COLLEGE PARK -- Underclassmen on the Maryland football team want coach Joe Krivak replaced, according to several veteran players who met with athletic director Andy Geiger yesterday.
"He [Geiger] wanted to know how I felt about the program, what was going on," senior quarterback Jim Sandwisch said. "I told him a lot of the guys had a bad attitude, especially the younger ones about Coach Krivak. Most of them do not want him back."
Krivak, 56, came under intense criticism from alumni and supporters of the program after the eighth week of the season, when the Terps lost to North Carolina, 24-0. Maryland finished 2-9, its worst season since 1971, and Krivak has a 20-34-2 career record in five seasons at Maryland.
He often has been criticized for his inability to motivate and relate to his players, and apparently that message was relayed to Geiger yesterday.
"He's really not a motivator. He's a teacher with good knowledge of the game," said Sandwisch. "Actually, I think he tries hard to relate to the players, but. . ."
Maryland senior center and tri-captain Mitch Suplee, who met with Geiger last night, supported Krivak, who in 1990 was given a four-year contract.
"It's true, a lot of the younger players want a new coach, but a lot of those guys come in here and they're used to having someone grab them by the pants and nurse them along," Suplee said. "Coach Krivak is from the old school. He feels a player should motivate himself and the only time he needs to talk to them is if they need a kick in the butt.
"Pep talks? They're like going to church on Sunday and you're on fire until Tuesday. By Friday and Saturday night, it's worn off. That stuff is only going to take you so far during a game before the physical factor takes over. I can relate to Coach Krivak. Some of the older players can, too. The sooner the younger ones realize what type of coach he is, the better off they're going to be."
Krivak's status was one of many concerns expressed by the players yesterday in Geiger's second week of evaluating the program. The players also discussed areas such as academic limitations on recruiting, lack of black assistant coaches, weight training and variety in training-table meals.
"Coach Krivak is not the entire problem," said Sandwisch. "We lost nine starters during the season, and that was a big part of the season. Mr. Geiger has to take that into account. The coaches and players need to be on one level. There needs to be some other changes internally with the program.
"People have said this program can only get better from here. Well, I don't know about that."
Suplee was one of several players who expressed frustration with the university's admission standards, which, until recently, required a recruit to score 850 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and have a 2.5 high school grade-point average, or get in as a special admission. Maryland football is allowed eight to 10 special admissions a year.
"Andy Geiger has to decide if he wants a mediocre program or a great program," said Suplee. "Let's face it. There are more good football players who are not smart than good, smart football players. Let some of those players in and if you give them a chance, they'll probably do something with it. It's better than having kids run the street. I was an academic risk, and I have a 3.1 GPA, best in the senior class.
"If Mr. Geiger does fire Coach Krivak, I recommended that he bring in a name coach, one dynamic in recruiting, who can bring in these good, smart football players. If he brings in someone from James Madison or Furman, or an assistant from somewhere else, Maryland is going to run into problems again."
Another problem, Geiger apparently feels, is that Maryland has only one black assistant -- wide receivers coach Rod Sharpless -- on the 10-man staff. Geiger has been adamant about adding blacks in the athletic department since he was hired last October.
"He brought that subject up specifically and asked if it would be beneficial to have more black role models connected with the team," said senior linebacker Greg Hines, who is black. "I told him sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. I've really never given it much thought."
Geiger also inquired about the assistant coaches, especially defensive coaches, and Krivak's interaction with the staff. Geiger even has interviewed former Terps linebacker Scott Whittier, a graduate assistant coach at Virginia Tech.
"It was a very extensive and thorough interview," said Sandwisch. "I told him Coach Krivak was involved in every meeting, every decision. In my opinion, maybe he was involved too much and needed to let the assistant coaches coach more."
Geiger also interviewed offensive line coach John Zernhelt yesterday, and recently had a meeting with assistant strength coach Rich Nelson, a former guard for the Terps.
"There are some things we can do to improve the weight program, a little more organization," said Nelson. "We need to have guys coming in at a designated time instead of when they want to. A major problem is that we have only four people to work with 400 athletes in limited space."
Geiger has scheduled player interviews for the rest of the week, but did not inform any players yesterday when any decisions would be made.
Linebackers coach George Foussekis said yesterday he hoped Geiger would make an announcement soon, because the uncertainty continues to hurt recruiting, especially locally.
"I think we're going to run into a lot of the negative stuff that has been written once the recruiting wars heat up," said Foussekis.
Maryland H-back Frank Wycheck said: "Whatever happens, I hope it happens soon. It seems like we're always going through this process every year. The players are waiting, waiting for something positive, anything positive, to happen with this program."