Friedgen criticizes decision to play into wind

Maryland 27 Florida State 24

October 30, 2006|By Heather A. Dinich

Despite his overall pleasure with the play of Maryland's special teams Saturday, coach Ralph Friedgen wasn't bashful yesterday in telling special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski he made the wrong decision to play into the wind in the fourth quarter against Florida State when the Terps had the choice to take it head-on in the third.

"We felt like if we went into the wind in the third quarter we might lose the lead," Friedgen said. "The wind died down in the third quarter and like someone turned a switch on in the fourth quarter, it went up pretty high. I told Ray [yesterday that] he made the wrong decision, and that's my prerogative as a head coach."

Still, Friedgen deemed the special teams "the key to the game."

Danny Oquendo returned three punts for 85 yards, including a 45-yard return, and kicker Dan Ennis made both of his field-goal attempts, increasing his streak to six straight. Adam Podlesh punted five times for an average of 44.8 yards, with two inside the 20-yard line. The biggest play on special teams, though, was the last - a blocked field goal by Jeremy Navarre with 38 seconds left that prevented overtime and protected the Terps' 27-24 lead.

"Our punt returns with Oquendo [were] huge," Friedgen said. "I thought Adam kicked the ball into the wind better than their kicker. Dan's field goals were crucial, and then the blocked field goal. ... Ironically enough, we were very concerned about their field-goal rush and all week had practiced it live against our defense. I think in the end, because we had practiced it live with our defense, [it] was probably the key to the game in blocking that field goal."

Replay

With the Terps leading 27-21 in the fourth quarter and Florida State facing third-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Maryland cornerback Josh Wilson's tight coverage of wide receiver Greg Carr prevented the potential game-winning touchdown. Florida State instead resorted to a 24-yard field goal with 8:49 left.

Erase

In the second half, Maryland's offense couldn't counter adjustments by Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews and was held to 37 yards of total offense.

Fast forward

The Terps (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) play at No. 19 Clemson (7-2, 4-2) on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The then-No. 10 Tigers were held to just 76 total yards in the last three quarters of a surprising loss to Virginia Tech on Thursday.

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