Posted on: December 29, 2010 11:42 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 9:16 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Offense - After such a successful season for Danny O'Brien, many expected the freshman quarterback to go right back to his favorite target, Torrey Smith, against the outmatched East Carolina secondary. But it was the running backs who stole the show in the 51-20 victory. D.J. Adams, Da'Rell Scott, and David Meggett combined for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns against arguably the worst defense in college football. The opposition certainly didn't provide much of a challenge, but you still have to give the Terps credit for being able to take advantage of the opportunities. GRADE: B
Defense - Maryland figured they would have their hands full with Dominique Davis and the high-octane ECU offense. They knew they would have an advantage on offense, and just needed to keep the Pirates in check in order to secure a victory. Maryland's success started with a great scheme to frustrate and confuse Davis. Davis looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and the Terps forced him to turn the ball over three times (2 INTs, 1 FF). GRADE: B+
Coaching - While Friedgen received much of the praise for Maryland's performance in his last game as head coach, the job of defensive coordinator Don Brown should not be overlooked. ECU came into the game ranking in the top 20 nationally in most offensive categories, and Maryland held them to just one touchdown until the final minutes of regulation. Also a nod to running backs coach John Donovan for his job standing in for departed offensive coordinator James Franklin. GRADE: A-
Offense - East Carolina's impressive offensive statistics were not an overly inflated point because of a weaker schedule. In fact, the Pirates played three ACC teams this season (1-2), and they averaged 25.7 points in those games. So there are very few excuses for the numerous penalties and six turnovers by the East Carolina offense. The Pirates threw for 311 yards, but only rushed for 32 as the hurry-up offense was slowed to a stop by costly mistakes. Lincoln Riley is considered one of the bright young coaches in the game, but his offense mailed it in against the Terps. GRADE: F
Defense - The most disappointing thing about East Carolina's defense was watching them cave in the second half. Not only did Maryland continue to build the lead, but the effort applied (particularly on the 61 and 93 yard TD runs by Da'rell Scott) seemed to diminish as the clock continued to wind down. We knew that ECU's defense was the worst in the NCAA, but you still would like to see a little more effort in pursuit of the ball based on the bigger stage. Shame on us for having high hopes/expectations out of the Pirates defense in 2010. GRADE: F
Coaching - I believe that ECU has a bright future ahead, particularly under the leadership of first-year head coach Ruffin McNeill and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. But considering the four turnovers and 15 penalties, it is hard not to criticize the Pirates' preparation. ECU was sloppy out of the gate, and there were back-breaking penalties on both sides of the ball. Been a rough second half the season, and many of their woes continued into the postseason. GRADE: D+
FINAL GRADE: The 2010 Military Bowl was made up of, among other things, 71 points, 6 turnovers, 26 penalties, and lasted just a few minutes shy of four hours. Any further explanation would include too many expletives. Sloppy, long, and painful at the end. GRADE: F
Posted on: December 29, 2010 10:06 am
Edited on: December 29, 2010 10:06 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
The Basics: Maryland (8-4) takes on East Carolina (6-6) in the Military Bowl on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C.
Why to watch: Well certainly you will want to tune in if you are a fan of Ralph Friedgen. The two-time ACC Coach of the Year will have the Maryland headset on one more time before having his contract terminated just after the new year. It has been a move that has confused many Maryland fans, especially after Friedgen helped orchestrate one of the biggest win-turnarounds in school history. But athletic director Kevin Anderson clearly has a different picture for the future of Maryland football, one that does not include the Fridge. East Carolina is glad to be bowling in their first year under head coach Ruffin McNeill. A former assistant under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, McNeill brought a staff that likes to put big numbers up on the scoreboard. Plus, it is 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon - what else are you going to watch?
Keys to victory for Maryland: With offensive coordinator James Franklin on his way to become the head coach at Vanderbilt, it will be interesting to see if there is any effect on the Maryland offense. Much of freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien's development this season has been credited to Franklin, and now the Terps will try and get their third bowl win since 2006 without their primary play-caller.
Also, the only way that East Carolina keeps the game close is in the event of a shoot-out. If Maryland's defense can come up with stops the way they did against NC State in the regular season finale, they can keep East Carolina's offense from putting up those basketball score numbers from the end of the season.
Keys to victory for East Carolina: The Pirates have to force Maryland to score by putting up points themselves. At this point in the season, it may be too late to ask the 118th ranked defense to make stops, so you might as well look to quarterback Dominique Davis to orchestrate some big-time touchdown drives. Davis was fourth in the nation in passing yards in 2010, but he will need one of his best performances of the season against the Maryland secondary.
