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A Softer Fridge? Franklin Says No Way.

One of the interesting subplots this week involved Coach Ralph Friedgen choosing to backtrack from some of his Saturday comments, which he now calls “emotional.” After the Middle Tennessee loss, Friedgen promised to get “real tough” on his team. This was really the first sign of agitation with this young team that, by all accounts, had worked hard from the start of preseason camp.

But on Sunday, Friedgen backed away from those comments when I asked him about them because he said the players are still working hard. Is Friedgen getting soft? Has he been soft since he canceled practice one day this August and took the squad to the movies.

When asked if too much has been made of Friedgen softening up, offensive coordinator James Franklin said:

“Yeah. He has been great and has spent a lot more time with players. But Ralph is a tough guy. We run a tough program. That’s his personality. That’s not going to change. That’s why we have been successful. People know around the league, if you play Maryland, you had better strap it on and be ready because our kids will be mentally and physically tough.”

Earlier in the conversation, Franklin again defended the toughness of Friedgen and the challenge of playing football at Maryland.

“These guys work as hard as anyone in the country,” Franklin said. “This is not a loosey-goosey program. We work them hard. We coach them hard. They work hard in the weight room. This is not an easy school. These guys go to class. They are getting a legitimate degree. We have had people try to transfer in here, and either you can’t get them into school – you look at their transcripts from other places – or they do get in here and can’t believe how much harder it is. This is 365 days a year, football, school.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 24, 2009; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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