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Friedgen Reflects on His Approach With Team

Wednesday nights with Coach Ralph Friedgen always promise to be a quick interview session because his schedule is tight and he has his radio show at 8. But this week’s session was fairly lengthy and interesting, as well. A lot was made of how much Friedgen liked this team in preseason camp and how he canceled one practice to take the team to the movies. Friedgen said Wednesday that he second-guessed that decision after the blowout loss to California but ultimately decided it was the right move because the players had been working hard. But what he said he probably has not done enough of is “insisting” that players run plays exactly the right way. It was an interesting self-analysis. It made me wonder: if you had not insisted players do it the right way, then what exactly had been going on in practice? Friedgen talked more about his view of this team after three frustrating weeks:

“I really enjoy being with these kids. I like these kids a lot. I talked to them today. I said, ‘The reason I like you is because you work so hard.’ What I am worrying about is them getting frustrated because they don’t do something right and they don’t put themselves in position to be successful. So all that work is not being productive. ‘Your hat has to be here, it can’t be over here.’ A guy has to get over to the A gap, all of the sudden he doesn’t get down the A gap and the play breaks. It is kind of a discipline thing. You’ve got to be precise. You can’t be just gray about it. It just can’t be almost. Probably have not done enough of that.

“In the past, I would make them do it right. In the past, the guys would not put forth the effort that these guys have, so that kind of irritated me. I would get irritated about that. Now I am just irritated when they don’t do it right because I see how hard they are working and I want them to be successful. Once they get success, then they get confidence and then we start rolling. So I’m just going to be my old self and make them do it the right way. Today I said: ‘Okay, there are no periods. Here are the plays we are going to run, and we are going to run them right. Could be a long period, could be a short period. It depends. Do it right, do it light. Do it wrong, do it long.’ After a while they’ve got to figure out, I got to do it right or we’ll be out here all night.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 24, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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How harshly do you criticize young players who are working hard? It is a tough scenario. It could prod them, but chances are it will discourage them.

It would not be good to be young and discouraged.

Posted by: kozora | September 24, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but you can't keep letting things slide. If you're not tough enough, what are they going to be like during the game and when you hold them accountable.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | September 24, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I doubt this team performed poorly because they went to the movies. Players after all are human beings. An occasional diversion from football probably helps.

I have never thought that Friedgen was soft on players.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | September 24, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that we hear Ralph go through this type of agonizing self analysis every year. Personally I'm getting tired of hearing it. Just win. Enough already.

Posted by: srcog | September 24, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

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