If East Carolina's defense were to focus on one major goal - it should be to shut down Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith. Smith is obviously O'Brien's favorite target, particularly in big games. Shut Smith down, and at least you save yourself the chance of being burned for 224 receiving yards like NC State.
The Military Bowl is like: A really awkward family reunion. Maryland is going to trot out there with a departing coaching staff and an athletic director who seems far more fixated on finding a replacement than getting a bowl victory. The Terps will have to face Ruffin McNeill, a former assistant of current Maryland coaching candidate Mike Leach. ECU runs an offense with an obvious Texas Tech influence - are the Terps getting a quick look at the future of their own program? Probably not, but we will see how the next weeks transpire in College Park.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 9:30 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Poor Auburn fans. They thought they were out of the woods. Earlier this month offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn was reportedly very close to accepting an offer to take the head coaching job at Vanderbilt before ultimately deciding to accept a raise and contract extension to stay at Auburn. This caused Auburn fans to wipe the sweat off their brow, yell "War Eagle" and give each other high fives.
Start sweating again, Auburn fans.
Comcast SportsNet's Chick Hernandez reports that Maryland's athletic director Kevin Anderson and part of his search committee have met with several candidates for the position of Maryland's Head Football Coach.
Hernandez reports that the committee has met with Mike Leach, who Anderson mentioned in his press conference announcing Ralph Friedgen's buy-out, June Jones, the current head coach of SMU, and Gus Malzhan, the offensive coordinator at Auburn. Both Jones and Malzhan are coaching their respective teams in upcoming bowl games.
Jones, who did interview with Maryland, has already turned down the chance to take the job. According to his agent Leigh Steinberg, Jones is just TOO GOOD OF A HUMAN BEING to leave SMU right now, even though they offered an apparent pay raise. Which means that Maryland's offer just wasn't enough.
Of course, to pry Malzahn away from Auburn, any offer Maryland makes will have to be considerable as well. After all, that extension Malzahn signed will pay him seven figures. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how GOOD OF A HUMAN BEING Malzahn is.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 3:44 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
On Monday, Maryland made it all official: Ralph Friedgen is done at Maryland.
Odd timing to remove the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year after a six-win turnaround that took the Terps from the bottom of the conference to competing for division titles. But when athletic director Kevin Anderson addressed the media on Monday, he said it was time for the program to go "from good to great."
Effective January 2, 2011, Friedgen's contract will be terminated and the school will buyout the final year of his existing deal. The buyout will cost the athletic department approximately $2 million in compensation and benefits, all of which will be covered by the athletic department. Friedgen will coach the team in the final game of the 2010 season against East Carolina in the Military Bowl. Anderson indicated that a nationwide search for a new coach will begin immediately, and he would like to have Friedgen's successor in place by January 4.
While multiple reports have denied any contact between Maryland and former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, Anderson did confirm that Leach is on Maryland's list of candidates. When asked about other potential hires, Anderson did not mention any names specifically and refused to label anyone a "leading candidate." However, it was interesting to hear that former offensive coordinator James Franklin (now head coach at Vanderbilt) would have been considered for the job - but there would have been no guarantees.
Friedgen, 63, leaves Maryland with a 74-50 record as a head coach. He had a 4-2 bowl record across ten seasons, and was named ACC Coach of the Year twice. The Terps will face East Carolina on December 29 in Washington, D.C. for the Military Bowl.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 3:04 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Updating an earlier report, it's now known who, precisely, will be coaching the Maryland Terrapins in their Military Bowl appearance against East Carolina on December 29. According to the Baltimore Sun, it'll be Ralph Friedgen himself, even though Friedgen is facing an imminent firing after being told he would not be coaching Maryland in 2011 and reportedly refusing to retire.
If Maryland does indeed allow Friedgen to coach out the end of the year, it'll be the first noble gesture toward him on the school's part since word first came down that his career at Maryland would be ending. Friedgen, as a longtime ambassador for (and alumnus of) Maryland, at least deserves one last chance to lead his team on his own terms instead of some unceremonious dump just weeks after being named ACC Coach of the Year.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that Maryland's not exactly facing stiff competition for Mike Leach, who's reportedly Maryland's first choice to replace Friedgen. The ex-Texas Tech head coach has been out of the college football world since being fired as Red Raiders head coach last December, so he's under no current obligation from any team and will likely remain available for Maryland until after the Terps' bowl game.
At any rate, whether Maryland wins or loses against ECU, Friedgen deserves a hero's sendoff from his players -- right down to being carried off the field on their shoulders. He's lost over 100 pounds over the last two years, after all; that's a lot of prep work for just that one moment. Friedgen's reportedly an emotional guy, so we'll all know exactly how much the moment means to him when it's all said and done. We can debate for days whether Maryland is right to send Friedgen packing -- it's unpopular, but obviously, this isn't a decision a BCS school makes recklessly -- but if Maryland unconditionally allows Friedgen to coach through the bowl game, it'll at least be a step toward grace and the right message to send to the returning players.
