'Ordinary' Page has tackled Terps duties with vengeance


COLLEGE PARK -- One of the delights about Glenn Page is this: The Maryland senior linebacker knows himself.

At 6 feet 1, 235 pounds, he is not the biggest Terps linebacker. He is not the strongest or the fastest. He certainly is not the best athlete in linebackers coach George Foussekis' gang of bullies.

All Page does is make tackles -- a lot of them. He led the team in tackles last year despite playing most of the season with broken bones in his hands, and is the runaway leader now, with 43 in three games to 25 for runner-up Jack Bradford.

How does he do it?

Hear this from coach Joe Krivak: "Very intense. He concentrates. A tough, physical kid."

And this from Foussekis: "He's not the most gifted athlete, but he makes up for it with desire. Being good means a lot to him."

Almost as if he were parroting Krivak and Foussekis, Page offered this on himself: "I have good intensity and concentration. I'm not the biggest and fastest, but I compensate for that. I'm a hard worker."

The coaches learned something else about Page last season. He plays hurt.

When Scott Whittier was shelved for the season with a bad back, Page celebrated his promotion to a starting job by making 11 tackles in the opener against North Carolina State. He also broke his left thumb.

The following week in practice, he dislocated his left ring finger. In the fifth game, against Michigan, he wrecked the ligaments in the same finger. A week later, against Georgia Tech, he shattered a knuckle on his right hand.

"It was hard to push off blocks," Page said as he prepared for Saturday's game here against North Carolina State. "The worst thing was the thumb. I couldn't grab a jersey or punch anybody. You do so much with your thumb."

When the season ended, Page hadn't missed a down because of his injuries.

"After the season, they took X-rays and said I also had a broken left middle finger and a broken right pinkie," Page said. "I didn't even know it."

Through the first three games, Foussekis has rotated five players at the two inside linebacker spots -- Page, Whittier, Dave Marrone, Mike Jarmolowich and Louis Johnson.

"They can all play, and this keeps them fresh," Foussekis said. "So Page is making all these tackles even though he's only playing 65 percent of the time."

Page and the rest of the defenders played their usual strong game in last week's 18-17 loss to Clemson. Recalling that they had been slaughtered by the Tigers in each of the previous three meetings, the Terps came out of this one with a hefty regard for their own worth.

"This is a good football team," Page said slowly and with emphasis. "Usually Clemson's offense rolls over us, but our defensive line dominated them. If we only had those two plays back -- the safety and the kickoff return for a touchdown. We just have to cut down on mistakes. We'll build on this."

* Barry Jones was named Atlantic Coast Conference receiver of the week for the second straight game after catching four passes for 90 yards.

* A major reason the Clemson game crowd (39,255) was so disappointing was the poor student turnout. Students are allotted 12,000 tickets; only 5,000 were picked up.

* Terps back Frank Wycheck is seventh in the country in receptions with 26 . . . Quarterback Scott Zolak is 11th in total offense with 273 yards a game. Zolak's 882 passing yards represent the highest three-game total in school history, breaking Dan Henning's 1986 record of 869 . . . Maryland is ninth in the nation in passing with an average of 294 yards.

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