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Poll: Should Friedgen return?

I just finished my final version of my story from Byrd Stadium.

Maryland lost 19-17.

Maryland has its first 10-loss season in school history.

Coach Ralph Friedgen said he expects to be back.

Friedgen said he has some ideas for changes offensively and defensively but declined to elaborate.

There will be no teleconference for Friedgen tomorrow.

By Eric Prisbell  |  November 28, 2009; 9:49 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Friedgen-Yow talks began Sunday


As a UVa fan, I have mixed feelings.

However, the cost of the buyout is ridiculous. Give him another year.

Posted by: Towson_Tiger | November 29, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I’ve been a Terrapin Club member for over 15 years and a season ticket holder for the last 10. I’m in the ranks of those who are frustrated and disappointed with the performance and the direction of the program. I had hoped that Friedgen could deliver competitive teams, consistently ranked in the top 25, that’s made up of good kids, bona fide students. I haven’t given up on that vision. Frustrated as I am, I hope McMillen’s statement reflects the way in which administrators go about making crucial decisions on leadership of the football program. Those decisions are strategic ones that need to be made with thoughtful urgency. While there’s some basis for optimism about next season, the trend of the past five years raises stronger doubts about the long term for the program. From the outside looking in these questions come to mind:
1) Is there a clear vision for the program that administration and the fan base universally support? It does not seem so now.
2) Are we prepared to make the wholesale changes that may be needed to position us to realize that vision? Evidence of an unhealthy working relationship between the AD and the coaches (the department’s feud with Williams that went public this year, the decision to commit to an heir apparent to Friedgen and the issue of the assistant coaches bonuses) suggests a leadership style of micro-management and weak people skills.
3) Are there prospective coaches that we can realistically pursue now?

Posted by: DonRoberto1 | November 29, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I love Ralph. I appreciate all he's done and I don't believe that this team was 2-10 bad. I want to find reasons for him to return and I believe that, in most cases, the team's youth and a somewhat more promising recruiting effort should secure him another chance. (I also believe all this talk is moot, because it's going to cost too much to get rid of him.)

But when I think back on some of his decisions this year, the unneccessarily burned redshirts, dumb playcalling, yesterday's seemingly arbitrary QB personnel decisions (think there was any sense to it? read prisbell, yanda, and the box score today and you'll get three different versions of who played when), etc etc. I'm just not sure I can support him as our coach any more. It pains me to write this, but I'm not sure how to rationally think that he would be the best coach for us next year.

Posted by: ICBomber | November 29, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see the football program and athletic department try to do something to improve the culture of terps football. Even though we don't have a true rival, why don't we make an effort to create one? It seems like we are the only school that does not have a team that we can play as the last game of the season and generate some excitement for. I think at one point we had a trophy that was passed back and forth with UVA. Whether it is Navy, WVU, or even PSU we should have something. It would certainly help attendance. Recently it has been said that PSU would only play us in a 2 for 1 deal and we refused. At this point, what do we have to lose? PSU is already taking recruits from this area and the game they signed to play at FedEx Field is only going to make it worse. We have little to lose and a lot to gain. I hope next year's schedule generates some more excitement. With that being said, winning would sure help too.

Posted by: garrett4 | November 29, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how anyone who followed this team through the 90's couldn't feel a little indebted to Coach Ralph. I don't care that he did most of his winning with Vanderlinden's players. The bottom line is that he won. Didn't the possibility of going to six bowl games in nine years seem ridiculous not so long ago? I'm not saying that we should put a statue of him in front of Byrd, but he's earned the chance to finish out his contract.

There's also this odd notion out there that the pro-Friedgen camp is happy with mediocrity or is somehow afraid of winning. Does this mean that every school that really, really, really wants to win and makes a coaching change suddenly does great? There are no guarantees and instability in the program may do more harm.

Finally, I wish the haters would stop with the fat jokes. They are in serious need of some new material. Might help their credibility too.

Posted by: skd2 | November 29, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

ICBomber said it well - Ralph is a guy who I really want to root for, and he was great the first few years.

But then the bad decisions started. It began with Joel Statham, and continued with other QB's. He never seems to pick the right player. Going for it on our own 29 yesterday was the most recent example.

