The Terps got pummeled at home by Clemson on Saturday. I'll have to watch the game on DVR for a more detailed explanation of how it turned into a 30-17 drubbing. It is clear that injuries have devastated this team. The offense is a hollow shell and can't really do anything well at this point while the defense has played better but can't be counted to make the plays to keep the game competitive. It is clear the offensive line is a shambles with walk-ons now playing in critical moments. True freshman Bruce Campbell has a chance to be very good at tackle but even he had to go out with an injury. He was able to return after the already injured Scott Burley took his place.
I probably sound like a broken record but it is another reminder of the recruiting miscues by Ralph Friedgen. Yes, the injuries have been as bad as I can remember in recent times, but every team has injuries at this point. Virginia came in here last week without their starting running back and had a kid come off the bench and post 200+ yards of offense. It isn't just injuries to Andrew Crummey and Jamie Thomas that are killing this team. Let's review. Two linemen flunked off the team in the off season, Jared Gaither and Brandon Nixon. Guard Donnie Woods would have been very useful right now but decided he'd rather walk away than use his last year of eligibility. A player who gives up his eligibility without serious injury issues is very rare. What made Woods, a likely starter, decide it wasn't worth it? Friedgen went into this season on a wing and a prayer and now this team is in a death spiral. There was no real backup plan if there were injuries to the starters. He has recruited more offensive linemen in the 2007 class and this current recruiting season but those players won't contribute for a few more years.
I'm not advocating that Ralph be replaced. I think he needs to make some changes on his staff, starting with hiring an offensive coordinator, but Maryland probably won't find anyone who is better on the open market. He shown enough in his first six seasons to warrant more time to turn things around. We've seen the last few years that Fridge is a good, but not great coach. He has his flaws just like most coaches in college football and his teams are prone to inconsistency from year to year. I can't imagine he is the easiest guy to get along with especially when things are not going well. That probably had a lot to do with the departures of Gary Blackney and Charlie Taffee. Since then things have not gone so smoothly and the defense, which used to be the bedrock of this program, has deteriorated.
Did you see that NC State opened their offense up and beat Virginia on Saturday? Tom O'Brien of all people had the daring to have quarterback Daniel Evans air it out 46 times against the Wahoos. He was sacked three times and threw a pick but he also tossed three touchdowns and piled up 347 yards against a vulnerable secondary. Ralph, your season is going down the tubes so you have nothing else to lose at this point. Maryland will need to throw the ball if it is going to have a hope of winning two more games and getting to a bowl.