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So You Want Ralph Gone?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- Don't ask why I am sitting at a computer in Florida just 12 hours after seeing the 'Meltdown in the Murf'; just a typical weekend in the life of a sportswriter running on empty. I've read all the e-mails and comments and want to touch on something that I will get into in more detail, perhaps, tomorrow morning in Terrapins Insider once I can get some sleep.

I hear the fans, and a vocal segment of the fan base appears to want Ralph out at this point. I'm sure many, many fans do not want to jump ship on the Fridge, but the fans I hear from after a game like the one played Saturday are a bit upset.The frustration is understandable. After three seasons of winning 10 or more games, Maryland has been mediocre the past four years. And this season has gotten off to a poor start.

Two games into a season is a bit early to bail on the team, regardless of how bad they looked last night. (See 2007 Michigan) And I am in no way defending the team because it looks like it will be a struggle to six wins at this point. I'm writing to address the specific fans who call for Ralph's head at this point. The question: Who would you want to step in here? Pete Carroll is not walking through that door. What would be a reasonable target? And for those who will say I am getting ahead of myself, no, I'm not writing this in the paper, and I'm not saying Ralph should be ousted even if this season ends without a bowl. I'm having a discussion with the fans who want him out now.

There is similar backlash directed at Gary Williams for some of the same reasons and for different reasons. The names I hear from observers who want Gary gone are somewhat reasonable: Sean Miller; Anthony Grant; maybe even Mike Brey. Then there are those who would want to take a stab at Jay Wright, or those who think Rick Barnes will run to College Park (think again).

As for football, what's a reasonable expectation year in and year out for this program? Eight wins? Ten wins? You tell me. And if you want Ralph out, who do you want in?

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 7, 2008; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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At this point I am not ready to call for Ralph's head but he does need to change his ways if he expects to stay. When he first came to MD he was an aggresive coach that played to win. He seemed to pull out all the stops and just go for it. Since those first three years, with Vandy's recruits, he has become way too conservative and plays not to lose both on O and D. Probably yhe worst hire he has made is Chris Cosh who was continually fired from his previous coaching jobs because of his passive defenses. So we have a head coach that wants to go plain vanilla and DC how waits for the play to happen and hopes to react to it. The problems can be fixed but it meand firing the DC and letting Franklin run his wide open offense. Will it happen? That is the question.

Posted by: Paco in Ajijic | September 7, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Coach Friedgen should be given this year to earn his keep.

Unfortunately, the coordinators that he has are a joke. Cosh is playing scared and his prevent defense is not "preventing" anything ...

Franklin's offense is plain offensive. It appears he has tipsy when calling the game.

The football program needs a significant face lift. New talented recruits, a new stadium, and young aggressive coaches.

Posted by: Boomer | September 7, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the play calling growing more and more conservative over the years. I know he was grooming Bill O'Brien for the OC job, that's why he brought him in and why Locksley left (saw the writing on the wall). But O'Brien left for Duke because of the medical facility (special needs child) and then Fridge took over when Taafe was forced out.

I am not quite ready to throw in the towl with Frdige yet, but we have LEGIT talent at numerous positions and its not translating on the field. DHB and Scott are world class athletes and need the ball more.

That being said, if we did replace RF, I would take a chance on Locksley. Young guy, from the area, success as OC at Illinois and a dynamite recruiter. He got Derrick Harvey to FL from Eleanor Roosevelt and Vontae Davis, Arrelious Benn, and several others to Illinois. Just look at every major recruit from this area and Illinois is on their list.

Posted by: JTS | September 7, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd take ECU's entire staff over MD's at this point.

Hell, I'd take MTSU's staff. They beat us after all.

Bottom line though, I'd take any coach that can adjust his schemes/gameplan, etc. to the talents on his team, rather than try to make the talent fit the scheme.

There are a lot of coaches that do that these days, but our coaches are not among that group...

Posted by: Sam | September 7, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

mike locksley

and anthony grant for gary

Posted by: mike b | September 7, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Coach Friedgen should be given this year to earn his keep.

Unfortunately, the coordinators that he has are a joke. Cosh is playing scared and his prevent defense is not "preventing" anything ...

Franklin's offense is plain offensive. It appears he has tipsy when calling the game.

