Terps Are Young, 'Hungry,' Friedgen Says

Acc Football Kickoff Maryland

July 28, 2009|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

GREENSBORO, N.C. - -After dropping their final two Atlantic Coast Conference games, Maryland football players and coaches tried valiantly to put the best spin on what had once been a promising 2008 season.

It was December and the Terrapins were headed to Boise, Idaho, for the Humanitarian Bowl, which had the eighth pick of ACC teams. Protocol demanded that the Terps not be rude to their bowl hosts, so the players talked politely about being pleased to play a game in an exotic location.

But seven months later, coach Ralph Friedgen and some of his players are talking more openly about how disappointing last season truly was - how a senior-laden team underperformed and how the Terps missed out on an upper-echelon bowl game.

Maryland beat Nevada, 42-35, in the bowl to finish 8-5.

"I don't think it [the team] reached the potential we had," Friedgen said Monday at the ACC Football Kickoff, a conference of players, coaches, bowl representatives and media.

The team performed well in wins over California, North Carolina, Wake Forest and others, but was hindered by inconsistency.

Friedgen blamed himself Monday, saying it's his job to make sure players are prepared. But he also suggested that motivation was an issue for some of the experienced players. Last year's team had 30 seniors.

Without mentioning names, Friedgen described some veteran players' attitudes by saying: "Coach, I've been there. Just chill." Friedgen, 62, said he would have appreciated more urgency. He said this year's team, which returns just 10 starters and is much younger, seems "hungry."

"I'm at a point in my life where I don't want to deal with these entitled athletes. I want to deal with people who want to be successes in life," Friedgen said.

Like the coach, quarterback Chris Turner has been methodically reviewing last season. He said he has watched each game "multiple times." It doesn't look much better on video than it did the first time around.

"We need to be consistent," Turner said. "If we could have gotten one or two more wins here and there, maybe we're playing New Year's Day. If you were talking to me now and we had those nine or 10 wins, it would look a lot different. But, you know, eight wins isn't quite the same."

Turner continued: "I think we're easily a 10-win team, and that's our goal this year. We're not playing around this year. We're not here to just win eight games and go to an average bowl."

Notes: : Maryland was picked fifth of six teams in the Atlantic Division by the media. Florida State was picked first and Boston College last. Virginia Tech was selected as the Coastal Division winner and league champion. The Terps have been picked fifth before each of the past three seasons.

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