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Maryland needs to speak up in order to 'D' up

September 11, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Jeff Allen is quiet, mild-mannered and engaging.

The perfect interview.

That elegant demeanor is great for sound bites, but it loses something in the translation when you are a starting defensive back. On the field is where you need to pump up the volume.

Instead, it was more like a careless whisper for the University of Maryland defense during last Saturday's 24-14 loss to Middle Tennessee State. The Terps didn't use the opportunity to give themselves something to talk about.

"We have some communication issues," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said at Maryland's weekly media conference. "When (Middle Tennessee) was running their no-huddle offense, the defense was looking over for the play to be signaled in. There was no time to get it in."

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And when the signal made it to the field in time, it took too much time for the Terps' defense to get on the same page.

The easiest remedy is to get the 11 players on the field to speak up.

"We have some great kids, but some of them are introverts," Friedgen said.

Allen admits he is one of those quiet rioters on Maryland's defense. Being loud isn't in his usual nature, but it's a characteristic he needs to pick up on as a safety who plays in the middle of the secondary. His job is to make sure the rest of the backs know what they are supposed to be doing.

"Coach (Friedgen) came over to talk to me about that," Allen said. "He told me that I have to work on (being vocal). We started working on it at (Monday's) practice. We have been talking about signaling each other. We got to get everyone to know every call."

Allen said it wasn't as much a case of Maryland bowing to Middle Tennessee's no-huddle attack as it was the Terps' inability to get in the proper set. For a few calls, some of the outside perimeter players didn't know what Maryland was running.

"I'm going to get a little better at it," Allen said. "When I get on the field, I have to think about getting louder and more vocal. As a safety, I have to."

Communication on defense will be crucial on Saturday when Maryland faces No. 23-ranked California. The Golden Bears have displayed a high-powered offense built primarily around running back Jahvid Best. Best is used as a runner and receiver as California looks for matchups for him to exploit.

The Terps need to be at their chatty best to cope with Best.

"We have to learn from our mistakes," Allen said. "We are learning about our communication and we have to go on."

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