Terps Defense Will Test Tigers

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - When Ralph Friedgen left Georgia Tech for Maryland, he took his considerable reputation as an offensive genius with him.

Long thought of as one of the best offensive minds in football, Friedgen's complex combination of run, pass and option had the Yellow Jackets offense in high gear during his tenure as offensive coordinator.

But the true measure of his genius may be the way he turned Maryland into a defensive-minded team in this, his first season as head coach. The Terrapins are allowing just 19 points per game and have forced an astounding 25 turnovers through nine games, which explains in part their 8-1 record (5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

However, the defensive success has little to do with personnel, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. Most of the players on the field now were part of a decent Maryland defense a year ago. The Terps scheme is solid, but the most noticeable change seems to come in the areas of emotion and attitude.

"When you come in (as a new head coach) there's new enthusiasm and new emotion," Bowden said. "The guys have new life. You have to have emotion on offense, too, but on offense it seems more controlled chaos and defense more uncontrolled chaos.

"It's that new attitude he brings. You win some games, the kids get confidence...there's no doubt they're playing with more emotion."

One area the Terps have been vulnerable is through the air, where they allow 239 yards per game. But rushing defense is another matter entirely.

Maryland allows just 92 yards per game on the ground, which will pit their strength against the the running prowess of Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler. Dantzler averages 92 yards rushing per game on his own.

"Their scheme is very sound," Bowden said. "But I think it's more of the attitude. It's really good, too."


- Derrick Hamilton appears to be in good shape for Saturday's game at Maryland.

Hamilton, who missed practice Monday and Tuesday with a sprained ankle suffered against Florida State, was back on the field Wednesday and appeared to be running without problem.

The same can't be said for wide receiver Jackie Robinson, whose pulled groin could keep him from playing at Maryland. He has yet to practice this week.

"I wouldn't think Jackie could play," Bowden said. "He really couldn't do anything (Wednesday)."

Ben Hall (sprained shoulder) went through certain drills Wednesday, but had no contact. He and fellow tight end Morgan Woodward (ribs) are both questionable for Saturday.

- Bowden said Wednesday that Hamilton has Rod Gardner-type potential. Not only in ability, but in size.

Hamilton, listed at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, likely will put on as much as 30 additional pounds by the time his career in completed three years from now.

"I'm sure Rod, his redshirt freshman year, was probably about the same (as Hamilton)," Bowden said. "He played (as a senior) at either 203 or 213, one of the two. He'll probably play next year at 200, his junior year at 205 and his senior year at 210. It's a natural progression. I wouldn't want him 210 next year."

- Bernard Rambert's rise up the depth chart at running back has nothing to do with Travis Zachery's performance, Bowden said.

The two are expected to split time at running back Saturday.

"Nothing's really changed between (Zachery) and Bernard, other than the fact that I've finally done what should have been done a long time ago," Bowden said. "Other teams play their second team running back quite a bit, and I haven't done a good job of that."

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