COLLEGE PARK -- Jamie Wu is not only making a strong bid for first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference right guard honors these days, but he has become the perfect captain for the Maryland football team.
Each week Wu seems to find a way to help his teammates reach an emotional peak.
Even if it is a 1-6 Duke squad that comes to Byrd Stadium today for a 1 p.m. homecoming date with the 5-2 Terrapins.
"Duke is really a good team," said Wu, who bowled over North Carolina defenders last week. "They're a lot better than their record indicates. They're the type of team that if you sleep on them, they will come out and beat you up good. We can't overlook anybody."
Duke has lost to Northwestern and North Carolina State in overtime and defeated Virginia in two overtimes. The Blue Devils (1-3 in the ACC) gave Georgia Tech a tough run before losing, 38-31, to the No. 7 team in the nation.
"If we start looking up in the lights, which I felt we did a little bit at Georgia Tech, we'll stumble," said Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden, whose team is 2-2 in conference. "I told the players last week to take the North Carolina game play-by-play and at the end look up at the scoreboard and hopefully we'll have more points than they do."
The third-year Terps coach said he has asked his players to basically take that same approach for the entire season.
"I want them to go game-by-game, count them up and enjoy it after the season is over," said Vanderlinden.
Many of the Maryland defensive players and Vanderlinden won't soon forget how Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler burned them for 435 yards of total offense two weeks ago. So they are trying to make sure Duke junior quarterback Spencer Romine doesn't do the same.
"Romine will pull the ball down and run if he has an opening," said Vanderlinden. "But he's not Woody Dantzler. Clemson ran power football with Dantzler as a running back. Duke won't do that. They like to spread you out and throw the ball."
Defensively, Vanderlinden calls Duke "the best team we've faced to date. They have 21 lettermen back on defense, including Outland Trophy candidate Chris Combs."
While it appears that most teams are staying away from speedy Maryland cornerback Lewis Sanders' side of the field, the junior still is maintaining a humble approach to his play.
"I don't think I put fear in anybody," said Sanders, who is third in the country in interceptions with six in seven games. "They're still throwing at me."
However, when it comes time to talk about the somewhat surprising Maryland team, Sanders becomes a little cocky. "I knew we could do it all year long," he said. "We still haven't played the way we're truly capable of."
When told that Maryland is highly ranked in a lot of NCAA Division I-A statistical categories, Sanders didn't appear too impressed.
"We still aren't at the top yet in most of them," he said.
While Sanders and running back LaMont Jordan continue to make All-America bids, unheralded sophomore Charles Hill is providing a unique two-way story for the Terps.
The 6-foot-2, 282-pound Hill played 30 snaps last week at defensive tackle and 10 snaps at center. Hill is normally a defensive lineman but has been asked to double up at center this season because of injuries to backup center Todd Wike.