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Vanderlinden 'suspects' both QBs will play

September 22, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Ron Vanderlinden doesn't usually pull any punches.

On Monday, the Maryland football coach loaded up with an announcement that should have been considered a knockout blow. Still, he couldn't pass up the chance of setting it all up with a playful jab.

"I'm sure everyone here is wondering what I'm going to do on Saturday when offensive lineman Eric Timothy is ready to return to the lineup," Vanderlinden teased to open his weekly media luncheon.

The coach let down his guard by leading with his right guard. Linemen were well down the line of importance, especially when a decision on which quarterback - junior starter Ken Mastrole or freshman backup Randall Jones - would lead the Terrapins Saturday against Temple.

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Jones, the freshman from Thomas Johnson High in Frederick, Md., came on in relief of Mastrole midway in the third quarter Saturday during the Terps' 42-20 loss to West Virginia and performed effectively against the Mountaineers' second string defense.

Vanderlinden put up his defense on questions surrounding the quarterback situation.

''We're not making a decision just yet. We're going to think this thing through carefully,'' Vanderlinden said. ''I would suspect both will play. We'll wait and see what happens in practice before naming the starter.''

Jones accounted for 192 of Maryland's 262 yards of total offense and three scoring drives. Mastrole was held to one yard rushing and 27 yards passing. Jones' outing did raise some eyebrows though, especially since he was recruited by Maryland as a safety.

''I was impressed with Randall's performance. He made some things happen and demonstrated he could play at this level,'' Vanderlinden said. ''Randall has earned more practice time and the right to be considered in the game plan. At the same time, I still have complete confidence in Ken.''

Temple might be the perfect opponent for whomever starts at quarterback. The Owls (0-3) are struggling to establish their game under new coach Bobby Wallace. It will be Mastrole's last chance to gain efficiency or Jones to get his feet wet before the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule hits full stride on Oct. 3 against Florida State.

Whoever starts will dictate Maryland's overall style of play. Mastrole is more of a drop-back passer, while Jones is better at the option style of play. Vanderlinden wants his quarterback to be a combination of both.

"When you play a young player, he makes mistakes and it's all part of the growing pains of a young quarterback," Vanderlinden said. "We don't want to change who we are in our attack. We started to run the option to take advantage of some things in the ACC defenses. We are not a total option team. We are looking for someone to be like Aaron Brooks (Virginia's quarterback). We're not anxious to make any moves to change radically."

The key will be which quarterback can get Maryland into the end zone. The Terps have 10 drives of more than 60 yards and eight that have lasted nine or more plays, but only 62 points to show for the effort.

"We have to find a way to score one or two easy ones," Vanderlinden said. "We have to find a playmaker. We had our opportunities (against WVU), but we didn't take advantage of them. If we were able to make a few plays, things may have changed dramatically."

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