'Ziz' sees quick turnaround for Terps under Duffner

Even though Maryland won only two football games last year (over Virginia and Wake Forest), there is reason to believe the Terps will soon scale the heights.

At least that's the feeling of former Maryland star Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof, who has seen his alma mater in the best of times and the worst of times.


Ziz, as he is known to all, holds the school record for most consecutive games catching a pass (25 from 1984 to 1986). He played on two Atlantic Coast Conference championship teams and went to two bowls under coach Bobby Ross.

Now, as Maryland opens a new era under coach Mark Duffner Saturday (7 p.m.) at Virginia, Ziz begins his second season as Johnny Holliday's color man on Maryland football's radio network. Which means he had a close-up view of last year's disappointments.


"I don't think it'll take any miracles for Maryland to win again," Ziz says. "All we need is for Mark Duffner's group to bring to Maryland what it had at Holy Cross."

In the past six years at Holy Cross, Duffner and his assistants -- five of whom have come to College Park -- won 92 percent of their games. Their record: 60-5-1.

"We've won before at Maryland under Coach [Bobby] Ross," Ziz says. "That proves it can be done here."

At Holy Cross, Duffner turned things around quickly. He inherited a 4-6-1 team. In his first year he had a 10-1 record and Holy Cross had the top Division I-AA program in the East.

My own feeling, especially after taking a look at this year's squad, is that the turnaround will not come nearly so quickly here. I think Duffner needs two more good recruiting years first.

* When the NFL season opens Sunday there will be nine new head coaches. Three have local backgrounds:

Bobby Ross, now at San Diego; Ted Marchibroda, who coached the Colts in Baltimore and now takes over once more for Bob Irsay, this time in Indianapolis; and Don Shula's son, David, at Cincinnati. Dartmouth grad David Shula was born here when his father was coaching the Colts. David also spent a short time as a player with the Baltimore Colts, specializing in catching punts.

The other new NFL coaches are Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh; Dennis Green, Minnesota; Mike Holmgren, Green Bay; Tom Flores, Seattle; Chuck Knox, Rams; and Sam Wyche, Tampa Bay.


* I know of no bigger Oriole fan than Herbie Greenberg, concertmaster and violinist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Before coming to Baltimore, Greenberg was assistant concertmaster with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Andre Previn. When I mentioned Previn's former wife, Mia Farrow, and Woody Allen to Greenberg, he said:

"Why are people so interested in that? Why don't they worry about something really important like baseball?"

* Pikesville's Elise Burgin comes across well as a commentator on USA Network's telecasts of the U.S. Open, which shouldn't surprise anyone. The Stanford-educated Burgin is bright and articulate and has played the pro tennis tour for years.

* Bill Gaertner, of Lutherville's Baseline Software, was once assistant coach for Jim Valvano at Iona. He visited the cancer-stricken former North Carolina State coach at his home in Raleigh, N.C., this week. Despite his illness, Valvano, 46, has managed to keep his sense of humor. He told Gaertner:

"I think I can beat the cancer, but they've shot me so full of drugs I'm afraid I'll end up in the Betty Ford Clinic."