Posted on: December 19, 2010 11:59 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
As reported earlier, Ralph Friedgen has been informed that he will not be returning to the Maryland Terrapins as head coach in 2011. That leaves Friedgen with just a couple options: retire, or get fired. The only difference would be a matter of buyout terms and public civility.
Well, according to the Baltimore Sun, Friedgen's not in the mood to acquiesce; he's reportedly refusing to retire, which would appear to force Maryland's hand. A firing's always uglier than a retirement, even one that's forced, but if Maryland's dead-set on ending the Friedgen era then the ends'll justify whatever means are necessary.
Now, that supposedly means the Mike Leach era is at hand, and now the real question is what this does to Maryland's Military Bowl appearance on December 29. Does Maryland fire Friedgen as of December 30 and give him one last hurrah (along with his buyout)? Does Maryland fire him straight away and install defensive coordinator Don Brown as the interim head coach? Or, if the deal with Leach is as imminent as the Washington Post report suggests, is the Dread Pirate Leach crashing the Military Bowl?
And last, between Vanderbilt taking Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin (which likely started this whole Friedgen mess) and Florida hiring Will Muschamp from Texas, isn't it time to assume that declaring an assistant coach the "Head Coach In Waiting" isn't that wise of an idea? It makes the assistant that much more valuable without actually obligating him to a thing at his current school, it makes him a more attractive hire for a school trying to make a splash, and his inevitable departure creates even more havoc than if he were just, y'know, an assistant. It's probably safe to say Maryland and Texas didn't exactly think this cunning plan all the way through, and now here both schools are, surrounded by more questions about their programs' futures than they'd have imagined just two weeks ago.
Tags: ACC, Big 12, Don Brown, Florida, James Franklin, Maryland, Maryland Coaching Rumors, Maryland Coaching Search, Maryland Mike Leach, Mike Leach, Mike Leach Maryland, Mike Leach Rumors, Military Bowl, Ralph Friedgen, Ralph Friedgen Fired, Ralph Friedgen Resigns, Ralph Friedgen Retirement, Ralph Friedgen Won't Retire, SEC, Texas, Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp
Posted on: December 18, 2010 2:59 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2010 7:23 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Following a conference call on Friday, the writing seemed to be on the wall for Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen. Now that James Franklin had left for Vanderbilt and was likely to take a number of assistants with him, Maryland was no longer interested in bringing Friedgen back. Now, a day later, there's a report that Friedgen will accept Maryland's buyout offer and will no longer serve as head coach.
University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen has verbally agreed to a buyout of his contract and will not return for the 2011 season, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to InsideMDSports.com.
Which means that Maryland is now in the market for a new head coach, and many people seem to think that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach will be the school's first choice. Though, if that is the case, Leach would go to Maryland with a bit of excess baggage in his hands thanks to the lawsuit he currently has filed against Texas Tech for wrongful termination.
As for Friedgen, it seems the school was worried about how Friedgen could perform after possibly losing so many assistants, and was also worried about recruiting considering that Friedgen would be entering 2011 in the final year of a contract the school didn't seem interested in extending. So Maryland figured it was better to move on now rather than spend another year in limbo.
At the moment Friedgen is still expected to coach Maryland in the Military Bowl, but it's not clear whether he'll retire, take a job in the Maryland athletic department, or look for employment elsewhere.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 6:45 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Here's an interesting twist to what's going on with the Maryland football team. On Friday it was made official that James Franklin, the school's head coach-in-waiting, was leaving to take the head coaching job at Vanderbilt. Now, depending on how you want to interpret the words of Maryland AD Kevin Anderson, it's starting to sound like Ralph Friedgen could be on the way out at Maryland as well.
During a teleconference on Friday, Anderson was asked about Freidgen's future, to which he replied he'll "sit down and everybody will understand where we're going...with the program. At this point I'm not going to answer that question." Which, on it's own, isn't exactly the most encouraging answer you can hear from your boss if your Ralph Friedgen.
What makes it worse?
A month ago Anderson said that Friedgen would be back. Now he's suddenly changed his mind. To make things even more interesting, even though Friedgen hasn't been let go -- and at this point you almost have to think he will be -- people are already speculating on who his replacement will be. The popular pick seems to be the one and only Mike Leach.
Would Leach be interested in the gig? Of course he would be, he's come out and said he'd be interested in any job that was offered to him. I'd be interested in seeing it happen as well, because it could lead to some teenage mutant ninja pirates, and if there is anything in this world cooler than some kind of hybrid ninja pirate, then I sure as hell haven't thought of it yet.