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Changes May Come on Offense ... and Defense ... and Special Teams

ATLANTA -- Here's the rest of what a very coy Ralph Friedgen had to say earlier this afternoon during his Sunday conference call. He wasn't much into specifics, but he did broach several topics worth discussing.

For starters, Friedgen said there may be some alterations to many of his team's lineups.

"There may be a few changes," he said. "We’ll have to see. I’m gonna marinate overnight on that and think about it and see if we can get some guys in the right spots and maybe get a little more production. I think there’s a couple of spots, I know on special teams I’m thinking about making a couple of changes and maybe a couple of spots on offense and defense."

And can you talk about some of the players whose playing time might be in flux?

"Well yeah, there may be some players in that mix, yeah."

Right, but do you have any names for us?

"Not right now. No."

When asked if quarterback Josh Portis might be on his way to earning more playing time under center, Friedgen said it was a possibility. He noted that the coaching staff needed to do more with Portis, either having him throw or hand the ball off more.

"Josh did some real good things the other night and he still made a couple of errors," Friedgen said. "You know, we’ll just have to see how that develops."

While Friedgen said many of the younger offensive players made mistakes operating in the new system, he also noted the unit did make some progress against Middle Tennessee. The problem, Friedgen surmised, was the offense's lack of consistency.

"We’ll run one play and block it perfectly and the next play, we’ll miss a block or someone will go the wrong way," he said. "So, to me, it needs to be more of a consistent-type thing than where it is right now."

The Terrapins will face a team in Cal that jumped into the AP poll this week at No. 23 after thrashing Washington State. Friedgen said he hasn't seen much of the Bears on tape but that he knew they had an athletic offensive line and speed at the running back and wide receiver positions.

Asked whether it was a good or bad thing that his Terrapins -- fresh off a loss to a team most people expected Maryland to crush -- were facing a team as talented as Cal next Saturday, Friedgen chuckled and said, "I'll tell you next week."

By Steve Yanda  |  September 7, 2008; 8:16 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Scouting the Golden Bears


Now is the time to start Josh Portis.

Steffy is out and Turner did nothing against a team who is rebuilding (no offense MTSU). Maryland has nothing to lose now and everything to gain.

BTW... 1st

Posted by: Monty | September 8, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Agree with Monty 100%. Portis had one non gimmick play Saturday night. 10 yard completion for a first down over the middle. Perfect pass. Get the kid works with 1st team on real sets now and start him.

Posted by: Lee | September 8, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm not ready for Portis to start yet but the way the staff is using him is borders on stupid. If Turner isn't getting it done after his first two series, send in Portis for an entire series. As long as he keeps making first downs or scoring keep him in the game. If he bogs down go back to Turner.

Posted by: Paco in Ajijic | September 8, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Man, this blog is hard to find all of a sudden. I could not find any of the usual links.
Anyway, I wouldnt jump off the Chris Turner bandwagon just yet. He is learning a new offense that seems plagued by questionable play calling. Steffy may not throw as many interceptions but that is because he does not throw the ball more than 4 yards down the field. I do think Portis should get more playing time and be given a chance to run a full series. I think the problem on defense is the defensive line. They switched to 3 down lineman and they dont seem to get much of a push and that isnt so good considering they arent even playing the big boy teams yet. More blitzing is needed to make up for this and that will probably lead to giving up some big plays. It's going to be a long year fellas---welcome back to the Duffner era of fighting for that 6th win in the last game.

Posted by: zman | September 8, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Let's be optimists for 15 seconds.

Wasn't an ACC team. Wasn't at home. Wasn't late in the year.

Losing to Deleware or E Mich at homme would've been way worse. And maybe this wakes the team up and they shock Cal. Maybe this lets the coaches know they need to adopt a 2 for Turner 1 for Portis approach. Maybe it gets the defense more aggresive.

Ok back to a reguarly scheduled programming. Terps suck anyone want 4 tickets to the game Saturday and 4 to the Wake game?

Posted by: Lee | September 8, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I look forward to seeing how much a fire this loss really lit under their collective asses. It's easy to talk about how changes will be made, how there will be more focus etc.

Let's see it on the field. Let's see better (or at least more creative) play calling. Let's stick with a solid run game and use a trick play or three if we have to in games. Instead of using HB on a reverse, do a double with him giving it off to another player. Anything!

One good thing about a horrific loss? Less people on campus talking you up, and maybe even a few people laughing at you. Nothing like peer ridicule to motivate you.

Posted by: ckstevenson | September 8, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The defense has been bad since Blackney left, let's be honest. Blackney got the most out of his players and the Terps should have made a serious play for John Tanuta in the offseason as Chris Cosh has playmakers, but just doens't know how to use them. Cosh is always trying to read and defend what the opposition is doing, while Blackney was aggressive and liked to dictate the game with pressure and forcing the opposition into mistakes. Give any kid 15-20 seconds to the throw the ball and someone will be open on any team.

Fridgedon has been whining for years about the lack of dual-threat QB, well now he has one in Portis, but doesn't know how to use him. Portis has the tools to be better than Joey Hamilton was for Georgia Tech and Ralph should do what he did with the GTECH qb in 1990, when they shared the national championship: cutdown on the playbbook and focus on executing a number of plays, and use rollouts to utilize Portis' mobility and athleticism. Bottom line is that we need someone to move the ball and put up points, no matter if it's pretty or not. Cal is going to score 20-30 points, and we have the skill players and line to be put up a lot of points; we just need a QB with confidence to put the receivers and skill players in a position to achieve.
L. Watson: congrats on your first reception... he's got the young Vernon Davis tight-end look... skies the limit with him.

Posted by: Josh | September 8, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Lack of a pass rush? Lets keep in mind that MTSU used a shotgun offense and ran quick slant routes. How can you sack a guy when he drops back and throws it within 3 seconds?

Why didn't we play up on the WR and jam him at the line with the big CBs like Carroll and Barnes? Were we afraid of their deep ball?

What we need to do is work on containment. Tre Covington yet again lets the QB get outside on him. How this guy is a 3 year starter is beyond me.

Posted by: BuddhaUMD | September 8, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Ok back to a reguarly scheduled programming. Terps suck anyone want 4 tickets to the game Saturday and 4 to the Wake game?"

Lee, contact me at and lets discuss the tickets.

Posted by: Elwood | September 8, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

sitting here on the left coast with insomnia last night, i reflected on the quarterbacking woes for the Terps. i tuned in the local cable access channel and found myself watching Dana Hills H.S. romping over Foothills H.S.. So Foothills brings in this sophomore QB and he caught my attention.

its never too early to start recruiting, so....RALPH....RALPH!!! You hear me?

Posted by: mdrockjock | September 8, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Maryland's defensive line is a complete joke.

I have seen a better pass rush by Pop Warner and CYO teams.

Prediction for Maryland's upcoming game --

Califonia - 48
Maryland - 13

Maryland will finish with a 3-9 record (good for last place in the ACC - even behind Duke)

I am glad that Maryland is no longer recruiting Tavon Austin.

Jelani Jenkins and Travis Hawkins will be signing with the University of Florida.

Posted by: Dennis | September 8, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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