He seems caught up in his emotions and does not make rational decisions. We need a new start. Sorry Ralph.

Posted by: srcog | November 29, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The stock market adage, "Cut your losses and let your profits run," argues for the dismissal of coaches with losing seasons. Unfortunately, the premium paid to get rid of the old coach can be recouped only by many wins for the new chosen one - which are easier to project than to achieve - just ask Notre Dame about that.
In Charlottesville, the boosters apparently supplied the money to terminate Al Groh, a better coach than the FRIDGE. VIRGINIA can start with a clean coaching slate, if it wishes. MARYLAND has the Politically Correct Heir Apparent, who is part of the problem.
The MARYLAND football team LOST 10 games - and to get rid of the coach and the assistant will cost FIVE MILLION DOLLARS that may be difficult to find.
For such a marvelous situation, we can only THANK YOU, DEBBIE.

Posted by: lmiller328 | November 29, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Maybe IF I capitalize RANDOM words, my arguments will be STRONGER.

Posted by: ICBomber | November 29, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

If Ralph gets to finish his contract through next season, the one that will be on the hot seat will be Franklin. I will give maryland a mulligan for the lack of experience and key injuries this year. I'm especially proud of the way we played against both FSU and BC by hanging in there as best we can and not giving up. That showed true character.

But next year will be different. There will be no more excuses as to talent or experience. Unless this team can find ways to win, they will be doomed to mediocre purgatory for a long time. And the playcalling needs to greatly improve. If this team doesn't respond to both Franklin and Fridge next year, then neither of them deserve the chance to come back. So at this point, if both return, then it will be Franklin's time to sweat. Maybe Yow's, too.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | November 29, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The Post is way behind the Sun covering the Terps. They have already reported that Yow and Friedgen have completed the first round of "talks." He's going to have to make staff changes and get a new recruiting coordinator. It looks like Ralph survived the axe.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | November 29, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

imterpsfan2: If those statements are true, it's a very good sign. Yow's job is on the line too so she will do what's best for the program.

Posted by: TerpFan2001 | November 30, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, when did our society become so impatient? Ralph has gone to bowl games the past 3 years. Before he got here, we went to one bowl game in the previous 15 years! It was the Pollan Weadeater Independence Bowl and it ended in a tie against Louisiana Tech. To those people who think Bill Cowher is sitting around waiting to coach the Terps, it's not gonna happen. Ralph has had one miserable season during his tenure. The risk of getting a new coach is much higher than giving Ralph time to turn it around. It's more likely that any new coach would suck just as much as Duffner or Vandy. Give Ralph a chance to turn it around!

Posted by: aviscardo | November 30, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

If you take away Fridge's best 3 seasons and his worst 3 seasons, what you are left with is 2006, 2007, 2008. Let's break down those 3 seasons to see what an "average" season at MD under Fridge has looked like:


Sam Hollenbach's senior year. Terps were in first place in our division for most of the year, became the only team to beat FSU and Miami in same year, and had they won their season finale, Terps would have gone on to the ACC Championship game against Gtech--a team they almost beat on the road earlier in the season. Ended season with 9 wins and a blowout win in the sunny Florida Citrus bowl game in a late December.


With Hollenbach gone, and an injuries all over the O-line, it was a rebuilding year. After meltdown loss at Wake to start the ACC season, Terps rebounded to win 3x over top 25 teams, included 2 over top 10 teams. Needing to win finale at NC State to become bowl eligible, the Terps dominated in a 37-0 blowout. Season ended in an Emerald bowl loss to Oregon State.


With an experience O-line and an experienced QB in Chris Turner, the Terps again led their division for much of the season and looked headed to the ACC Championship game until their home finale loss vs a hot Florida State team. Season ended by putting up 42 points on Nevada and winning the Humanitarian Bowl.

To recap, these were the "average" years in the Fridge tenure...and most if not all Terps fans got plenty enjoyment out of those seasons. So take away Fridge's best seasons (2001-2003) and the worst (2004, 2005, 2009) and the middle ground seasons were still some pretty exciting years for Terps fans.

Side note: Terps did not play Duke in any of these 3 seasons due to a scheduling quirk. Duke went 1-23 in ACC play over these 3 seasons. In all likelihood, if MD had Duke on their schedule in 2006 or 2008, we'd have gone on to the ACC championship game both years.

