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McBrien has been there, done that

December 31, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -It's a good thing for Scott McBrien that he doesn't hold a grudge.

If he did, the University of Maryland's quarterback might be turning green and ripping out of his No. 7 jersey about now.

Here it is. His last game as a college player is coming up at the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla. And instead of the questions revolving around how he wants to go out, they revolve around the feelings about the Terrapins' opponent - West Virginia.

That's right. The same WVU he transferred away from three years ago. The same WVU he has faced in the last two seasons and engineered two wins by a total score of 82-24.

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And it's the same WVU that didn't give McBrien any chance to play, forcing him to come home to play at Maryland. It's time for pent-up anger to flow ... again.

Right?

"I can see if this is the first time," McBrien said. "There is always a little extra when you are playing your old team. But it's the third time.

We've done this twice already."

That's right, fans. Been there. Done that ... twice.

McBrien graciously sat on the firing line for another battery of questions about his feelings for playing WVU - again - on Dec. 8. He answered them all - again and repeatedly - for the last time.

Hey, media. If you weren't present for the last two acts which almost has more play than the opening scene of Cats, don't come around looking reopen the discussion.

That's because Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen is allowing his quarterback to go underground to avoid going through the monotony all again. McBrien is not scheduled to talk to the media about this subject again until after the game.

"I would rather you guys put the onus on me than to put Scott in a tough situation again," Friedgen said. "I don't want to have Scott bombarded with questions about it. Today (Dec. 8) we are going to open it up. After that, he won't be talking to the press. After that, you can write all the nasty things you want about me."

McBrien has been able to to it all against his former school, both times in games that turned Maryland's season around.

Last year, the Terps limped into Morgantown, W.Va., with a (2-2) record and struggling for an identity. McBrien led Maryland to 28 first-quarter points.

He threw for a tidy 162 yards and a touchdown while running for another score as Maryland dominated the game.

It was much the same this season. Maryland was reeling after two season-opening losses and was 1-2 entering the matchup with the Mountaineers. The

Terps scored the first 34 points of the game as McBrien threw for 220 yards and a touchdown on Sept. 20.

"I was able to work on the field," McBrien said. "The success I had against them is weird, but it's the way it worked out."

The second WVU victory helped put McBrien back on track as high-level a quarterback in Friedgen's eyes. The third-year coach had high praise for McBrien as the season open for the way he had mastered the Terps' complex offense.

But the self-inflicted pressure to be perfect, coupled with a pulled groin injury that has nagged him for the entire season, forced McBrien off to a slow start because of his limited mobility.

The problems were compounded on Oct. 23 when he suffered a concussion during the 7-3 loss to Georgia Tech.

"I got off to a tough start because of the groin injury," McBrien said. "It's something I have had the entire year, but I have had to put it out of my mind. It has been nagging and then I got the concussion."

Both Friedgen and McBrien have found ways to work around the lingering effects of the injury to raise the quarterback's confidence and efficiency - both to the coach's liking.

"I think I'm playing well right now," McBrien said. "Coach says I'm playing up to my potential ... that's a great compliment coming from him. I just hope I'm able to continue doing it."

If McBrien can in one last game, it will be in a win against his old college ... for the third time.

Just how he's getting ready for it, nobody will know until it's over.

Until then, monks are less secluded than Scott McBrien has been for the last month ... but it's not like he minds it.

"It worked the past two times," he said.

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