Old friends, rivals

MARYLAND NOTEBOOK

Va. Tech's Beamer, Terps' Friedgen broke in together at UM

October 19, 2005|By HEATHER A. DINICH | HEATHER A. DINICH,SUN REPORTER

College Park -- Apparently, last year's 55-6 loss to Virginia Tech on national television didn't ruin Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen's friendship with Hokies coach Frank Beamer -- he was still invited to Friedgen's Fourth of July party at the lake.

The two have summer homes close to each other at Lake Oconee in Georgia.

"I don't blame that on Frank; I blame that on us," Friedgen said, probably referring to his team's four first-half turnovers.

Tomorrow's 7:45 p.m. game at Byrd Stadium will be only the second time Friedgen and Beamer have faced each other as head coaches. They were on the sidelines together far longer.

Both coaches began their careers together as graduate assistants at Maryland, and were assistant coaches at The Citadel from 1973-78. Beamer left The Citadel in 1979 to become defensive coordinator at Murray State, and Friedgen left the following year to join the staff at William and Mary.

When Beamer was named head coach at Murray State in 1981, he hired Friedgen as his top assistant. Friedgen stayed for one year before returning to Maryland as the offensive coordinator under Bobby Ross.

No. 3-ranked Virginia Tech will be the Terps' toughest opponent to date, and possibly all season. Friedgen's players and assistants have noticed an increased intensity at practice this week. He closed the gate to practice for the first time this season, and yesterday threatened to send a player inside. Friedgen said he took last year's loss personally, but Beamer is still his friend.

"Frank's probably at the lake enjoying himself," Friedgen said last week, after watching Virginia Tech film 3 1/2 times. "He's not worried about us."

He looks familiar

Friedgen said he remembered walking Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick around Maryland's campus when he was recruiting him. Vick, who has emerged into the Atlantic Coast Conference leader in passing efficiency, wasn't the only player on Beamer's roster Friedgen recruited. He also sought defensive end Darryl Tapp.

"We recruited him very heavily," Friedgen said. "It really came down to us and Tech. We also recruited [defensive end] Chris Ellis very hard."

Friedgen said tomorrow's game is the perfect opportunity to showcase the program.

"It's important we be ready to play because it's going to be on prime time," he said. "We'll be the only guys playing. That's why I think these Thursday night games are so important to your program, from a recruiting standpoint.

"When I got here, they weren't crazy about Thursday games," he said. "I tried to tell them, it's one of the better marketing tools you could ever have."

Seeking redemption

As a native of Hampton, Va., Maryland senior receiver Derrick Fenner took last year's loss to Virginia Tech particularly hard. He distinctly remembers Virginia Tech corner Jimmy Williams, his former teammate at Hampton High School, intercepting a pass in the third quarter and running it back 34 yards for a touchdown.

"I want to go out and beat these guys," Fenner said. "I'm from Virginia. I've got friends over there. It will be a chance for me to go out there and redeem myself."

Byrd's-eye view

The field at Byrd Stadium got a slight makeover yesterday for prime time television, and while much of the visible improvement can be attributed to the recent rain, a little green paint goes a long way. Groundskeepers said they used about 150 gallons of paint to draw the lines, numbers and color "Maryland Terrapins" in the end zones. Groundskeeper Mac Wallace's arms were dyed red to his elbows and the original color of his boots was indiscernible.

FSU-Terps is at 3:30

Maryland's Oct. 29 game at Florida State will be a 3:30 p.m. kickoff and televised on either ABC or ESPN.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

No. 3 Virginia Tech@Maryland

Tomorrow, 7:45 p.m., ESPN, 1300 AM, 105.7 FM Line: Va. Tech by 10 1/2

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