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Defensive Communication Issues, Part 17

I was asked about Maryland’s defensive communication yesterday on Washington Post Live, which got me thinking about how much that issue has emerged over the course of the season. It has to be troubling to Coach Ralph Friedgen that there are still communication issues Week 11 into a season.

This was at least the third time communication has been an issue on the defensive side. Middle Tennessee. Virginia Tech. Florida State.

Here is what I wrote in the paper a few days after the Middle Tennessee game:

One problem that arose during Saturday's loss was poor defensive communication, occasional lapses that made it difficult for Maryland to combat Middle Tennessee's offense. The Blue Raiders controlled the ball for two-thirds of the game, and quarterback Joe Craddock completed 28 passes, threw for 256 yards and consistently found open receivers to sustain drives.

At times, Middle Tennessee rushed to the line of scrimmage to snap the ball before Maryland had properly aligned its defense. At other times, the Blue Raiders rushed to the line, only to evaluate Maryland's defense, let the play clock run and ultimately change the play. When the Terrapins tried to adjust, signals were crossed.

"When rushing around, everyone tends not to be focused," defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre said. "That definitely bothered us. We would hurry to the line of scrimmage and then the quarterback would take 20 seconds and change the play. But if we didn't hurry, they'd call the play right away.

Defensive back Jeff Allen said communication was the first thing Maryland focused on during Monday's practice. He said players need to look to the sideline longer to pick up signals and also communicate to one another on the field better before the ball is snapped. Friedgen said some of the defensive players are "introverts back there and it is not easy for them to come out and be vocal. They have to do that."

Another issue that arose was Maryland's lack of pressure on the quarterback. Middle Tennessee Coach Rick Stockstill said Monday that he was surprised Maryland did not rush his quarterback more, especially with his offensive line being so young. At times, the Blue Raiders had two redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen on the offensive line.

And then there was Virginia Tech, when a displeased Friedgen was forced to take a timeout and emphatically talk to defensive coordinator Chris Cosh about it, an exchange that was caught on national television.

Is this communication thing entirely on Cosh? Or does Friedgen take some of the blame for this for not seeing that it was corrected after the first or second time? If there are defensive changes in the offseason, do you want any other changes that don't involve Cosh?

By Eric Prisbell  |  November 25, 2008; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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I think its time for Cosh to go. He is a great recruiter but his defense has been awful 3 years in a row. May be Ralph should demote him to LB coach and promote one of position coaches. We need change on both Defense and Offense.

Posted by: bssd | November 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

It is pretty pathetic to see a defense that sends 1 or 2 players to the NFL every year ranked 100th nationally. Thats bad coaching/scheming plan and simple.

Posted by: Lee26 | November 25, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Yes. Cosh should go.

Posted by: aviscardo | November 25, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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