Postseason review of Terps' oft-criticized season begins today


COLLEGE PARK -- The season of unfulfilled expectations has become the season under review.

University of Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger is expected to meet with head football coach Joe Krivak this morning to review the season, and evaluate the program. Geiger has said he has no timetable for ending the evaluation.

Maryland (2-9) completed its worst season since 1971 with a 20-17 loss to North Carolina State Saturday.

The dismal record came a year after Maryland went 6-5-1 and tied Louisiana Tech, 34-34, in the Poulan/Weed Eater Independence Bowl. It was Maryland's only winning season under Krivak, who has a 20-34-2 record in five years at Maryland.

Krivak, 56, who has been criticized by alumni and supporters this season, was given a four-year contract worth $94,000 per year at the end of the regular season a year ago when Maryland upset Virginia, 35-30, to earn a bowl bid.

It seems as if the meeting between Krivak and Geiger is more intent on discussing the problems within the program instead of Krivak's status for next season. Geiger has said he is 95 percent certain that Krivak will be retained for the 1992 season and Krivak has said he wants to remain as coach.

But Geiger has left open the possibility of Krivak's not being retained, and has said today's meeting is more than the usual postseason evaluation.

Geiger declined to comment yesterday, but last Tuesday said: "I will ask for his suggestions and recommendations for change, what he seesas problems, and I will have some of my own."

"I think this evaluation will be extraordinary," said Geiger, who said he also will interview players, assistant coaches and trainers connected with the program. "We always do this after the season, but because of where the program is now compared to a year ago, we have to go over all the things that have happened. As the athletic director, I have a responsibility to the program to get answers."

Maryland started the season off strong, beating Virginia, 17-6, and losing a close, 31-17, decision to Syracuse. But the Terps were routed by West Virginia, 37-7, in game No. 3 and Maryland never seemed to recover even though the Terps only lost to Pittsburgh, 24-20, in the next game two weeks later.

The most crushing blow came in a 34-10 loss to Georgia Tech in the fifth game when the Terps lost leading rusher Mark Mason (452 yards, 82 rushes) for the season. Mason, then the ACC's leader in all-purpose yards, suffered a broken leg in the first half.

It was one of the many injuries Maryland suffered this season. The Terps had lost two starters, offensive tackle Steve Ingram (broken leg) and cornerback Scott Rosen (hamstring and back problems) for the season in the Virginia game, and later lost starting guard Kevin Arline (knee) for the season in mid-October. Maryland also had three defensive starters declared academically ineligible for the last three games.

"Once you look at our season, the key was injuries," said sophomore H-back Frank Wycheck. "Next year, we're going to get some of those key people back, and I think we're going to be all right."

During the final four games,Maryland was outscored, 131-31, in lopsided losses to North Carolina, Penn State and Clemson.

Before Saturday's loss to N.C. State, Maryland was ranked last in the conference in total offense, averaging 269 yards per game, and last in total defense, averaging 413.2.

The yardage allowed by the defense was surprising, considering that Maryland started five seniors on its front seven. The Terps will need to patch up the defense because they will lose a total of six starters, and another four on offense. Maryland's most pressing needs are defensive backs and defensive linemen. Krivak, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, has indicated he might go to junior colleges for immediate help.

Maryland should be strong offensively with four starting linemen returning. The Terps should be loaded at running back with redshirt freshman Doug Burnett; Mason, a sophomore; and true freshmen Larry Washington and Raphael Wall.

Again, a big question will be at quarterback. The leading candidates are junior John Kaleo, redshirt freshman Tony Scarpino and true freshmen Scott Milanovich and Tom Marchese. It will be the third year Maryland has to begin a season without a proven starter. Kaleo, though, did start against West Virginia for the injured Jim Sandwisch.

Can we talk

Areas to be discussed by Maryland coach Joe Krivak and athletic director Andy Geiger:

* ACADEMICS: Krivak and Geiger were disturbed that three players were declared academically ineligible for the remainder of the season before the ninth game, against Penn State. The policy probably will be reviewed by the athletic department.

* ASSISTANT COACHES: Maryland was outscored, 58-13, in the third quarter this season, again raising questions about halftime adjustments. Assistant coaches have one-year contracts at Maryland. Geiger might ask for some of the assistants to be dismissed.

* INJURIES: Maryland lost five players for most of the season with injuries. Geiger will inquire into the team's stretching and weightlifting programs.

* MOTIVATION: Maryland did not play well after losing to West Virginia, 37-7, in the third game of the season. During the Krivak era, the Terps have not played well in the second halves of seasons. The Terps were routed this season in three of the last four games.

* QUARTERBACK: Krivak stuck with senior Jim Sandwisch, who was inconsistent for most of the season. Krivak talked about using freshman Scott Milanovich, but never did. It left Maryland with two promising young quarterbacks, Milanowich and fellow freshman Tom Marchese, but it left both of them in the same class.

* SPECIAL ADMISSIONS: Maryland allows for eight to 10 a year, well below those of the teams it competes against. The policy started in 1986. Even with eight to 10, Maryland theoretically should have about 40 impact players on the roster every year. This was not the case this season.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad