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Top Terp visits club

May 01, 2003|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen discovered a gem during the Terrapins' 2002 spring practices. He's hopeful a couple more turned up this year.

Friedgen was at Fountain Head Country Club on Wednesday for the Cumberland Valley Terrapin Club Spring Outing to mingle with members and talk about several aspects of the football program, including the spring practice session which ended with the Red-White scrimmage on Saturday.

Friedgen, who is entering his third season as head coach at his alma mater, said one of the things he looks for during the spring session is a breakout player, someone he wasn't necessarily expecting to make a major impact on the team.

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Last year, that player was Steve Suter, who ended up setting several NCAA punt return records in 2002.

This year, it could be Rob Abiamiri. Or it could be his brother, Paschal - both of whom Friedgen singled out with praise.

"(Rob) came out of nowhere and had a great spring at tight end," Friedgen said. "(Paschal) had caught two touchdown passes in the spring game, but he's probably still a year away as a wide receiver."

Friedgen said he runs his spring game a little different than most coaches by playing a full game, including live special teams and first units matching up against one another. He said that gives his staff the best opportunity to evaluate all the players.

In fact, he likes the spring game so much, Friedgen said he'd like to hold a similar game early in the summer practice schedule in order to see the progress his players have made in the off-season.

The Terrapins are looking to build on last year's 11-3 season, which closed with a 30-3 win over Tennessee in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2002.

"That was a big win for us because it gave us a lot of confidence," Friedgen said. "If you look at the program when we went to the Orange Bowl, that was a whole new experience for us.

"I think last year the kids were a little more used to it, and I'm hoping that game will give us the experience and the confidence to play with the Florida States of the world."

For Friedgen, that confidence makes all the difference in the world.

"If you approach each game as its own entity, have a good game plan and good focus, it's amazing what you can accomplish," Friedgen said.

Friday: Athletic Director Debbie Yow talks about Title IX.

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