Friedgen: 'We won't be taking our lumps next year'
An emotional Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen vowed Tuesday that next season’s Terrapins team will be vastly improved but declined to address his job security during a weekly news conference that touched upon a wide range of issues.
When I asked Friedgen what he would say to fans who are considering canceling season tickets because of frustration over recent struggles, Friedgen said, “We are going to grow from this experience, and we are going to be better from this experience, and we are going to appreciate winning maybe more than we have in the past. The future is pretty bright. We took our lumps this year. But we won’t be taking our lumps next year. That is what I would tell them.”
Friedgen choked up several times during a 27-minute news conference that was attended by his wife, Gloria, as well as Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow, who attends each Friedgen news conference. Friedgen’s coaching future will be determined after Yow meets with Friedgen in the days following Saturday’s season finale against Boston College. Yow conducts season-ending evaluations with all her coaches, but Friedgen’s job is in question because of a 2-9 (1-6 ACC) record this season and four losing seasons in the past six years.
Friedgen talked at length about his optimism for next season because of the emergence of quarterback Jamarr Robinson and other quarterback prospects, as well as his excitement about the potential of several young players who have seen significant action this season. Friedgen said he feels he needs help in the secondary and that a more athletic offensive line would benefit the team as well.
When I asked Friedgen whether he wants his entire staff to return intact, he said it is premature to answer because he wants to evaluate the season in total after its conclusion.
Despite the worst record of his nine-year tenure, Friedgen said this team has been “one of the best teams I have ever had a chance to work with in terms of what type of people they are. They keep coming back. It has really been a privilege for me to work with them. As tough a year as it has been, I have never dreaded going to practice.”
Friedgen could have a quarterback decision Saturday. Chris Turner, who has not played since the Nov. 7 loss at North Carolina State, is questionable with an MCL injury. Jamarr Robinson, who has started the past two games, is probable with a leg injury. Friedgen said he would prefer not to burn redshirts of freshmen quarterbacks Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown, but “no guarantees.”
But what happens if Robinson re-aggravates the injury during the game? One particular local beat writer asked Friedgen whether he would trade using O’Brien for less than a full game in 2009 for the opportunity to have him for the entire 2013 season.
“Right now I would trade a lot for a win,” Friedgen said. “Maybe you.”
The crowd roared.
“Whatever it takes,” Friedgen said. “Right now I want to see these kids get a win.”
November 24, 2009; 3:43 PM ET
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