Sunday Chat With Friedgen
Just finished with Ralph Friedgen’s Sunday teleconference. Friedgen is not up to giving a thorough evaluation of the season as a whole until it ends with a bowl game. The Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, is still the most likely destination at this point, and Maryland could play undefeated Boise State. There are rumblings about Boise State trying to play Ball State somewhere, but that could just mean that another Western Athletic Conference team, such as Fresno State or Nevada, opposing the Terrapins. The one good thing for Maryland would be that there would be no expectations of ticket sales if Maryland heads to Boise because no one would expect many fans to travel.
There remains a very slim chance at Nashville, and a slim chance at Charlotte. The chances for Charlotte would be a little bit greater if West Virginia winds up there. But right now, it looks like Charlotte has its eye on North Carolina.
The real wild card now is if a seven-win ACC team can and wants to get shipped out to fill one of the at-large slots in a bowl game. North Carolina State, with only six wins, would be a prime candidate as well. A few bowl slots open up across the country because some conferences, namely the SEC and Big 12, will land multiple teams in BCS games.
Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow sent Friedgen an email Sunday with some at-large bowl possibilities. I didn’t see the email, obviously, but those likely include the Texas Bowl in Houston (where Maryland could take on a Conference USA team); the Motor City Bowl in Detroit (where Maryland could take on a MAC team); or the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. (where Maryland could take on a Sun Belt team).
But the most likely scenario involves Maryland headed west (Boise) for the second straight year. “I don’t think we have a lot of choice,” Friedgen said. “If we won yesterday, I think we would have had better options.” Friedgen talked about beating a few of the teams the Terrapins are tied with, but he also acknowledged that a lot of the selection process hinges on location and that “probably doesn’t bode well for Boston College or us.”
On the injury front, Friedgen said he expects everyone who got hurt yesterday to be back for the bowl game, and that includes receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who did not play because of a strained calf. Travis Ivey and Dion Armstrong have bad ankles. Bruce Campbell hurt his shoulder. Cory Jackson is also banged up. Emani Lee-Odai will have an MRI exam on his ankle.
Friedgen expects to give his team a week to heal before getting back to practice. He also plans on giving players a rest during final exams. The prime task in practice, he said, will be improving the running game, which racked up minus-six yards yesterday.
“We have regressed in run blocking and in the running game,” he said. “The running game is a huge focus. You can’t just not run the football. We’re better than that.”
On a few occasions, he said, effective blocks were made, but the wrong cuts were made. Da’Rel Scott looked for more than was there.
Friedgen liked the way the defense played, particularly up front.
He also applauded the effort of his players. He was very disappointed last night but felt better after watching the tape Sunday.
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