The football program needs a significant face lift. New talented recruits, a new stadium, and young aggressive coaches.

Posted by: Boomer | September 7, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I was one of those fans who was exceedingly upset and disgusted with the performance yesterday, and I was one of more vociferous folks calling for a regime change. A good night's sleep hasn't changed my opinion on things.

Let's just look at the facts. With the exception of '06 (where the team won 5 games by a combined 11 points, this team is exactly where it was under Vandy and Duffner -- an afterthought.

As for who should take over: Locksley should be the #1 candidate; in addition, I'd take runs at Skip Holtz, Charlie Strong (DC @ Florida), Dave Christensen (OC @ Mizzou), and Brent Venables (DC @ Oklahoma). Guys who have coached well and recruited well are the ones this program needs to be seeking.

Fire Friedgen.

Posted by: PO'd MD Fan | September 7, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

My expectations are that the team is making a serious run at the ACC title every 4 to 5 years. This team doesn't execute well and the head coach always has excuses. They should have walloped the first two teams on their schedule just by size and speed alone. PSU isn't always great under JoPa, but every 3 or 4 years they make a strong run at the top 5 in the country. I can handle down seasons but the overall direction of the program is a concern. He doesn't keep the key local guys at home and is running a Krivak/Duffner/Vanderlinden type of .500 program (a game above or below). In the long run, it revenue, inability to attract top athletes, loss of fan base, etc. As for a replacement, what about that Holtz guy down at East Carolina? Largely, the top assistants looking to move into a head coaching job are looking for a promising opportunity. Bo isn't going to Nebraska if it isn't for their tradition and passion. Pete Carroll went to a place with a proud tradition and quality recruits. The Baltimore/Washington are has players. As for BB? What about Jimmy Patsos? Excellent assistant who has done wonders with Loyola through recruiting and coaching. The AD should have a short list of up and comers from hungry young coaches.

Posted by: Terps Change | September 7, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jfraz | September 7, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I dont know enough realistic candidates to take over for Ralph but the first question is should he go? Ralph has been in the business a long enough to know that your good years will only carry you so long. Winning a National Championship in football is not realistic for MD but competing for the ACC title in a weak league is not far fetched. Ralph competed his first 3 years when the league was stronger but with other coach's players. If Wake Forest can compete in the ACC than why the hell can't a big school with much more tradition than Wake in football. I would give Ralph this year and if they are not a bowl team than I would seriously consider replacing him. Of course, in the real world that probably means he has next year too and then he might actually feel the heat from the University.

Posted by: zman | September 7, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I would love it if Gary says bye bye..

Posted by: South Beach Terp | September 7, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I hate to burst everyone's bubble but the next head coach of Maryland Basketball will be Dave Dickerson. You can quote me on that, mark it down. You don't know much about Maryland if you don't see that coming.

Posted by: Brad | September 7, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I do not think it is unreasonable to expect 7-9 wins a year from Maryland and look competitive in every game. The Terps do not look competitive and they sure do not look like they have been prepared well for a bunch of coaches who harp on practice a lot. I would take a look at trying to bring in Chris Peterson, Bronco Mendenhall, or Kyle Whittingham.

Posted by: Elwood | September 7, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I'd be okay with Ralphie if he got rid of Chris Cosh. That'd give him 1 more year in my book.

"We knew going in Maryland wouldn't give us a big pass rush because they are more of a read team," Craddock said. "We knew we would have some time and we just needed to execute."

Newsflash...this type of D went out of style after the 1985 Bears. MD has too many athletes on D for a read and react. Zero sacks against two lesser opponents is a huge problem.

If Ralphie goes, MD needs to take the Ohio St route. They need to hire a young, top flight 1AA coach with ties to the area like OSU did with Tressel.

To me, I think K.C. Keeler at Delaware would thrive in CP. He is a winner. You can't underestimate the power of a culture of winning.

Locksley is a great recruiter, but I am not sold on his coaching ability. I mean, he is with the world's biggest under achiever in Ron Zook.

Skip Holtz has ethics issues.

I think a name to watch would be Chip Kelly, Oregon's offensive coordinator. He was New Hampshire's head coach for a couple of years, and the guy knows offense. Athletes would flock to MD under his offense.

As for Gary, I like Sean Miller or Jamie Dixon. If MD can't get Dixon out of Pitt, they can't get anyone.

