Friedgen: 'Some guys panicked' against West Virginia
The more I look at Florida International, the more I think this will be a competitive matchup Saturday at Byrd Stadium. But before we breakdown FIU and the upcoming game, I wanted to detail all of Coach Ralph Friedgen’s comments from his Sunday teleconference.
As for quarterbacks, starter Jamarr Robinson got banged up – sore throwing shoulder – against West Virginia, but Friedgen said Robinson will play against FIU. Backup Danny O’Brien, who re-aggravated his right ankle sprain on one play against the Mountaineers, is questionable because of the sprain. And I don't expect to know how the coaches will handle O'Brien's injury until the game starts Saturday -- I may be wrong.
The thing about the West Virginia game was this: Friedgen thought the team regressed to some bad habits exhibited by the 2009 squad. Penalties, missed tackles, blown coverages, missed opportunities. There was a lack of poise, not effort. At halftime, Friedgen summoned the entire team and said, “We’re not playing well. There isn’t the same level of enthusiasm or focus.” Despite falling behind 28-0, Friedgen felt there were opportunities to win the game.
The offensive line struggled. Friedgen said the line “lost our technique” and at times players were going to the wrong man, a concern. Defensively, Friedgen saw players who were not focused on their keys or seemed to be ignoring them. “We didn’t play fast,” he said. “I don’t know what the reason for that is.” Sure, it is tough to keep up with speedsters Noel Devine, Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders step for step. The onus was on players to swarm the ball as a group. It didn’t happen as much as coaches had hoped. “They are going to make some guys miss,” Friedgen said. “You have to offset that by getting guys to the football.”
Maryland has not won a road game in nearly two years. Friedgen emphasized the need to correct the issues that were apparent Saturday because “we’re going to play some tough games in some tough places.” Indeed. The Terrapins will play at Clemson, at Boston College, at Virginia and at Miami within a five-week period.
“We reverted back to some things that were problems last year,” Friedgen said. “Some guys panicked.”
In closing, Friedgen said he is hesitant to be overly negative because he does not want to damage the confidence of a team that remains young. But he acknowledged that the FIU game is a critical game in the season and said, “We have enough guys who have been there [with experience], where we should be playing better.”
That about sums it up.
| September 20, 2010; 10:06 AM ET
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