So in even average seasons under Coach Friedgen, MD has contended for the ACC title.

Coach Stays.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 30, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

If the Sun report is true, it sounds like the program might be heading in the right direction. Yes, an improvement in recruiting is an absolute necessity, regardless of who is the coach. Severing ties with a few of his underperforming assistants makes sense as well. Firing Ralph - not sure that it makes sense after one repugnant season (and to be fair, a few disappointing ones over the last few years). do not care about "creating" a rivalry. The only potential one I see is with WVU; for years it was UVA but now VA Tech is in the conference. We saw how playing Penn St. went for us back through the 70s and 80s and am not interested in going there again.

We have put a ton of o-linemen in the pros, which is what makes this year so frustrating. Most of the teams issues stem from the lack of an offensive line. I blame recruiting more than any other one issue for this. I think if ralph gave himself a bit of a vacation and came back re-charged, we would see a quick turn-around next year. Not sure about Franklin - it is hard to see a successful o-coordinator without an adequate o-line.

The right answer at this point imho is to address the reight incremental changes over a wholesale change. The next guy would get a pass for a year or two under the "rebuilding." I think a return to respectability is more likely with Ralph leading the charge.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | November 30, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

barno - thanks for the insights. We an cut the data a million different ways, but in the end, when was the last time MD fielded a consistent winner prior to Ralph? Bobby Ross? I also think that the team on hand is similar to the one Ralph inherited from Vanderlinden - he's done it before, maybe he can do it again. However, unless we see improvement in the offense, not sure that buying Franklin out would be a mistake.

Posted by: HughGRection | November 30, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You'd be hard pressed to find another team in Division I that has had 10 losses and the vast majority of their fan base still wanted their head coach back. The fact that we had 10 losses and still only 39% think our coach shouldn't return, according to this poll, is pretty telling. The fans love Fridge, they know this year was an aberration due to injuries and being the second youngest team in DI, and they know he'll get us back to being an annual contender in the ACC sooner rather than later.

Also telling was the 35,000+ in attendance, despite a 2-9 record, despite the student body away on Thanksgiving break, and despite a windchill in the 30s. And it seemed like a legit 35,000, not just number of tickets sold. The lower bowl was at capacity minus the students, and even the upper deck was about half full. The fans showed how much they support this team and their coach, even at the end of the toughest year in memory.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 30, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, so they fire the Fridge. Do you really think the guy who was in control of the offensive this year is going to do a better job?
Your crazy if you think so...

Posted by: jenkij | November 30, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

OK, so they fire the Fridge. Do you really think the guy who was in control of the offensive this year is going to do a better job?
Your crazy if you think so...

Posted by: jenkij | November 30, 2009 12:22 PM

Nope. Franklin was handed the promotion because Debbie Yow wanted their next head coach to be a minority. She has made this quite clear in public comments regarding Franklin's promotion. If the Fridge is forced out, he could very well have an anti-discrimination case against the university--and who could blame him?

From the press conference announcing Franklin's promotion

"When the time comes when you find an ethnic minority I think that it is icing on the cake. I think it is a good thing because James is the right person." -Debbie Yow

From this article

"Only because Franklin is a 'qualified minority,' according to Yow, did College Park administrators willingly agree to his preemptive promotion. 'It’s part of our fabric,' she said of affirmative hiring."

Friedgen gets fired, he could take this to court--and win. Not that he would do it, but he could if he wanted to.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 30, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Things that make you go hmmmm...

Pre Friedgen 1993-2000: 32,582 average attendance

With Friedgen 2001-2009: 49,187 average attendance

Posted by: Barno1 | November 30, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

To the people who want to fire Ralph, remember the days of Duffner and Vandy. Maryland couldn't get close to 500 in those years, they were absolutely miserable. They need to get better recruiting. We rarely get a "4" ranked player while other ACC schools and Penn State get many 4's and some 5's. I don't know how we can judge Franklin when he hasn't yet been the head coach.

