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Franklin did not give O'Brien a 'winning grade' after FIU game

Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien said Tuesday night that he has not been told yet whether he will start Saturday's game against Duke. He said he and Jamarr Robinson have been splitting reps in practice and that Robinson was still a little banged up because of his sore shoulder.

Whether he starts or not, O’Brien will be facing a familiar face Saturday in Duke Coach David Cutcliffe. Duke was the first school to offer O’Brien a college scholarship. “They have a great coaching staff,” O’Brien said. “I have a lot of great memories from them recruiting me.”

O’Brien earned ACC rookie of the week honors for his performance against FIU in his first career start. He threw two touchdown passes and did not throw an interception. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 250 yards.

“There were several plays I would love to have back,” O’Brien said. “I didn’t play a perfect game by any means. Missing a throw there, missing a hot read there.”

James Franklin, Maryland’s offensive coordinator, grades the quarterbacks after games. O’Brien said Franklin gave him a grade of 1.3 and that a "winning grade" is a 1.5.

“He’s tough,” O’Brien said. “He’s got high standards, but I kind of like that.”

By Eric Prisbell  | September 29, 2010; 1:06 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Turnover margin tells the story for Duke, Maryland


Who's grading Franklin?

Posted by: BD-EC | September 29, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@BD-EC: Totally agree. JF's playcalling has been suspect at best. It's sad, and his ego apparently has no limits as he cannot give encouragement to a redshirt Freshmen who could possibly be saving the jobs of JF and the rest of the coaching staff. I love Franklin's recruiting ability, but he needs to learn how to manage a game and call plays. Too much speed and talent on this Terps team.

Posted by: theotherripken8 | September 29, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The playcalling in this game was quite a bit better than the last three, but there were still some stupid plays run including the wildcat play on 3rd down.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 29, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The only person in the stadium who is fooled by the wildcat is Franklin...fooled for thinking that it is going to be a successful play! To quote Mr. T... "I pitty the fool"...
Then there's his other over-used favorite call...wide receiver screen right, wide receiver screen left...To quote Bugs Bunny..."what a maroooon".

Posted by: BD-EC | September 29, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the WR screen works well in practice, because our DBs are always playing 10-15 yards of their receivers, but most college teams play bump and run, or at least show a man look at the snap with the DBs close to the line.

Particularly the 1st down playcalling has been terrible. There's also been very little creativity on second and short. Those are the downs to try some wrinkle plays. In the first 5 years when Fridge was calling the plays, those were the downs he would pull out the option. That's not as likely with O'Brien and his tender ankle under center, but at least they could try some of those option looks on downs that don't destroy the possession.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 29, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Who's grading Franklin?
Posted by: BD-EC

Perfectly stated.

Posted by: bill_setzer | September 29, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

What is the point of this stupid grading scale, anyway? He won the game, didn't he? He's also a freshman, so he's going to make mistakes. Also, he will have disappointing games - it's part of growing. It reminds me of the DHS color-coded terror alert. Pretty much meaningless.

Posted by: SirPelleas | September 29, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Virgin Fest may have had something to do with students either leaving early or not showing up at all.

The noon start on a swealtering afternoon (at least on the north side of the stadium) along with the less than stellar opponent, didn't help things.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 29, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The winner is Russ on his assessment of Saturday. Columbia was overrun with young adults and Merriwether was packed. Once upon a time Wang Chung played a concert in the Student Union. They had three hits recently and were a big name, but for some reason, tickets weren't selling. So they made it free - that should get the kids to come.

What they did not realize was that GTown was in the FF that night and no one in the region was paying attention to anything else. The Diamondback reported that less than 10 students showed up...I guarantee quite a few more than that owned "everybody wang chung tonight."

Big concert vs. FB game against mediocre opponent...hmmm...where would you go if you were 21?

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | September 29, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Agree on Franklin. Honestly, he must have pics of Friedgen and Yow to have gotten the "Coach in Waiting" deal.

