Postcards from Jacksonville: Day 2 At The Gator Bowl
Dec. 27, 2003
Fast Fact of the Day: Since teams at the Gator Bowl have started training at colleges three seasons ago, the teams that have trained at Jacksonville University - all from the ACC -- have won the bowl game. In 2002, Florida State beat Virginia Tech, 30-17 and in 2003, NC State beat Notre Dame, 28-6. Where are the Terps training this year - at Jacksonville University.
By Jason Yellin
JACKSONVILLE -- The crack of the pads was a beautiful sound on this crystal clear day as the Terps began their practice schedule in Florida in preparation for the Gator Bowl.
Maryland headed over to its training grounds for the next week - Jacksonville University. The Dolphins actually have a Division I-AA football program that just completed its sixth varsity season.
The skies were clear and the temperatures were in the high 50s when the scout team hit the fields this morning around 9 a.m. Maryland has three full-length practice fields to work on at JU including the Dolphins game field - Milne Field.
The dress squad of the Terps had meetings at 9 a.m., following breakfast and headed off to JU at 10 a.m. The practice began with some special teams situations and was followed by the normal stretching before the players broke up into positional groups for 20 periods of action spanning the next two hours.
It was a spirited practice with the coaches reminding the Terps of their mission - to win the Gator Bowl. The let them know there would be close to 80,000 fans at ALLTEL Stadium and they needed to represent the University of Maryland with pride.
Two of Maryland's injured players who will return for the bowl game - defensive end Scott Smith is back after missing nine games with a herniated disc in his back and wide receiver Derrick Fenner is back after being out with appendicitis. Fenner even made a spectacular catch of about 50 yards late in practice. The biggest hit of the day may have come from Domonique Foxworth who popped one of the receivers.
Running backs Bruce Perry and J.P. Humber continued the tradition started two years ago of wearing the wrong numbers at practice as Perry wore No. 6 instead of his normal No. 1 and Humber was in No. 7 instead of No. 20.
Following the practice which ran a little long, the players met with the media. Bruce Perry and Randy Starks were the most popular interviews. Coach Ralph Friedgen also addressed the media for about five minutes.
The players showered and boarded the buses for a special treat - a lunch at Outback Steakhouse. Each player received a slab of ribs and chicken which they enjoyed.
The players had fun jumping into the special Outback Steakhouse Hummer - led by Rich Parson, who donned an Australian hat and all.
Following the meal the players headed back to the hotels and had a relaxing day with a lot of free time. Some spent time in the game room and others took in the Jacksonville sites of the Landing while others headed out to the Jacksonville beaches.