Posted by: sruppert | November 30, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I really feel for Ralph. In my many years since as a Maryland fan and graduate ('72), of all the football coaches that Maryland has had, no one has given as much of himself to this school (not to mention his Alma Mater) than Ralph. My personal opinion of the situation is that over the years since his hiring, the quality of players that Maryland has gotten has gone considerably down. Most of them were/are incapable of learning Ralph's very complex playbook. If there is anyone to blame for Maryland's gradual demise in football prowess, I feel it has to be the recruiting staff for Maryland. Maryland needs to evaluate who it has out there doing the recruiting and give the boot to those who are not doing their job to get the better players, not Ralph.

Part of the proof of the fact that Maryland hasn't recruited the better players is that there is currently no quarterback in the NFL (other than Shawn Hill) that graduated from Maryland. In the twilight of Boomer Esiason's career, in addition to Boomer, there were four other Maryland-graduated quarterbacks in the NFL at the same time (though I can't remember all of them now). The only major Maryland players I recall immediately that played for Ralph and made names for themselves in the NFL in varying degrees have been Shawn Hill, E.J. Henderson, and Stephon Heyer.

Look at the recruiting staff and the players they're getting, don't fire Ralph!

Posted by: disappointed | November 30, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I think the Fridge should stay, but only because there isn't much time left on his contract. If he had mulitple years left, it would be time for him to go.

Recruiting needs a lot of improvement, so they'd better get their act together.

Posted by: SirPelleas | November 30, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This was really bad year but to fire Fridge at this point would be idiocy. He's earned the benefit of the doubt. Some people just have amazingly short memories. Now obviously if this becomes the norm then a change will have to be made but if he is fired I will seriously consider cancelling my season tickets.

Posted by: ouvan59 | November 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Ralph was the disciplinarian, the guy who broke the blackboard, the a$$-kicker for Bobby Ross. When he got Vanderlinden's recruits, he won. They were recruited by Barack, and found themselves working for Rahm. But Ralph had to change his personality to recruit, because young AAU Marcus Vicks will not willingly sign up for four years of Hell. And it was Marcus Vick who said that the thing that surprised him most was the lack of "athleticism" by Maryland players. (Yes-such sportsmanship after crushing the Terps- but refreshingly honest.) Ralph was a great head coach for a bunch of under-achievers who were stuck here. It's been down hill ever since.

Posted by: flynnie2 | November 30, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The only major Maryland players I recall immediately that played for Ralph and made names for themselves in the NFL in varying degrees have been Shawn Hill, E.J. Henderson, and Stephon Heyer.

Posted by: disappointed | November 30, 2009 1:40 PM

You had a good post until you got to this part. Not sure if you watch pro football or not--doesn't seem like it--but you think only 3 guys have made names for themselves and one of them is Stephon Heyer??

Ok, here's how this works: You post something about there not being a lot of Friedgen's players making names for themselves to varying degrees in the NFL. Then I list all those players. Then someone will chime in that the list is proof that he hasn't gotten the most out of his players while they were with the terps.

Friedgen's NFL players: Rob Abiamiri, Lance Ball, Brooks Barnard, Kevin Barnes, Conrad Bolston, C.J. Brooks, Chase Bullock, Scott Burley, Jon Condo, Curome Cox, Andrew Crummey, Vernon Davis, Chris Downs, Jeff Dugan, Moise Fokou, Melvin Fowler, Dominique Foxworth, Jared Gaither, Isaiah Gardner, Dan Gronkowski, Joey Haynos, E.J. Henderson, Erin Henderson, Stephon Heyer, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Charles Hill, Shaun Hill, Sam Hollenbach, David Holloway, D'Qwell Jackson, Leon Joe, William Kershaw, Keon Lattimore, James Lynch, Gerrick McPhearson, Shawne Merriman, Derek Miller, Dre Moore, Dean Muhtadi, Matt Murphy, Jeremy Navarre, Nick Novak, Tony Okanlawon,Rich Parson, Bruce Perry, Dave Philistin, Adam Podlesh, Dane Randolph, Durrand Roundtree, Randy Starks, Jaimie Thomas, Todd Wike, Edwin Williams, Isaiah Williams, Madieu Williams, Dennard Wilson, Josh Wilson,

Posted by: Barno1 | November 30, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"Sixty-five Cavaliers have gone onto the NFL after playing for Groh, including 22 selected in the NFL draft during the past five seasons. Groh produces NFL talent at a rate uncanny for a coach who has not had a 10-win season, much less a coach who might be unemployed in two weeks."