Posted by: kingrob76 | September 29, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Big concert vs. FB game against mediocre opponent...hmmm...where would you go if you were 21?"

I'm 35, and I went to both. To be honest, we left a little early (just into the 4th when the Terps pulled ahead by 2 scores) so we could see Yeasayer and Joan Jett.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 29, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@theotherripken8, how can you love Franklin's recruiting ability when the top prospects in the state routinely go elsewhere to play? He's a joke. The last time the Terps had a top 20 recruiting class was BEFORE he arrived. The sad thing is that his playcalling is even worse than his recruiting. I can't think of one redeeming thing about this guy.

Posted by: caphillterp | September 29, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

in a lame attempt to prove to everyone why he was right to choose robinson, Fridge will slyly undermine/ trash to his underhanded compliments he bestows on obrien

Posted by: TerpfanMA | September 27, 2010 11:20 AM

Gee the above comments from TerpfanMA sure do seem like the thoughts of an utter lunatic when you consider the topic of this thread (not to mention Friedgen's effusive praise thus far of O'Brien).

Posted by: Barno1 | September 29, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse


Agree 100% with your assesment. Down here in VA, when ODU started playing football, I wasn't sure if it would draw enough people. If it's raining and freezing in the middle of November, what would rather do? See a 1-AA game in the freezing rain? Or watch Michigan-Ohio St in a warm bar?

Same principle here. Watch a pretty meaningless game in the 90s, or go to a concert? The outcome would be different if we were playing somebody like BC or Fla St or Clemson, but FIU? Nah...

Posted by: ecglotfelty | September 29, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to ask Franklin what he is doing to help O'Brien advance and get better so that way he doesn't have bad grades based on his play in the game. It's not just about handing it out; it's about following through and making sure he progressing yet making him realize how close they could have been to losing that game.

In the end though, he found a way to win which has not been a consistent thing around here and if he keeps finding a way to win and not putting the defense on a short field, he's fine in my book. We can't expect miracles from a redshirt freshman quarterback but we can get excited about his potential if he keeps this up.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | September 29, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

OB's decision to come to MD was a stroke of genius, in that Franklin is unknowingly facilitating his expedited growth as a D1 QB.

How, you ask?

Via his consistently inept play calling, Franklin enables OB to fine tune his own play-calling expertise.

i.e., Franklin affords OB tremendous latitude (multiple plays per qtr) to call audibles, thus negating the original call with a superior option.

Posted by: MerlinTerps | September 29, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Franklin's ego needs to come down a bunch.. What has this guy ever done in his career?? If he's our next coach, my tickets are gone !!!

Posted by: frostanna | September 29, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

And, who's grading James "I STINK" Franklin?

By most accounts, James gets a big fat ZERO, or a "F".

Franky boys, I think you better start packing. As the President keeps saying, "Changes" are coming. And, they are for sure in Terp land!

Posted by: mi6-007 | September 29, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Like I said before, here comes the slow undermining of Obrien by Fridge and the coaching staff...
1) It is Wednesday night and Obrien still doesnt know if he will start on Saturday

2) All Fridge has committed to was that Obrien would start if everything is status quo....well, duh..Robinson is injured so is that the best that Fridge can do? A real confidence booster

3) And now, 3 days before the next game, Franklin grades him with a non winning score....

4) Same head games were played with Turner as Fridge trashed his work ethic in the press and then took a team vote on starting QB

We cannot get the Fridge yolk off UMDs neck fast enough....

Posted by: TerpfanMA | September 29, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

You truly are insane

Posted by: Barno1 | September 30, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

"NOT A WINNING GRADE"? Must mean a losing grade?

I must have been watching a different game?


Posted by: sbf845 | September 30, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

My seats at Byrd are in the front row of the upper deck.. Perhaps I should bring in some letter signs, so I can grade Franklin, and his calls... What letters do I really need to bring in????

