Claiborne has a reputation as a defense-minded coach, but he has a penchant for razzle-dazzle on offense: crossfield laterals, halfback passes, end arounds. Tailback Louis Carter rushed for 927 yards last year and completed eight of 11 passes—six for touchdowns. There is a little dandy in the Maryland playbook that has the quarterback lateraling to the flanker, who flips the ball back to the quarterback, who then passes downfield.
Claiborne can call on two quarterbacks, Ben Kinard, a versatile runner and passer, and Bob Avellini, a strong-armed thrower. They helped direct a balanced attack that averaged 351 yards and 28 points per game last year. Receiver Frank Russell is only three catches away from Gary Collins' school career record of 74. Additional punch is provided by Hungarian Placekicker Steve Mike-Mayer, whose brother Nick swats three-pointers for the Atlanta Falcons.
If the Terrapins have a problem this season it will be the upgraded schedule that starts off with Alabama and Florida and includes N.C. State and Penn State back to back. But Claiborne is unconcerned. "Whether or not our record proves it," he says, "we will be a stronger team than we were last year."
17 TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech's outlook for the 1974 season is as high as the top row of Jones Stadium, or as low as the bottom row. It all depends on what level redshirted sophomore Quarterback Tommy Duniven has reached in his 20 daily runs up and down the stadium steps—after working eight hours on a nearby construction project. Duniven has the kind of arm that makes pro scouts whistle, but running the option in the manner of Joe Barnes, who graduated last spring, is something else. Barnes led the Red Raiders both in total carries and in yards rushing, and he personally accounted for most of the big plays that kept Tech drives alive.
Coach Jim Carlen will also miss Tight End Andre Tillman, but he admits that he really is not alarmed about his receiving corps. "Our outside receivers are good," he says. "Lawrence Williams is All-Conference for sure. Jeff Jobe is good, and we have depth behind them." Carlen does question how much protection the passer will get, as well he might, because Texas Tech lost the whole strong side of the offensive line. However, an eager but inexperienced group should coalesce around quick Guard Floyd Keeney and Center Jim Frasure.
The defensive line presents no problems, with Tackle Ecomet Burley bulwarking it. Burley was named Most Valuable Lineman in the Sun Bowl as a freshman in 1972, and he made 102 tackles and caused five fumbles in 1973. End Tommy Cones, a salty type whose hobbies are eating oysters, fishing and surfing, plus Middle Guard David Knaus, Linebacker Charlie Beery and Defensive Back Curtis Jordan—who can backpedal 20 yards in 3.1 seconds and was named the team's MVP last year—are other causes for optimism.
The backfield seems equally formidable. Tailback Larry Isaac rushed for 526 yards and led Tech in scoring with 10 touchdowns as a freshman, although he was not a starter until very late in the season. John Garner and Cliff Hoskins are two good ones at fullback.
The Raiders could be even better than last year's bunch, which ranked 11th in the nation, defeated Tennessee in the Gator Bowl and lost only to Texas in an early-season game. Tech does not beat many teams by enormous scores, but its cautious style, always probing for the big breakthrough, wears folks down. The Raiders had only 12 turnovers last year, one per game. Carlen firmly believes that it is silly to drive 80 yards and not score and, worse yet, to cough up the ball in your own territory. The only coughing done in West Texas this year will be by opponents.