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Maryland boosts security for game

October 16, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - It was one of the few times that Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen couldn't comment on questions about defense, protection and game plans.

This time, it was out of his hands. He elected to defer to the experts.

Defense, protection and game plans took on a new slant on Tuesday when Friedgen was asked about the mindset of the Terrapins and security plans for Thursday's game with Georgia Tech in light of the recent string of sniper shootings in the area.

"This is obviously tragic," Friedgen said. "I really don't know how to approach them. I know they are aware of it. We will have the utmost security. I don't know that my discussing it with them will do anything. It's something I can't control."

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University officials announced measures to beef up security for the game to add protection for players and fans because of the two-week long shooting spree which has wounded 11 people, nine fatally. The shootings, which have terrorized the metropolitan Washington area, began on Oct. 3 in Montgomery County, Md., just a few miles from the Maryland campus.

Maryland will increase the security for the game at Byrd Stadium, according to Major Paul Dillion of the school's department of safety. There will be increased police presence inside and outside the stadium and extra security patrols in the campus parking lots.

The campus police force has been on a heightened alert since Oct. 3.

"I'm not too concerned, but it has to stay in the back of everyone's head," Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson said. "There will be extra security around."

Besides the boost in security, Maryland officials were working on easing any parking problems that may stem from having the Thursday game, considering many students will still be on campus for classes.

The game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m., which will have most fans traveling to Byrd Stadium during rush hour.

Maryland sent a press release notifying area residents about the extra influx of traffic in and around the school. It also encouraged fans to try and reach the stadium from 5-6:45 p.m.

Permit spots will only be held for a limited time.

It was just another wrinkle added to a increasingly tense situation for Maryland.

It's hard but you have to keep focus. It's kind of scary being out on the field," Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien said. "If something happens, you have to be able to deal with it. If something happens, there isn't anything we can do about it. We have to go out there on Thursday night and do what we have to do."

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