Are you in or are you out? Those words were repeated over and over
by first-year coach Ralph Friedgen during the Terrapins' 2001
season, which culminated in their first ACC title in 16 years.
Last February, as word got out that Friedgen was up for an NFL
job, the Terps turned the tables. When Friedgen arrived for a
5:45 a.m. workout, he found players waiting for him. Junior
cornerback Dennard Wilson asked, "Are you in or are you out?"
Friedgen's decision was clear. "I'm in," he said. "Let's get to
work." He and his players then turned to the task of proving that
Maryland's third winning season in 14 years was no fluke. "Last
year the kids made a commitment to me," says Friedgen, "and I
realized it was my turn. We've got plenty left to do. This
program has not yet arrived."
One Terrapin who arrived was junior tailback Bruce Perry, the
ACC's top rusher (1,242 yards) and offensive player of the year.
The 5'9" 196-pounder has 4.46 speed (he often quotes Jay-Z as he
dances past defenders, telling them, "Come and get me if you want
me") and sure hands (his 359 receiving yards were third most on
the team). Maryland will rely heavily on him while it breaks in a
new quarterback. Sophomore Chris Kelley, who tore his right ACL
in April, may be ready midway through the season, but until then
transfers Scott McBrien, who had one career start for West
Virginia, and Orlando Evans, who threw for 2,391 yards and 28
touchdowns at City College of San Francisco, will vie for the
The defense showcases Butkus Award finalist E.J. Henderson (103
solo tackles) at linebacker, but with only five returning
starters, it's inexperienced. Says coordinator Gary Blackney,
"Some of these guys are going to have to learn quickly." They
won't have much time: Maryland opens against Notre Dame on Aug.
31 and two weeks later plays Florida State at home. "Last year
everything was new to us," says Perry. "Now we know what it takes
to show that this program is here to stay." --Albert Chen
COLOR PHOTO: TED RICHARDSON/WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL/AP FEAR THE TURTLE The diminutive but dangerous Perry, the reigning ACC rushing champ, has the skills to back up his swagger.
2001 RECORD: 10-2 (7-1, 1st in ACC)
FINAL RANKING: No. 11 AP, No. 10 coaches' poll
Points scored in the 2001 regular season, bettering the
Terrapins' previous record for an 11-game season of 353, set in
An opposing coach's view
Against the Terrapins, job No. 1 is to handle Henderson
"You scheme to try and stop E.J. Henderson. He's accounted for in
your protection. But he's likely to run right over your blocker.
A lot of their blitzes are set up for linebackers Leon Joe and
Henderson.... Tailback Bruce Perry is a physical runner who can
also make you miss. The question is at quarterback, but coach
Ralph Friedgen did a great job getting Shaun Hill to manage the
game last year. It was phenomenal that he could teach his system
and get them to execute it in one year."
Aug. 31 NOTRE DAME*
Sept. 7 AKRON
14 FLORIDA STATE
21 EASTERN MICHIGAN
Oct. 5 at West Virginia
17 GEORGIA TECH
29 at Duke
Nov. 2 at North Carolina
9 NO. CAROLINA STATE
16 at Clemson
23 at Virginia
30 WAKE FOREST
*at East Rutherford, N.J.