Bobby Bowden knows just how Mark Duffner feels these days.
PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) _ Bobby Bowden knows just how Mark Duffner feels these days.
Bowden faced a barrage of preseason questions from reporters last year when an agent scandal put him and his Florida State football program on the hot seat for months. Several players were eventually suspended as a result of the now famous ``FootLocker″ shopping spree incident.
Now, a year later, Duffner and the Maryland program are trying to prepare for a season in which several players, including star quarterback Scott Milanovich, have been suspended for placing bets on college games.
``Gosh, it just seems like the nicest people it happens to,″ Bowden said of Maryland’s gambling probe. ``There is just nobody that it can’t happen to.″
Bowden and Clemson coach Tommy West said Sunday they felt sorry for Duffner and Maryland, saying the incident, in which Milanovich apparently bet $200 on games between 1992-94, was out of his hands.
``When you have 100 people, sometimes they don’t always do what you tell ’em,″ West said.
``There are just so many things that kids can get into these days,″ Bowden added. ``Anybody who raises a family knows exactly what I’m talking about.″
The subject of players laying down bets on college sporting events, which is against NCAA rules, will now be a point of emphasis for Atlantic Coast Conference programs in the wake of the four-game gambling suspension of Milanovich.
``Just the nature of what has happened, it has already been an emphasis,″ said North Carolina coach Mack Brown, one of nine ACC coaches who attended the league’s annual football kickoff media event. ``Everything that comes up is a social problem. When it’s real and it happens close to home there’s no doubt it gets our attention.″
``We talk about gambling every year and what the rules are and the consequences if you’re involved with it, but we hit it pretty quick and move on,″ West said. ``I’m sure now everybody will spend a little more time on it.″
Virginia quarterback Mike Groh said prior gambling messages from coaches may have gone unnoticed.
``I think players tend to pay more attention when coaches talk about drug testing and things like that,″ Groh said.
Milanovich’s suspension was originally for the first eight of Maryland’s 11-game slate, but the NCAA reduced it to four games last week after an appeal. Milanovich holds many of the school’s career passing records and is regarded as one of the better punters in the nation.
Duffner said his players receive a policy and procedure manual before the season starts and literature about gambling ``is all over that.″ Star wide receiver Jermaine Lewis was also suspended for one game for betting, along with two others.
``The fact that this (gambling) review went on for months it wasn’t quite the abrupt bolt of lightning as you might think,″ Duffner said when asked the mood of his team.
Duffner, 4-7 a season ago, is faced with starting inexperienced Brian Cummings at quarterback. Cummings was the team’s goal-line quarterback last season.
``We are going to highlight what he does well and take it from there,″ said Duffner, who refused to say who would be the team’s quarterback once Milanovich returns for the Sept. 30 game at Georgia Tech.
Some still believe the Milanovich suspension was too harsh. Brown, whose team will play the Terrapins on Sept. 9 minus the star quarterback, isn’t one of them.
``Scott has learned a hard lesson here. I think a lot of people expect you to kick a guy off the team. That’s not always the best way in most cases to help a guy learn and get better,″ Brown said.
``I think this will get the attention of people across the country. If you keep throwing enough mud on the wall some of it may stick.″