Terps do all the talking for McBrien

October 03, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Scott McBrien is the talk of the town.

McBrien has been the major topic of conversation this week as Maryland's quarterback will lead the Terrapins into Morgantown, W.Va., to face his former team, West Virginia University, in the renewal of the two school's border war.

Everybody's talking about it. And that's about the only way people are going to find out anything about this phase of the 40th meeting between the two teams ... by listening to what everyone is talking about.

That's because McBrien isn't talking about it this week.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has his quarterback under lock and key, trying to help McBrien avoid the endless stream of questions about playing against the school he transferred from last year.


"I'm not letting Scott talk to the media this week," Friedgen said Tuesday during his weekly media conference. "I'm worried about Scott getting on the game plan and focusing on it."

Members of the media tried to coax McBrien into talking about the West Virginia game last week when he was on hand to talk about the Wofford game. He said he was trying to play one game at a time, but admitted that he had thought ahead about playing the Mountaineers a little.

Now, McBrien's Maryland teammates are translating his feelings.

"Scott is a big competitor and will be up for the game," Maryland offensive guard Todd Wike said. "It will be big for him, coming back to where he used to play. He is relishing the chance to go back there and play. He's anxious."

McBrien, a DeMatha graduate, decided to switch to Maryland after seeing action in 10 games in 2000 - including one start - as a redshirt freshman. He hit on 42 of 99 passes for 755 yards and three touchdowns while throwing three interceptions.

He played the final three quarters against Notre Dame in relief of Brad Lewis and threw for 252 yards and a touchdown. McBrien's only start was at Syracuse, where he hit on 8 of 21 passes for 156 yards and two interceptions.

After sitting out last year because of the transfer, McBrien battled and won the Maryland job this fall but is still struggling with the concepts of Friedgen's complex offense.

In McBrien's defense, he has been forced to play without the help of tailback Bruce Perry, the Atlantic Coast Conference's Offensive Player of the Year, who has been sidelined by injury for the first half of the season and probably will not play on Saturday.

Still, the concept of going against all your old friends piques some interest.

"It's not his hometown, but it's like going back home to play for him," said Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson. "It's where he started learning how to be a quarterback and then he came here. He's looking forward to going back and wants to do well."

McBrien's problem will be to separate the emotions of trying to show up the Mountaineers while trying to effectively run Maryland's offense. And that has to happen before 60,000 WVU fans who will remind McBrien of his decision to leave Morgantown.

"My father always told me, 'When they don't talk about you, worry about it,'" Friedgen said. "I like that. Unless they do something illegal, the people in the stands aren't going to hurt him. When they talk about you, that's the biggest form of flattery."

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