Posted by: TerpInRI | September 7, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Friedgen, is a known as a qb coach and he has not had a decent qb in 3yrs. Turner, Steffy and Portis are not ACC QBS and he has made a critical mistake- no talent at the most important position they win 4 games if there lucky!!

Posted by: terpscore | September 7, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I hope Big Ralph uses this MTSU loss to neck-snap his coordinators back to reality. Look for the Terps to upset Cal this Saturday with original and aggressive play calling. Long time Terp fans have seen this movie before: lose to inferior opponent...bounce back against tough opponent...rinse...repeat

Posted by: zzTerp | September 7, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Reasonable expectation: 8-9 wins, a bowl game AFTER Dec. 25, an appearance in the ACC title game every 3-4 years. This school has the prestige and resources to meet those expectations.

Posted by: Rob | September 8, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Friedgen is a good enough football coach, I'll give him that. But he's a LOUSY judge of talent, and the people he has helping him with that are lousy judges of talent as well. The only other way to explain this team, and the way they perform in comparison to the expectations based on talent, is to say that the team has just stopped listening to Friedgen and has lost respect for him. I like Friedgen, I'm grateful for what he's done at Maryland, but he's really starting to feel like the guy who has just been in one place too long.

Posted by: Rob | September 8, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Mike Tice?

Posted by: R.L. | September 8, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'll second the Mike Locksley nomination.

Posted by: Steve | September 8, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe we can get Bobby Ross back, I mean, now that we have stadium lights!

Posted by: Steve | September 8, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I dont know who a replacement coach should be, but if I was the AD I would have a few names ready! KEY QUESTION: Has anything improved with MD football in the last 4 years? Are we more competitive? Do we keep losing or barely beating weaker competition? (Navy, MTSU, Delaware, Troy State, etc). Offensive production? Is the team exciting to watch?

Posted by: TerpfanMA | September 8, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I wanted the Fridge gone for awhile...

I'm cool with Gary for now, though all this shenanigans about eligibility for players is obnoxious.

Posted by: Broken Clipboard | September 8, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow! RF is not going anywhere!, though i agree they need to prepare to replace him. Yow will give him another year. Unless he goes 0-11, he has another year.

I think MD needs to go for an aggressive pro style coach. These kids want to play at the next level, and they want to play aggressively and win in college. In a few years kids will see this Urban Meyer and Rich Rodriguez spread does not make them NFL caliber players. alex smith is a bust at QB, and Tebow will be too. (he would be a great TE, but not QB.) As for the replacement I say go for a solid coordinator and known recruiter from a prominent program with east coast ties. MD is too well situated not to be good in any sport really. you have DC-Balt., PA, NYC-NJ and the VA Tidewater area in proximity. it seems they have no Tidewater presence at all. Everyone mentions Locksley, but have you noticed the number of DC-Balt. kids at Penn State? Or how Md gets almost no N.Va kids?

Posted by: RobGreg | September 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I don’t think you can argue that Ralph had more success his first several years as head coach with the players that Ron Vanderlinden recruited. I think a main problem, as several people have pointed out, is the inability to get the top talent in the DC area. However, it does appear that there are several current players (Heyward-Bey, Scott, O Line) that will play in the NFL. With that said this current team should be better. Quite simply the playmakers need to be given the ball as often as possible, which is not happening.

We are getting close to start talking about a possible replacement. I am a fan of getting a MD guy if there is a good one out there. Hands down I think Mike Tice is the guy!

When it comes to bball. The MD job is a good job in a great market with top tier talent all over the area. No one with MD ties is the answer as the new coach. I think you have to make a choice on who you think the next up and coming coach is and cross your fingers that it comes together. It needs to be a “new school” coach. I think the sooner the bball program makes a change the better. I don’t see coach Williams righting the ship over the next several seasons.

Posted by: K | September 8, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Keeler or the coach at App State for Fridge, Brenda Frese for Gary, get rid of Cottle (M Lax) and Yow too.

As for the traitors that went PSU, maybe if the DC media quit glorifying St Joe of State College, there would not be as much interest. Bobby Ross recruited almost exlcusively in this area( including No VA) and NJ / Long Island and consisently had nationally ranked teams.

Posted by: jg284481 | September 8, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

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