Terps' destiny comes with bandages, crutches

October 25, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Destiny is like the wind.

Have it with you and there's a good chance you'll be in control.

But if it is against you, be prepared to be blown off course.

The University of Maryland football team is starting to get that wind-blown look. Destiny has touched down like a tornado.

The Terrapins have been overrun with injuries. The significant ones started on Sept. 29 when quarterback Jordan Steffy was put out of the Rutgers game in the first half with a concussion. He missed the second half and the Terps' last two games.

From there, the injury whammy spread like a flu epidemic. Linemen and linebackers have been left in the wake, forcing coach Ralph Friedgen to piece a team together like a jigsaw puzzle.


"I always look at what contributes to injuries, but most of the kids have been hurt in games, not in practice," Friedgen said Tuesday in his weekly media conference.

The injury curse also claimed linebacker Erin Henderson, who injured his knee at Rutgers.

At the time, Steffy and Henderson were the most critical players for the Terps. Steffy was the only experienced quarterback the Terps had, while Henderson was the defensive leader.

Then, everything unraveled on Oct. 6 against Georgia Tech.

Right guard Andrew Crummey broke his left leg - he could be back for the Nov. 17 game at Florida State. Reserve defensive tackle Travis Ivey injured his knee, linebacker Rick Costa - who replaced Henderson - sustained a neck injury and linebacker Alex Wujciak also left with an injury to add to the list.

Finally, in Saturday's loss to Virginia, Jaimie Thomas - the Terps' other starting guard - broke his left leg, defensive end Mack Frost suffered a knee injury and fullback Cory Jackson played with a broken hand. Thomas and Frost are out for the season, while Jackson could return in two weeks after surgery.

"I've never seen so many broken bones like there have been this year. It's been our own guys hitting us," Friedgen said. "Crummey got hurt when he was hit by (Maryland tailback Keon) Lattimore."

Chris Turner will continue to start at quarterback for the Terps on Saturday in a must-win game with Clemson. Steffy started practicing again, but hasn't received medical clearance to play.

Linemen are at a premium for the Terps, who are down to five healthy, experienced players on the offensive front. All but one of the reserves are untested freshmen.

The Terps have pieced together a number of linebacker combinations, led by the return of Henderson and the emergence of David Philistin, to stay solid.

But destiny might still have a final say in Maryland's season.

The Terps enter Saturday's game with a 4-3 record, including a 1-2 mark in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Tigers also have two division losses, so the loser of the game will probably be out of contention for the title and the ACC championship game.

"It doesn't matter," Friedgen said of the injuries. "We can't change it. I don't want to bring it up anymore. We have to worry about Clemson."

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