Yow's baseline expectation: a 7-5 record in 2010
Check out the story Steve Yanda and I wrote for today's paper. When I asked Athletic Director Debbie Yow whether there was a bar she wanted Coach Ralph Friedgen to meet next season, she said: "I would anticipate that in the regular season we would have a winning season. We play 12 games, so I would anticipate that we would be 7-5 at least in the regular season."
So now we know what the bar is for next season. Friedgen needs at least an improvement of five victories to meet the clear and public minimum expectations established by his athletic director. Achieving a winning record in the regular season will be a challenge.
Consider the schedule: Maryland opens the season at Navy in Baltimore. The Terrapins also play a nonconference game at West Virginia. In conference play, Maryland travels to Miami. The Terps also get a Jimbo Fisher-led Florida State team at home.
Consider the offensive line: The talented wide receivers should be improved. The talented running backs should be improved. Quarterback Jamarr Robinson (or one of the younger QBs) should be improved. The offensive line can only get better, but Maryland loses center Phil Costa and could very well lose hulking left tackle Bruce Campbell to the NFL draft -- who could blame him? The line needs to take significant steps forward. Maryland needs a running game after not having one this season.
Special teams play should be a strength. The defense should improve in the second year of coordinator Don Brown's system. But play at cornerback needs to improve in a hurry. The linebacker corps should really be a strength. Safety Kenny Tate could turn into the player coaches envision him to be.
Overall, Maryland has young talent all over the field. But Maryland needs to get off to a fast start despite a difficult nonconference season in 2010, and the Terrapins need to be competitive in the ACC in order to achieve at least a 7-5 regular season record to satisfy the expectations of Yow. If Friedgen does not reach that mark, we're all back in the same situation next December, and the cost to bid farewell to Friedgen is $2 million cheaper. And the cost to say goodbye to Friedgen and coach-in-waiting James Franklin would be a total of $3 million.
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