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Turner: We're Consistently Inconsistent

An interesting exchange occurred at the start of the meeting Wednesday night between Ralph Friedgen and a handful of reporters. One reporter hit a sensitive spot with Friedgen when he asked about the need to find consistency.

Reporter: “You have talked about needing consistency for some time, what does it take for players to do it?”

Friedgen: “You think if I knew the answer I wouldn’t try to get it done? Obviously, it is trying to get better. Better focus.”

Reporter: “It is a basic concept, is it stunning to you that it has not gotten through?”

Friedgen paused before saying: “It is frustrating.”

The conversation reporters had with Friedgen lasted about 12 minutes, which is about normal, maybe even a little shorter than usual. But Friedgen revisited the topic of consistency later in the conversation without being prompted. Here is where he took the topic:


“What I am having trouble getting through is, in order to create a habit, you have to do it in practice. When you get out there and play on Saturday, it has to be instinctive. It can’t be, ‘Well let me say I’m going to step with this foot, I’m going to hit this number, I’m going to do this.’ You have to just think about being aggressive and that stuff just has to be down. When you are continually on the guys about doing it right, and then you try to show them that this is what happens when you do it right, pretty soon they have to get it, it has to start coming from them.

“I’m sure they have other things they are dealing with in their lives, like all of us do --- school, girlfriends, whatever. But when you go on that field, you have to put all that aside, just like you go to work, you can’t be dealing with all that stuff. Sometimes 18-20 year old kids are not mature enough to do that.”

Later that night, we talked to quarterback Chris Turner about whether he senses frustrating in Friedgen relating to the lack of consistency. Here is what he said:

“Yeah, especially because we had a team thing in camp and each player got up and said what his strengths are weaknesses are. The consistent weakness was we’re not consistent. We all had the same answer. We’re not being consistent out there. We all admit it. It’s probably something we should be better at. I have been seeing that since I was a freshman. That has always kind of been his thing.”

My question: This lack of consistency, do you fault the players most or the coaches??

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 11, 2008; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Football  | Tags: Chris Turner, Ralph Friedgen  
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Comments

It's not an either/or situation. Obviously both groups take the blame.

Ultimately, the execution falls to the players. They need to get it right, they need to focus on the right things, they need to take personal responsibility for improving.

And while you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink, it's clear from Fridge's comments that the coaches need to a better job of leading.

They are both to blame. So the right answer is: blame the TEAM. They are a single unit, to speak of them otherwise creates unnecessary conflict between a single unit.

Posted by: ckstevenson | September 11, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

" It can’t be, ‘Well let me say I’m going to step with this foot, I’m going to hit this number, I’m going to do this.’" He's talkign abotu QBs. The rap on Turner is he doesn't 'practice well', maybe that means "try in practice". We saw how well that worked out for him last week. The kid needs to wake up, get a haircut, and get it.

Posted by: Lee | September 11, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with ck. The fault ultimately falls on the coaches. To quote Ralph directly “What I am having trouble getting through is, in order to create a habit, you have to do it in practice. When you get out there and play on Saturday, it has to be instinctive" Well, who's in charge of practice? I'm sure Mark Richt, Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll ect don't have this problem. It's not about talent. The talent those coaches have on their teams have nothing to do with this discussion. The point is, their players do it the way it's taught day after day in practice. If they don't, they don't play or they are sent down the road. It's up to the coaches to get players to be consistent. Yes the kids have to go out on the field and make plays, but Ralph said himself that it starts in practice.

Posted by: virtueandvice | September 11, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I think at each level of football you have players who can achieve positive results in a game even with bad technique or practice skills because they have great talent. There are obviously less of these players at the pro level but there are some. Most of these guys who get division 1 scholarships can do well in high school games by being bigger, faster, more athletic than most of their peers. When they get to college, the numbers that can get by on just talent drops. It is up to the coaches to instill in these players that they need to work hard to achieve at the college level. Some will get it and some wont. Maybe something in the Maryland coaches communicating style is not sinking in with the players. And if the coaches are doing everything humanly possible to convey the right messages and the players still arent getting it--then maybe they arent recruiting the right type of players.

Posted by: zman | September 11, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I kind of have this theory about the types of players in D1 sports. You have 3 types of players/recruits.

Type 1 is highly skilled and highly motivated. These are your future pros. They go to USC, Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida in football; UNC, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA (now), etc in basketball.

Then you have Type 2, highly skilled by motivation may be an issue. They are highly recruited because the skill is there but if you can get a Type 1 you don't take them. Maybe they turn into a superstar like Randy Moss, Allen Iverson, etc. Maybe they don't Felipe Lopez, Maurice Clarrett, etc.

Then you have Type 3, highly motivated, but the skill (or size) isn't there. Lets just name Terps: Lonny Baxter, Juan Dixon, Scott McBrien, EJ Henderson (to an extent); they can be pros but it'll be hard to be a star at the next level.

So a team full of Type 1's is going to win. And a mix of type 1's and 2's works too because the type 1's get the 2's to work hard. A mix of 2's and 3's can even work because the 3's keep the 2's honest. What MD football (and basketball) seems to have fallen into is a team full of Type 2's. The guys recruited by the big schools that are dropped when a Type 1 commits. The team has a bunch of talented players and nobody plays hard. The team is inconsistent. Some of these are better recruits than MD got in the past on paper but whent he team is full of talented knuckleheads it does't win. You get guys like Vernon Davis, Shawne Merriman, Darius Heyward-Bey who pan out and you get guys who don't Josh Portis apparently, Greivas Vasquez, Eric Hayes....

It's like both the basketball and football program acehived a level of success which open the door to a new level of recruit. But the Type 1's get the offer from USC/UNC and the Type 2's don't. We end up with a team full of Type 2's that ends up being worse than a team full of Type 3's... Just a thought...

Posted by: Lee | September 11, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Everything Ralph said makes sense, but here's the rub - this is not a problem unique to Maryland. Every college coach has to deal with this. The problem is that Ralph does not seem to be getting through any more, like he did his first 3 years.

Clearly this is the coaches responsibility.

Posted by: Scott | September 11, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

In my mind the blame falls to the coaches. When Ralph first came to MD he didn't have nearly the talent he has now so he adjusted the playbook and scheming to the talent he had and was really very successful. Since he was successful for the first three years he started to get much better talent but instead of continuing to adjust to the talent he has now, he has gone to his playbook without any variation and I am not sure that you will find many players that will fit that super large playbook. Successful coaches adapt to the talent they have not make the talent adjust to them. Right now we have talent that would seem to be well suited to the spread but we have gone to the west coast O. Yes, it falls on the coaches for not adjusting to the talent they have on board now.

Posted by: Paco in Ajijic | September 11, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

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