September 19, 2009

In Defense of Ralph Friedgen

I've written on this blog quite a few times in defense of Gary Williams. My philosophy has always been that you don't fire a coach unless you know you can replace him with someone who brings a better value to the table.

Maryland named James Franklin heir apparent during the past offseason. In a season where the Terps are exceptionally young, especially on defense, Friedgen is under immense pressure. A solid recruiter is on his staff and guaranteed his job.

Thus far this year, Maryland has lost to #12 Cal on the road 52-13, needed overtime to best I-AA James Madison University at home 38-35, and lost at home to Middle Tennessee State University, 32-31. That's 119 points allowed in three games, or 39.33 points per game. As a Ravens fan, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Remember, two of those opponents are James Madison and Middle Tennessee.

During Friedgen's tenure, Maryland has only lost to three teams that did not finish the season bowl-eligible: (2008) Middle Tennessee and Virginia, (2007) North Carolina.

Is this going to be a rough season? Almost certainly. Is it time to pull the plug on Friedgen? I don't think so.

I hate to say "wait till next year" when it's still summer, but Maryland has a young core of players that could develop into a very solid group in 2010-2012. In the current state of the ACC, you don't need a great team to make a BCS bowl. Just look at the Terps' schedule this year. In addition to the road game at currently #12 Cal, the Terps have only ranked Virginia Tech remaining. The other 10 opponents are currently unranked (pending FSU's status after destroying BYU). It is inarguably the worst conference in the BCS, and should remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Let's give the Fridge a little more time. He did deliver 30 wins over 3 seasons just a few years ago.

8 Responses:

Russell said...

I agree, but you have to wonder why those losses to teams not going to bowls are becoming a trend. If the defense doesn't improve, MTSU won't be the only loss fitting that bill this year.

Anonymous said...

30 wins in 3 years with the players recruited by the previous regime.The Fridge hasn't done very well with his own players.

Brien said...

I love the short memory about Vanderlinden. Terps fans now act like he was some superstar recruiter. I remember an empty Byrd stadium and praying for late-season wins over awful UVA teams to be bowl eligible (and not having those prayers answered).

Fridge is unquestionably good for the program, and the kind of consistency you get by having the same coach for almost a decade is good also.

The last two games have been really rough, but I'm not convinced things would be any different under Franklin.

"ben" said...

In defense of Anon, I don't read Anon as having said Vanderlinden was a good/great recruiter. Anon simply said Fridge can't take his'n and win, and that's a problem.

J-Red said...

Can't take his'n and win early in the season, and I agree that's a problem.

Nikhil Verma said...

I'll comment on two seperate issues. First, I agree with J-Red on Friedgen. We had this same discussion with GW last basketball season. The Terps turned things around and made the NCAA tournament.

Now, I'm not saying we'll make a bowl game this year. But this program is way better than it was before Friedgen took over. As Ronald Reagan would say, "Terps fans, are you better off now than you were eight years ago"? Under he "Friedgen administration", the answer is yes.

Second, Brien talked about Vandy, whom I wanted to stay as coach at the time he was fired. Well, it should be pointed out that he recruited the whole 2001 team that went to the Orange Bowl and most of the 2002 Peach Bowl team. Whether he could win the big games is another question. But yeah, I would say he could recruit. He also hired Mike Locksley and James Franklin.

Anonymous said...

Recruiting has been an issue. For the last few years, almost all the top in-state talent has gone out of the state. And the excuses indicate that Fridge has lost any touch of his team. If this year's team is too young, what was last year? Of course his excuse was that they couldn't get motivated. It's always something, every year. It's never him. And now - the ultimate 'loser' excuse - he said they have bad luck. It's tiring and after 5 years, it's more than a trend.

Brien said...

Last year?!?! Last year we were 1 or 2 games away from the ACC Championship game! For Maryland, that's a successful season!

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