Return to Sports

Terps' coach sees improvement

The Associated Press

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said Monday he was pleased not only with his team's surprisingly strong showing against No. 12 Virginia, but how his players reacted to the loss.

Maryland outrushed Virginia 241-151 in a 31-19 loss Saturday. The Terrapins outscored the Cavaliers 17-7 to start the second half and were within five points midway through the fourth quarter.

In the locker room afterward, on the bus ride home and in film review Sunday, confidence was mixed with disappointment.

"I think the players see it the same way I do. We gained confidence, we earned respect, but we didn't win the ballgame. And in this business that's the bottom line," Vanderlinden said Monday.

"I don't believe in moral victories. However, as young as we are, we needed to prove we could play a good team even up. We probably outplayed Virginia in several categories."

Maryland might have won if not for first half mistakes and turnovers. A fumbled kickoff return and another fumble following a sack led directly to 10 Virginia points. The Terrapins lost seven points when LaMont Jordan's 29-yard touchdown run was called back for holding and quarterback Ken Mastrole threw an interception at the Cavaliers' 5-yard line.

"We made a lot of improvement in a lot of areas, but we also made some mistakes that cost us. We need to take the next step, which is to put it all together and win, Vanderlinden said.

Maryland (1-1) will need a complete effort this Saturday in order to knock off No. 19 West Virginia (0-1) at Mountaineer Field. West Virginia has won seven of the last 10 against Maryland. The Terps have not beaten a ranked opponent since 1990.

Vanderlinden said he is still concerned about Maryland's pass blocking, which has allowed 11 sacks in two games.

"Teams are going to pressure us. That's what you do against a team with an inexperienced offensive line and a first-year starter at quarterback," Vanderlinden said. "We need to spend more time working on how to block those blitz packages."

Vanderlinden had hoped to keep opposing defenses off-balance by showing option. However, quarterback Ken Mastrole struggled with the option against James Madison and Maryland showed it just once against Virginia.

"We want to run option because that would add an element to our offense that's not there. Unfortunately, that's just not what Ken does best now," Vanderlinden said.

Maryland's best option QB at this point is true freshman Randall Jones.

"I would love to give Randall a series, but when do you do it? I'm not experimenting out there. I'm trying to win," Vanderlinden said.

Vanderlinden said receiver Jermaine Arrington, the team's top deep threat, is day-to-day after suffering a sprained left ankle against Virginia. Eric Timothy is expected to start at right guard after missing the Virginia game with an ankle injury.