Posted by: frostanna | September 30, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

A lot of football teams wait to name a starter, especially when one QB is mobile and one is a thrower. The coaches do not owe it to the fans to name a starter. The starter for saturday probably has a good idea that he is starting. Anyone that thinks a coach will not start a QB that gives the best chance to win is insane. Fridge is on the hot seat, he is not going to fool around.

Posted by: garrett4 | September 30, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse


You are so right. I'm pretty sure the coaches know, and the quarterbacks already know who will be starting on Saturday.

I guess the critics out there want to know everything. Maybe Fridge and Franklin should pass out the game plan and the first series of downs to opposing teams every Monday!

Posted by: mydogsnameisdixon | September 30, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Flip side of the question - has Robinson, turner, Steffy, Statham, et al ever gotten above a 1.3 in franklin's grading system?

I live in columbia and Saturday was as packed as I've seen it (except for when the BackStreet Boys played early this century and little girls overran the shopping mall).

Another piece of the Wang Chung concert - they were supposed to film a video at it and hyped the event by playing Wang Chung's 3 songs over and over on video screens in the roy Rogers and eatery in the Student Union for more than a week in advance. It got to the point where I (who was a commuter that semester) ate at a f*ing DINING HALL to avoid hearing that crap. No I did not mind "Dance hall days" before that week but there was no way I was going to be at the concert. It was painful. But the Button party at Ritchie my freshman year had the RH Chili Peppers, REM, Violent Femmes and Slickee Boys and I bought my $2 ticket at the was a quarter until 6pm when it doubled to 50 cents...("Wastin' time, sittin' still"). The funny thing, one of my roommates played Murmur and Reckoning constantly and it NEVER got on my nerves, even though I still don't know a lot of the lyrics.

In terms of the QB situation at MD, I am shocked that Shaun Hill made the pros and lasted - even as a journeyman. None of the QBs since had future pro stamped on their foreheads. Back when Ralph was OC, ALL of the QBs were future pros. DOB apparently has the work ethic and mindset to progress substantially over what he has done in one game thus far. If the coaches weren't on the hot seat (say they had won 7 games last year) then that would be the top priority. Get a great team around a talented QB. My thinking is that if they don't win a few more early (meaning Duke and Clemson) they might panic and the spotty decision making will continue. The offense needs to focus more on executing rather than confusing the other team...because they seem to only be confusing themselves. Straight up, we should be able to run on Duke all day. On the Defensive side, since last year, the basic skill of tackling has seemed to have disappeared. Too many missed tackles for my liking.

aahhh, I'm rambling on this rainy day.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | September 30, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

ohh, and i contend the assistant coaches are far more of a problem than RF. The W-L record is ultimately his responsibility, but he is not dealing with the same level of effectiveness at OC and DC that he had early in the century. Unfortunately, that will cost him and he is not in any position to get rid of the OC anytime soon. His only solution is to become more hands-on (which earlier posts have pointed to) to turn the ship around, which oddly enough, I think he's going to do.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | September 30, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm a huge Fridge supportor. However, if they don't start O'Brien this Saturday, they all deserve to be fired. The difference in ability between Jamarr and Obrien is clear even to a 5th grader.

Posted by: aviscardo | September 30, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Everybody Wang Chung tonite!

Posted by: Barno1 | September 30, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse


I enjoy your memories of College Park. I usually remember(and participated)many of the events you speak of (attended '85 - '90)...and living in the Columbia area(Ellicott City) I can vouch that it was crowded Sat. night.

I believe strongly that when Ralph has a good QB, he wins...bottom line is we haven't had a good QB since McBrien. We have one in O'Brien now, and hopefully Tyler Smith for the future. I think we'll win more games than expected. Fridge wants to have the depth at QB like they did in the 80's under Ross. The cupboard looks promising.

Posted by: mydogsnameisdixon | September 30, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

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