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Friedgen may need to make staff changes to save job

Steve Yanda and I followed up Sunday's story --- which said that Coach Ralph Friedgen's $4 million buyout will not prevent the school from making a change -- with another story today about Friedgen's future, which is now in doubt.

Here is the link.

Sources tell us that Friedgen may need to make multiple staff changes in order to save his job.

What does everyone think about the current situation? Feel free to email me at I look forward to your emails.

By Eric Prisbell  |  November 23, 2009; 9:11 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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"Sources tell us..." this and that. No hints, of course, about the credibilities of these 'sources'. Could be one or two low level functionaries that have grudges; could be outside troublemakers who succeeded in fooling Steve Yanda. It seems doubtful that Debbie Yow or responsible officers in the Provost's or President's offices would leak to the Post. Maryland is in a very bad position financially, like many many state universities. It's also doubtful that senior administrators think that they can succeed in the short and medium term to transform the football program into a huge money spinner without infusing the program with greatly increased resources. Under present circumstances, therefore, firing the football coaching staff would have only negative effects and serve only to mollify thoughtless critics, some of whom infest this blog. There's no upside to pulling down the temple. Let's keep Ralph Friedgen and his staff for the duration of their contracts and then revisit the issue in two years.

Posted by: AncientTerp | November 23, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Ancient Terp. I would be absolutely shocked if Maryland buys out Friedgen's contract.

We're talking 4-5 million for an athletic department that has had it's budget cut by a substantial margin the past year. The University itself is suffering from budget cuts as well.

Let's quit the rampant speculation backed up by unnamed sources and move on to factual reporting.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | November 23, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Save the money this Winter. Let Friedgen have another season with a lot of players coming back (though the OL and DB areas will need to be quickly revamped - if Campbell declares, then the OL is in serious trouble - again).

Require him to make staff changes? Fine. Make next season a test for Friedgen and an audition for Franklin. If both aren't up to scratch, then get rid of them for $2 million less next December.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 23, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Let's quit the rampant speculation backed up by unnamed sources and move on to factual reporting.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | November 23, 2009 10:49 AM

Do you not know how print journalism works? No one is going to go on record with such sensitive information - so of course there will be "unnamed sources". Sheesh - it's funny how the commentariat complain when Post reporters get scooped by Internet hacks with unnamed sources - but then also complain when the Post digs up valuable info using unnamed sources. It's how every story breaks.

Also, the sources are obviously known by Prisbell, Yanda and their editors to be in a respectable position at/around the program. There's clearly something behind this. Even if it's smoke and mirrors from the athletic department (putting Friedgen's feet to the coals), there's still relevance in having it published by the Post.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 23, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I support the Fridge 100%. He's had one bad season here in 9 years. He is the only coach that has won at UMd in the past 25 years. He deserves the chance of turning the program around. After all, he's the won that put UMd football back on the map!

Posted by: aviscardo | November 23, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Seasons like this were the norm before Fridge got here. In the 90's you couldn't give away tickets. It has definitely been frustrating, but I don't see any benefit in firing him and eating his contract. Franklin hasn't given us any reason to think he would be better.

OK, don't give up your sources, but give us something concrete. You're saying nothing. What kind of staff changes are they alluding to? The defense was God-awful at the end of the game, but they have shown signs of improvement. These young guys might pan out next year, we need some continuity.

Posted by: GerrardorTorres | November 23, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think the big thing that Fridge needs to do is promote a new Recruiting Coordinator because Solazzo just isn't getting it done if these recruits are turning out and staying with the program. Also, if he is in charge of the defensive line, some consideration about his coaching skills needs to be questioned because obviously there isn't much production there. He's a great coach and has great passion because everyone in the world can see it but right now it's not about cheerleading, it's about execution. And if he is the recruiting coordinator, then why isn't he focusing on getting great players for the position he coaches?

It wouldn't surprise me if Don Brown is given that title or he even appoints Franklin to that role because of his recruiting abilities. And if Franklin is going to be the future head coach, then he needs to start pulling in some of his buddies so that there can be stability and we can start to regain momentum in the recruiting battle for in-state players. Especially the guys that can recruit.

Does anyone agree with me on this instead of just taking shots at the Prisbell and Yanda? Can't there be any decent input or opinions? I mean I'm assuming most people on this blog went to Maryland and have there degrees and would be able to make intelligent comments.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 23, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

DieHardTerp: you hit the nail on the head... Salazzo needs to go. The last few classes when he's been recruiting coordinator are not impressive overall. Franklin consistently got Top 25 classes when he was in charge. I don't like Franklin's play calling and lack of adjustments, but he can recruit.

Posted by: TerpFan2001 | November 23, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

MAke changes in his staff??? what the H*** does that mean? Get rid of the D-coordinator that's been here a yr? Get rid of the offensive coordinator/ coach in waiting? Would love to see that one, as I'll put the blame for several losses squarely on his shoulders. So what, youre going to get rid of Sollazzo, the D-line coach and recruiting coordinator- not likely to see any dramatic change on the field with that move. This is ridiculous

Posted by: asnis715 | November 23, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Actually, getting rid of your recruiting coordinator and someone who has been around the program for so long is a major thing. Recruiting is our biggest pitfall right now and is why we are in this position so the people in that role need to be held accountable. And they won't get rid of Brown or Franklin. What they're saying is that people who have been here for a while since his prize team of Blackney, etc. left after the third year have not been performing and they would be the people that would go. Why do you think fresh blood was brought in more recently on defense and special teams instead of promoting from within?

