Monday, October 29, 2007

Injuries crumble resolve

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.


Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. And while I know it's not going to happen, I really think the next step is Fridge's departure. He's an offensive coach, who can't call a game. He also can't recruit a QB, or at least one he trusts enough to open up the playcalling. Good thing bball starts up soon.

Anonymous said...

Woods did have a serious injury. Remember the Miami game last year? One would think that had something to do with him leaving. Too bad he couldn't come back.

Esquire said...

For the record I'm not in the "Fire Friedgen" camp.

Thanks for reminding me. He was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma center for evaluation but it turned out his injury wasn't serious. He did play in the bowl game. Woods did indicate that scared him and contributed to his decision to leave football behind. Woods also learned a lesson when he injured his knee in high school. He was a very high level recruit with schools like Oklahoma and Ohio State going after him. After that they all stopped calling though Maryland kept in touch. That made him realize that college football is a "business" in his words. That probably had more to do with his decision than his injury scare. I wouldn't think much of it but Wesley Jefferson was also a starter and decided to leave the team as well. You rarely see that. Makes me wonder what the climate is in the locker room that they were happy to walk away. If you've ever been on a team with a divided locker room and a coach who is not respected by his players, as I have, it makes you wonder.

Anonymous said...

Coach Cosh must go. I mean Chris Cosh must go because he is no coach at all. Anyone can work hard. If your not cutting it at your job, your fired, pure and simple. If the the big man wants to cover for him, he needs to go too.