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Terps have put in time, preparation for Navy

9/2/2010

Maryland ranked No. 100 in the country last year in scoring defense, allowing 31.25 points per game. Navy averaged 28 points per game. The Midshipmen had the No. 4 rushing offense in the country, with 280.5 yards per game. The Terps allowed 150.83.

Those within the program said it's a good thing they had all summer to prepare for Monday's season opener against Navy.

"I don't think we could have been able to only have a week to prepare for a team with the things that they do offensively," senior defensive back Antwine Perez said. "I think having this time in the summer and playing them our first game is good because we've really had a lot of time to prepare."

They also had a lot of time to reflect on last year's 2-10 season and try and correct their mistakes. The Terps are 6-3 in their openers under coach Ralph Friedgen, but there is an added sense of urgency to this one, as Friedgen's job status is tenuous. There's not a lot of margin for error if Maryland is going to get to a bowl game.

Maryland has spent a majority of the summer preparing for the Midshipmen without a ball, in order to help simulate the speed they'll see on Saturday.

"It is very difficult to defend," Friedgen said. "The more we look at it the more you have to play the 'what ifs.' They're very adept at knowing if you stop this, they dish it and open it up. To match the speed they are going to run is one of the reasons we practiced without the ball. Our scout team can function a whole lot better if they can just run the plays. We added the ball yesterday because we were worried about our guys over running things and playing too fast. I think we have a good plan. It is all in how well we execute and how disciplined we are. I think you have to be very disciplined and play your responsibility. Defensively guys usually just want to run to the ball and not have to think, just react, and this offense makes you take care of your responsibilities."

Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs rushed for 1,203 yards last year, passed for 1,031, and scored 33 touchdowns. The Midshipmen return five of their their top six rushers from last year's 10-4 team.

"It's a challenge," linebacker Alex Wujciak said. "I think it helps that we're playing them the first game of the year so we can prepare for longer stretches of time, but it's going to be a challenge for our defense. Coach [Don] Brown has been a great defensive coordinator. He's played them in the past and has had some success so hopefully we can continue that."