COLLEGE PARK -- The rain was pouring, but it was still a fiery football scrimmage at Maryland two weeks ago when offensive lineman Brad Messina and defensive tackle Ramon Olivares carried their aggression beyond the whistle.
In rapid order, both were yanked from the scrimmage and interior defensive line coach Rubin Carter had Olivares down on the artificial turf practice field, where he cranked out some push-ups.
"You have no right to retaliate," the former Denver Broncos star bellowed. "Retaliation costs 15 yards and that's selfish. There's no room for that here."
Every Maryland player has received a similar dose of aggressive counseling during the Terps' first spring practice under coach Ron Vanderlinden. Hired to reverse more than a decade of mediocre football, Vanderlinden will conduct a Red-White game at Byrd Stadium tomorrow (3 p.m.) that will typify the past month.
In last year's spring game, then-coach Mark Duffner had first-teamers play together, and second-teamers do the same. Vanderlinden split up his starters and substitutes, pretty much what he has done this spring, when returning starters took turns on the scout team, and walk-ons got a chance with the first team.
"What that meant to me was that they don't want any individual bigger than the team," said quarterback Brian Cummings, who played an integral part in nine of Maryland's 11 wins over the last two seasons. "I was out there fighting for a position like everyone else."
Since being hired last December, Vanderlinden has shaken up nearly everything about the Terps, from the offense to the 7 a.m. study halls to the media guide.
"I heard that in the past, there had been a little bit of the star system at Maryland," Vanderlinden said. "In the media guide this year, you won't see any featured players. We need to develop a team dynamic."
Considering that Maryland lost half of its starters, the publication will be a must read. As expected, Cummings is the No. 1 quarterback, but the surprises include Peter Timmins at fullback.
One week into spring practice, Timmins moved over from linebacker, and worked his way to the top of the depth chart. Fullback is a critical position on a unit that struggled mightily over the past two seasons.
There will also be new starters at center and both wide receiver spots, but the backfield will have a familiar look. A slimmed-down Buddy Rodgers is running No. 1 at tailback, while Cummings' experience gave him the edge over Ken Mastrole.
"Brian Cummings is good enough for us to win with," Vanderlinden said. "Ken Mastrole will be."
The offensive line must improve, but it was hampered by injuries, as tight end Josh Hough was sidelined by a knee injury in the first week of practice, and right tackle John Feugill broke a bone in his foot three days ago.
Shawn Forte was in the mix at safety until he broke a leg last week. The secondary will have four new starters, and it's a major concern, but Maryland's defense hasn't been this strong up front since the mid-1980s.
Tailback Damone Boone got a late start in practice, but a lingering hamstring pull is not his biggest worry. Boone missed all of last season with the exception of one play in the second game, which will cost him a year's eligibility unless Maryland gets a favorable ruling on its appeal to the NCAA.
"Not to blame anybody, but that was irresponsible," Vanderlinden said of Boone's appearance against Alabama-Birmingham. "The NCAA hasn't always shown a lot of common sense, but we're going to appeal the fact that it was mismanaged."
There is no admission charge for the Red-White game. The winners get a steak dinner Monday night, while the losers will serve it, then dine on hot dogs and beans.
Terps depth chart
QB: Brian Cummings, Sr., 5-11, 195
Ken Mastrole, So. 6-4, 232
TB: Buddy Rodgers, Sr., 5-11, 230
Brian Underwood, Sr., 6-2, 197
Harold Westley, So., 5-7, 166
FB: Peter Timmins, So., 6-3, 227
Kenny Rogers, So., 5-9, 198
WR: Bruce James, Jr., 5-8, 170
Kendrick Walton, Jr., 6-3, 181
WR: Moises Cruz, Fr., 5-11, 179
Omar Cheeseboro, Fr., 6-2, 184
LT: Darryl Gilliam, Sr., 6-5, 321
Ryan Rezzelle, Jr., 6-6, 310
LG: Mitch Watkins, Sr., 6-2, 283
Eric Timothy, So., 6-3, 295
C: Vince Xanthos, So., 6-4, 295
Ben Thomas, So., 6-2, 289
RG: Pat Ward, Sr., 6-4, 310
Jamie Wu, So., 6-3, 305
RT: John Feugill, Jr., 6-8, 300
Brad Messina, So., 6-6, 299
TE: Tim Brown, Sr., 6-1, 250
or Mike Hull, Fr., 6-6, 244
PK: Brad Rhodes, Jr., 5-8, 162
Mike Christy, Sr., 5-9, 165
P: Russell Edwards, Jr., 5-11, 204
Sean Starner, Fr., 5-11, 185
E: Eric Hicks, Sr., 6-6, 248
Jason Brown, Sr., 6-1, 241
T: Johnnie Hicks, Sr., 6-2, 267
Delbert Cowsette, So., 6-1, 274
T: Anthony Jenkins, Sr., 6-1, 252
Ramon Olivares, Sr., 6-4, 283
E: Eric Ogbogu, Sr., 6-4, 256
or Rasheed Simmons, Jr., 6-5, 254
SLB: Kendall Ogle, Jr., 6-1, 224
Rhett Hesprich, Sr., 6-2, 228
ILB: Eric Barton, Jr., 6-3, 235
Brett White, Sr., 6-1, 237
WLB: Erwyn Lyght, So., 6-0, 210
Ryan Gick, Sr., 5-10, 207
CB: Lewis Sanders, So., 6-1, 197
Lynde Washington, So., 5-6, 172
SS: Henry Baker, Sr., 6-2, 200
Todd Stewart, So., 6-0, 200
FS: Paul Jackson, Jr., 6-0, 187
Daniel Eiskant, So., 6-0, 202
CB: Troy Davidson, So., 6-0, 177
or Clifton Crosby, Jr., 5-10, 173
or Bryn Boggs, So., 5-11, 178
Pub Date: 4/25/97