Terps notebook: Losses cannot slow Vellano

Terps notebook: Losses cannot slow Vellano
November 18, 2011, 3:36 pm
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By Benjamin Standig
CSNwashington.comDespite all the carnage surrounding him, from injuries to suspensions to the ongoing six-game losing streak, defensive tackle Joe Vellanos production just keeps on keeping on. The relentless 6-2, 285 lb junior led the Terps defensive linemen with eight tackles last week against Notre Dame, though frankly the achievement has become so routine as to not worth mentioning. Starting with him collecting a whopping 20 tackles against Georgia Techs triple option in Marylands fifth game of the season, Vellano has topped his fellow lineman in stops five of the last six games.Hes got a tremendous motor. Hes got a good feel for the game, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said of Vellano, easily one of the few bright spots on a defense ranked last in the ACC.Four times in that six-game span the powerful Rexford, N.Y. native has reached double digits in stops; only twice has another Maryland lineman finished with as many as nine tackles in a game this season. Forget just focusing on Vellanos numbers relative to his teammates. His 8.0 tackles per game ranks first among all FBS defensive lineman and only other lineman nationally even averages over seven stops per game.For me he should be first team ALL- ACC with the kind of productivity and how well hes played this season, Edsall said.Edsall will need Vellano at his all-conference best this week against a potent Wake Forest ground attack led by running back Brandon Pendergrass. The shifty tailback rushed for a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns last week in the Demon Deacons heartbreaking 31-28 loss to Clemson. "Everyone has to get their calls because the Demon Deacons kind of want to get you out of your gaps. The main thing on them is for everyone to fit right in the defense, and to keep everything in front of you and get them on the ground, said Vellano, one of Marylands four team captains, explaining the plan of attack against the Wakes solid ground game.Wake Forest, suffering through its own 3-game losing streak, needs to win one of its final two games to become bowl eligible.Planning is one thing, executing another. The Terps have surrendered over 200 rushing yards during each of their last seven losses. Clemson and Boston College topped the 300-yard mark. Vellano and company will be without freshman linebacker Alex Twine, ruled out for the upcoming contest with an undisclosed injury. The 17-year-old was named the ACC Rookie of the Week after recording 12 tackles against Notre Dame. Twine is simply the latest player Marylands defense has lost this season and Vellano notes the numerous injuries have sabotaged and at times demoralized the unit."Oh definitely, it kind of kills your rhythm, when guys are kind of feeding on that, Vellano said. But the biggest thing is we just have to focus on us, finish strong, and keep working. We have a lot of guys still playing with a lot of pride out there."Vellano was part of the 2009 team that finished 2-10, a mark nobody wants to duplicate, but stands as a possibility with two games remaining.The last couple of games no one wants to lose like that, but just go out and play as hard as you can there's no reason not to, Vellano said.What you need to know...The Combatants: Maryland (2-8, 1-6 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (5-5, 4-3)When: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. at BB&T Field, Winston Salem, N.C.History: Maryland holds a commanding 42-16-1 series lead and last season behind four Danny OBrien touchdown passes crushed Wake Forest 62-14 in College Park. The Demon Deacons have won two straight on their home field.Coaches: Randy Edsall, 1st year at Maryland; Jim Grobe, 11th year at Wake ForestPlayers to watch, Maryland: C.J. Brown, QB, So.; Davin Meggett, RB, Sr.; Quintin McCree, WR, Sr.; Joe Vellano, DT, So.Players to watch, Wake Forest: Tanner Price, QB, So.; Brandon Pendergrass, RB, Sr.; Chris Givens, WR, Sr.; Kyle Wilbur, OLB, Sr. Maryland notes... Edsall announced on Thursday that wide receiverreturner Tony Logan would serve as Marylands backup quarterback. The New Jersey native threw for 1,500 yards and 10 touchdown during his senior season at Piscataway High School. C.J. Brown draws his fourth start of the season following Danny OBriens season-ending arm injuryOver the last four games McCree has been the Terps most productive receivers, hauling in 25 receptions for 401 yards and 1 touchdown Wake Forest notesGivens (62 receptions, 1,016 yards) needs 38 yards to set the programs all-time single-season receiving record, passing Ricky Proehls mark established during the 1989 seasonPrice has passed for 2,326 yards and 16 touchdowns with only six interceptions on the season. However, during the Demon Deacons 3-game losing streak, Price has just one touchdown pass with four interceptionsWilbur recorded a career-high 13 tackles in last weeks loss against Clemson.