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 23, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

This years team is very young and there have been a bunch of injuries. Lets keep everyone in place and see what happens next year. I for one, would be a bit upset if the University uses state funds to buy out the football coach when I'm getting 4 furlough days this fiscal year. It sounds like the athletic department's estimates were a bit ambitious regarding season tickets and luxury suites. This economy hasn't helped Terrapin Club donations or tickets sales.

I also remember how a lot of people wanted Gary Williams to be fired last winter. Boy how things have changed with the basketball program. Just because you hire a new coach doesn't mean you will be a better team. You could get worse. Then who would we blame? Debbie Yow?

Posted by: drj09 | November 23, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Amen to every one of these comments. Great to see that though a lot of us may disagree about this or that aspect of the team, we almost unanimously support Ralph Friedgen to stay as head coach next year.

Debbie Yow is getting the message loud and clear:


Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It bothers me that people use the excuse that "every season was like this in the 90s." Yeah, they lost a lot of games, but they also didn't charge anything to park, tickets were cheaper, no one demanded that Gossett Team House be built, the coach wasn't getting paid millions, and it didn't give the general appearance that money was being funneled into the football program right and left. It certainly looks that way now, so the expectation would be that the team would be consistently competitive. Besides his first three years, the team has been mediocre. He was winning with another coaches' players, like it or not. Has he recruited a decent quarterback since he has been at Maryland? All the back ups are totally unprepared in the event that they need to play. The point is that Friedgen used those first years as leverage to hike up his salary, first and foremost, then ticket prices, parking fees, build additional seats, build a luxury team house, etc. and where is the result? Where are the top recruits? How do you explain having so many recent former Terps as prominent NFL players, yet the teams at Maryland weren't even winning the ACC? If they were performing at this same level in 1996 without all of that, then haven't we all been had? At least then people could afford to go to the games.

Posted by: spret07 | November 23, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but the differnce between Gary and Fridge is Gary produced and Fridge didn't and he's stated the same things over and over. I'm not calling for his head. I think he should have the opportunity to turn things around but if he's not 100% committed, then he needs to step down and not let this get completely out of control and get worse than it already is. Does anyone want a coach that's not giving it his all?

Right now, I feel like he's not holding himself or the people around him accountable based on his comments. And that's definitely not having a committment to the program and could be one of the reasons why recruits haven't stuck with us. When these kids make a committment, they're committing their lives to this and the same needs to be returned from Fridge.

You can only count character so many times and while I'm in support of that, there are character kids who are talented, leaving this state for other programs when they should be coming to Maryland. And if the kids they recruit have so much character, why are so many walking away from the program and leaving from a committment they made? Yes, you're going to have people leave but having them leave for uncharacteristic reasons is not acceptable. Does anyone agree with this?

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan and will never give up my seats but step outside the fan shoes for a minute and look at this from an outsiders perspective and think about how you look at other programs. I know these things I say may sound harsh or like I'm not a fan, but I want to see this team in the national title talk again. It's time to take the blinders off and be objective and to question the things and sometimes, that can be tough as a fan.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 23, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Everyone has the perception that we are or want to be an elite program when recently, nothing backs that up other than 3 years and that's not nearly enough. It's time to face reality and start asking questions and getting us down the path to become elite which will still take a number of year or even decades because it doesn't happen over night.

If you're a fan and really want Fridge and this program to improve, stop babying things and step up to the plate and start asking the tough questions. These questions aren't even attacking the program and are no different than asking them of another program anyone as a fan would ask and should ask themselves of their own team if they want to be the best. And it's the people who perservere through this who come out on top and are successful.

Fridge has had rebound seasons and I think as fans, if we still show support and push him to be an even better coach or make him realize that it is time for a changing of the guard, that would be his own decision and not a decision of the Athletic Department, then the Maryland Football Program will be better off in the long haul.

If not, I guess we're ok with being an ok program with a few good years every now and then. I'm not and I'm going to continue to ask questions and put ideas out there to help my alma mater improve.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | November 23, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The problem I have with unnamed sources is that they aren't always reliable. For example, I read a few days ago that Michael Wilbon cited "reliable" sources that said that Rich Rodriguez was going to be fired at Michigan. Then today I read an article on ESPN that claims their unnamed sources say that Rich Rod will remain at Michigan.

I will say this in Friedgen's defense. He's run the program with integrity. Unlike a lot of other schools, the players have stayed out of trouble. There have been a few altercations, etc but not the DWI's and armed robberies you see at other schools. I also believe he values academics.

While I disagree with the direction he's been taking the team on the field, he should be commended for integrity and character.

I say there's a 75% chance he remains coach at least for one more year.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | November 23, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

dl and ol coaches, if not both than dl. he has done nothing with recruits

Posted by: jack51 | November 24, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

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