tuesday at Maryland's men's basketball game vs. Fairfield (8 p.m. tip). Over the past six years, the foundation of former Terp Shawne Merriman has collected over 15,000 coats for the benefit of the Community for Creative Non-violence Shelter in Washington, D.C. Merriman, along with current Terrapin student-athletes, will be accepting donated items of new or gently-used coats, hats, scarves, and other warm clothing as soon as the gates open at 6:30 p.m. The collection will continue until the end of the first half.
The former Maryland star football player will also be available for a 30-minute autograph session beginning at 7 p.m. on the third level of Comcast above the Terrapin Team Store. Fans who are unable to make it to the game can drop off donations in the Academic Center on the first floor of the Comcast Center or the Gossett Football Team House now until Wednesday. The hours for the drop-off are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.