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Moyseenko earns his badges

October 24, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Mike Moyseenko is a good scout.

That's the South Hagerstown graduate's claim to fame at the University of Maryland as he earns his own brand of merit badges with the Terrapins football team.

Moyseenko has gone from walk-on to lower-string quarterback running the scout-team offense at Maryland football practices. It isn't work on the frontline, but it is a foundation for many other outlets for the sophomore.

"The excitement of it all hasn't worn off, but I do feel more comfortable," Moyseenko said. "I feel like one of the guys."

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The feeling translates into more responsibility for Moyseenko, who spent all of last season dressing for games as a reward for his work as a walk-on. Now, he joins in on the sideline quarterback strategy with coach Ralph Friedgen and quarterbacks Joel Statham and Jordan Steffy.

Those conferences give Moyseenko a taste of the action, knowing full well that it would take a rash of injuries to put him under center in a game. He practices in hopes of that day coming, but knows his contributions are coming in other ways.

"Over the (off-season), I learned the offense and I have spent a couple of games signaling in plays," he said. "I have been the decoy, but I'm more involved in the game. My most promising chance to play is as a holder on kicks, where I am on third string."

Moyseenko said the Terps have been trying to keep the same holder - punter Adam Podlesh - for kicker Nick Novak because he's going for the NCAA all-time scoring record.

In that case, being left to hold the ball isn't a bad thing for Moyseenko. But his biggest contribution is during practice, where he masquerades as the opposing quarterback to give the Maryland defense a read of the offense it will face on the coming Saturday.

All are great steps for Moyseenko, who is defining his future with the help of football.

"I've learned so much about the game in the last couple of years," Moyseenko said. "I've learned so much about myself. I spent the off-season going through all the workouts and weight training with the team and I am accepted now."

Moyseenko is gaining knowledge by the day working with the Terps this season. Since Statham was an untested redshirt sophomore and Steffy is a true freshman, Friedgen has simplified the offense for his top two quarterbacks to learn. It allows Moyseenko to learn at the same speed as the rest of the quarterbacks.

It also allows him to help in the preparation for games.

"I think they respect me now," Moyseenko said. "I get to watch the films of the game and help break things down. If I see something, I can speak up and they seem to listen to what I have seen."

No matter what lies ahead, Moyseenko says he knows just working on the fringes of the Maryland program will help him in many ways.

"I hope to stay with this all through school, but academics will have a lot to say about it," he said. "I think working with the team has helped me with my discipline, organization and time management. I see being on this team as helping me down the road."

But for now, Mike Moyseenko does all the work in hopes of sometime playing, even if it is just holding the ball on a kick some day.

"I'll be honest. I don't have too many expectations, but in some ways I do," he said. "I'm going to work hard just in case I get my chance. I learn a lot about myself every day."

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