COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland quarterback controversy quieted yesterday.
The media gang that attended coach Mark Duffner's announcement of a starter a week earlier dwindled considerably, but there weren't that many opportunities for sound-bites anyway, since both Scott Milanovich and Brian Cummings declined interview requests.
Cummings, a redshirt sophomore, started as Maryland (4-1, 2-1) raced to its best start in 17 years, but Milanovich got the call Thursday at Georgia Tech, when he returned from a four-game gambling suspension and the Terps were drubbed, 31-3.
Milanovich will start Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference game Wake Forest (1-4, 0-2). That decision was announced Sunday. Asked if he did so then to avoid another media frenzy, Duffner said no, but later admitted that preoccupation with the matter was affecting his team.
"Everyone has thoughts on it," Duffner said. "I'm trying to get this team ready to play, and it doesn't help."
Cummings came out of the Sept. 23 win over Duke with a bruised shoulder in his throwing arm and a broken sesamoid bone in his right foot, and Milanovich went the whole way at Georgia Tech. Duffner said that Cummings will have a bigger role in the practice plan this week, and that he would probably run the short-yardage offense. When Milanovich struggled a year ago at West Virginia, Duffner didn't hesitate to bring in his second-teamer.
The Terps are two-touchdown favorites to beat Wake Forest, but they were embarrassed by the nationally-televised loss at Georgia Tech.
"We had beaten some pretty good teams," linebacker Ratcliff Thomas said. "We assumed that we would run right through Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, and then get ready for Clemson. It's a big letdown, but we can still be 5-1. After the last couple of years, we would have felt pretty darned good if you had told us two months ago we'd be in this position."
Slot receiver Geroy Simon said the Terps "weren't ready for the game," at Georgia Tech, because Maryland had four days to prepare, compared to 11 for the Yellow Jackets. Still, it's a disparity Maryland will face again.
After Wake Forest, the Terps meet Clemson Oct. 21, and both teams will have two weeks to prepare. Maryland's two games after that are at Louisville and N.C. State, and both will have an extra week to get ready for Maryland.
Lewis making gains
Outside receiver Jermaine Lewis, who missed the opener on a gambling suspension, has been superb thus far, turning 30 catches into 524 yards. The senior from Greenbelt has 157 career catches, and if he maintains his average of six per game, he would finish with 193, which would break the ACC record of 189 set by Duke's Clarkston Hines from 1986-89.
Lewis has already received an invitation to play in the Hula Bowl, but is hoping to work his way up to the Senior Bowl, the premier all-star game.
Terrence Suber, a junior from City, starts for Wake Forest at free safety, and the backup there is DaLawn Parrish, a freshman from Howard. . . . Demon Deacons coach Jim Caldwell has been forced to play several true freshmen, but none have played for the Terps. . . . Sophomore Kendrick Walton, who started the Tulane game in Lewis' absence, probably will miss the rest of the season with a groin injury. Maryland can apply to the NCAA for Walton to receive an extra year of eligibility. . . . Fewer than 10,000 tickets remain for the Clemson game.