Terps boast 4-1 record

It hasn't always been pretty. Strike that -- it hasn't often been pretty.

But coach Ralph Friedgen isn't going to apologize for taking a 4-1 record into Saturday's game at Clemson, especially considering the four wins are double what the Terrapins got in all of 2009.

Coming off a bye week, given the state of the team, having last week to rest was pretty good timing.

Maryland has been the walking wounded ever since practice began in August, and there is no shortage of starters who will take it easy this week. Quarterback Jamarr Robinson, who has missed two games with an injured throwing shoulder, will use the extra time to heal and hopes to get ready for the upcoming game against Clemson. Torrey Smith has been limited by an ankle injury and will get some time off. Offensive lineman Andrew Gonnella has been gutting it out despite a leg injury.

The defense isn't much healthier.

Adrian Moten suffered an ankle injury against Duke, and though X-Rays were negative he'll use the bye week to heal. Alex Wujciak has also shown signs of wear and tear, which would be an injury the already undermanned linebacking corps can ill-afford.

In addition to getting players healthy, Friedgen will look to get his team sharper on offense. Running the ball has been a problem this season, and the 4.4 yards per carry average is mainly the result of big plays rather than any consistent strength in picking up tough yards. Pass protection has also been an issue, as has the decision-making of quarterbacks Danny O'Brien and Robinson, particularly early in games.

Defensively, the Terrapins need to work on refining the bend-but-don't-break style to do a better job of not bending quite so far. Maryland has been very good at forcing turnovers, particularly in the red zone, but has had a difficult time staying off the field thanks to its poor rate of preventing third-down conversions.

Only three other ACC teams are undefeated in conference play, but with the difficult part of the schedule still to come, Friedgen knows there's a lot of work to do this week, even without a game to prepare for on Saturday. He's just as happy, however, to let his injured players watch from the sidelines, and use the break to make sure they are able to line up when it counts.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: In some ways, this isn't the offense most expected when the season began, as Danny O'Brien has taken advantage of Jamarr Robinson's injury to stake a claim to at least a share of the starting job even when Robinson returns. He's added an element to the passing game that Robinson struggled to provide before injuring his shoulder in the loss to West Virginia.

On the other hand, Maryland has been sacked nine times, is converting slightly less than 25 percent of its third-down opportunities, and, apart from the occasional big play, has had a hard time moving the ball on the ground and sustaining drives. In its last three games, six of its nine offensive touchdowns have been on scoring plays of 56 yards or longer, which both indicates its explosiveness and also shows that extended drives that keep the defense off the field are not a strength.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The defense has been very good at creating turnovers (12 through five games) and in the red zone. In the red zone, it has held opponents scoreless nine times allowed just 10 touchdowns in 23 chances. Of course, it gets lots of opportunity to practice in the red zone because it gives up a lot of yards and has a hard time stopping anyone on third down.

It's a bend-but-don't-break approach taken to the extremes. But give defensive coordinator Don Brown credit - his defense may allow opponents to drive down into Maryland territory at will, but once the field gets shorter the aggressive and athletic defenders have an easier time wreaking havoc on the opposition.

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