COLLEGE PARK -- The idea of playing football under Joe Krivak was part of the allure that drew Andre Vaughn to Maryland. Now he is having second thoughts.
"I like Maryland and I don't like to see us keep losing," said the junior defensive back from Oakland Mills in Columbia. "Something has to be done. I chose to come here because of Coach Krivak, but maybe it's time for a change.
"He's a great person. But there's a big difference between being a great person and a great coach. When last season's 6-5-1 is our best record in five years, well . . . "
Such was Vaughn's reaction to athletic director Andy Geiger's statement that he's 95 percent sure Krivak will be retained for next season. Krivak is in the first year of a four-year contract at $94,000 per.
Krivak has a 20-32-2 record in five years as head coach. He is 2-8 this season with only Saturday's game at North Carolina State remaining.
For every Andre Vaughn, there is a Dave DeArmas, the heir apparent to his brother Dan, a senior, as Maryland's punter and place-kicker. Vaughn plans to return for his final year. DeArmas has four years here ahead of him.
"It's a good decision," DeArmas said of Geiger's statement. "I went to high school [DeMatha] around here and I've seen that no matter what happens around here, Krivak always gets the blame. Enough is enough.
"You can't blame him and dump the whole load on him. This whole year, the blame has always fallen on Krivak or one of his assistants. People forget about the tough schedule and the raised academic standards. Blaming it on Krivak is a cop-out."
Whereas Krivak has a four-year contract, his assistants are on a year-to-year basis. Some of them, like defensive coordinator Greg Williams, declined to comment on Geiger's statement. Others spoke guardedly.
"This uncertainty isn't fair because it hurts recruiting," said quarterbacks coach Jerry Eisaman. "You can't recruit in an atmosphere where something is always being said about coaching changes.
"I try not to let this stuff bother me. All we're trying to do is get prepared for N.C. State. When Joe got a four-year contract, I thought that would end all this stuff."
Steve Ingram, a freshman starting offensive tackle whose season ended in the opener when he broke a leg, figures that if Geiger is using the 95 percent figure, that means Krivak will "pretty much" be back.
"I still like to play for Coach Krivak," Ingram said. "With him here for another three years, we have a stable base. I'll be glad. We've just had some tough breaks and a lot of injuries."
Terps seniors have little stake in whether Krivak is retained.
"It's not all his fault," said wide receiver Gene Thomas. "He can't be held responsible for all that's happened. But I'm not going to be here next year anyway."
Vaughn wishes Geiger would solicit opinions on Krivak from the players like he did last year when the coach eventually was given a new contract.
"We're the ones who have to play," Vaughn said. "In all fairness, he should speak to us.
"I think the players' feelings about Krivak are mixed. If the decision is based on his record, a lot would say he should go. Others would say he should stay because it's such a difficult situation here. You can't put the blame on one man."
As Eisaman and the other coaches try to block out the uncertainty about Krivak's future, they hope the players are focused on N.C. State.
"Some kids read the papers and see this stuff," Eisaman said. "Still, they're busy with practice and their studies. I hope they're in a positive frame of mind for N.C. State."