LaMont Jordan Tries to Salvage Season Against Tigers


by - Correspondent -
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<font class=caption>LaMont Jordan rushed for 177 yards against Clemson last season.</font>
LaMont Jordan rushed for 177 yards against Clemson last season.

CLEMSON -- LaMont Jordan is trying to figure the good that can still come of this season.

He could be in the NFL. He could be away from Maryland, where no one imagined the season would start out like this.

Maryland is 2-3 and 0-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. For Jordan, the season has gone just as bad, if not worse.

Jordan has rushed for 75 yards a game against a schedule that has included Temple and Middle Tennessee. Not exactly the kind of rushing yardage people were expecting from Jordan, who was being pushed as Heisman Trophy candidate by Maryland's athletic department.

"It hasn't been going the way I thought it would personally for me or for the team," he said. "We all expected it would go better."

It should have. The offense, which returned Jordan at tailback, Calvin McCall at quarterback and three offensive linemen, should have been better than next to last in the ACC. While the defensive line underwent a complete overhaul, Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden expected to do better than last place in the conference in total defense.

"I'm really at a loss as to why we're playing so poorly on defense," said Vanderlinden.

But Jordan is the one that has to be sitting alone in his spare time wondering why it had to be this way. Jordan passed up the NFL after an outstanding junior year in which he rushed for 1,632 yards.

Jordan said he's happy that he came back to play another year for Maryland. He said it was a no-brainer - that he wasn't "prepared to play at the next level."

"Physically and mentally I don't think I was prepared," he said. "And I had unfinished business here. It wasn't that hard of a decision to make."

He knows, however, that if the season continues like it's going now that he would have been better leaving college early.

PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO
Tommy Bowden Press Conference (35:00) Keith Adams on facing Maryland Chad Carson on improvements needed against Maryland this year Terry Jolly on Maryland's Lamont Jordan Will Merritt on winning ACC offensive lineman of the week


Teams are stacking the line, forcing his McCall to beat them with the pass. Meanwhile Jordan has had few highlights to help his Heisman campaign that is all but over.

"We have six games left and you never what's going to happen in six games," he said.

Jordan rushed for 177 yards against Clemson last season. Clemson's defense is ranked No. 3 in the country in total defense and No. 8 in rushing defense. However, some have been critical of Clemson's defensive line. If Jordan is going to return to last season's form, he'll need a big day against Clemson to prove he's for real.

"I'm approaching this game like we're about to play Florida State again," he said. "Clemson has always been known for having great defenses. That's like getting ready for Florida State again or another big-time defense. You better bring your A-game."

It's likely that Jordan is challenging his teammates as well this week. He isn't completely shouldering the responsibility for Maryland's poor start. "We haven't been consistent," he said. "From the wideouts to myself. I'm trying to keep my cool. It's hard to keep your cool when you know that your team is a lot better that it's performing."

A poor performance this week will give Jordan more food for thought.

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