Groh Produces Pipeline to NFL From WaPo

So, Barno1, should the Terps hire Groh? He's got twice the number of players in the NFL.

Posted by: flynnie2 | November 30, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

When he got Vanderlinden's recruits, he won.... Ralph was a great head coach for a bunch of under-achievers who were stuck here. It's been down hill ever since.

Posted by: flynnie2 | November 30, 2009 3:21 PM

If you repeat a lie often enough, eventually people will believe it. Case in point, read the above post. A total fabrication based on nothing but an idiotic myth, but it's been posted on this blog so many times that some people have started to believe it.

For the record, Ralph Friedgen won with these guys his first 3 seasons...NONE of whom were signed by Vanderlinden and nearly all made it to the NFL

Scott McBrien
Josh Allen
Dominique Foxworth
Shawn Merriman
D'Qwell Jackson
Randy Starks
Adam Podlesh
Vernon Davis
Stephen Heyer
Andrew Crummey
Rich Parson
Josh Wilson
Madieu Williams
Derrick Miller
Wesley Jefferson
Dre Moore

This does not even include many great recruits from 2004-present.

As I've said before, even Shaun Hill was not really recruited by Vanderlinden, he was an afterthought nobody who transferred to MD the year before Fridge got here. Fridge was the one who gave him the keys to the offense and told Calvin McCall to stay with the bball team. But for some odd reason, there are a lot of people who believe Vanderlinden was some kind of recruiting God, when all of the evidence suggests otherwise.

The fact is, Friedgen has been an excellent recruiter and the numbers back this up. Both in how how his classes are typically ranked, and in how many of his guys have gone on to the NFL. But when you are 2-10, recruiting is what people love to point the finger at.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 30, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Sixty-five Cavaliers have gone onto the NFL after playing for Groh, including 22 selected in the NFL draft during the past five seasons. Groh produces NFL talent at a rate uncanny for a coach who has not had a 10-win season, much less a coach who might be unemployed in two weeks."

Groh Produces Pipeline to NFL From WaPo

So, Barno1, should the Terps hire Groh? He's got twice the number of players in the NFL.

Posted by: flynnie2 | November 30, 2009 4:03 PM

You're not really this stupid are you? First off, if you weren't too lazy to count the number of Friedgen's players listed above, you'd have seen he's had 57 players in the NFL. 65 is a far cry from "twice the number of players in the NFL" as 57. By my math, it's 8 more.

And UVA hasn't had nearly as many guys drafted in the first 3 rounds as MD has under Friedgen.

Take your nonsense elsewhere.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 30, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Ralph can stay but he needs a recruiter bad

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | November 30, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I hope Ralph stays and then there is an orderly transition to a new coach. I believe he has earned it. I see pieces of the puzzle on the team now, and I believe they will come together in the next two years.

Posted by: cmauro10 | November 30, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Look, here's the deal: Ralph is a nice guy but his teams are no longer competitive at Div I level. They are outplayed when they have inferior talent and are out-coached and out-hustled when they have superior talent. They are usually unprepared for the season which is why they start slow. He does not recognize talent (Steve Slayton) and his offenses are boring, predictable and low scoring. Defense is porous. He peaked in 2003 and has been downhill ever since. The only thing that allows him to eek into 2nd tier bowls is a weak non conference schedule and the recent change in bowl eligibility allowing ANYONE with 6 wins to get in. Pull out his wins against Div II schools and the picture is pretty pathetic over the last 5 years. Any half-a**ed coach can pull together a "plan" when he is danger of getting fired but a real coach would have done this 2 years ago. Yow will keep him because she will be too embarrassed to go to the President with a $5M bill and have to admit that she paid this flunky almost TWICE what Joe Paterno is getting paid!

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 30, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Barno - Friedgen has not been an excellent recruiter and I don't see how the numbers back it up. Urban Meyer, Mack Brown, Nick Saban, Jim Tressel, and Pete Carrol are excellent recruiters. Friedgen doesn't even come close.

Posted by: SirPelleas | December 1, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

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