Fridge Deserves Praise

There will always be times where we wish the head coach would have done something different or recruited a better player or made a better call, but I thought it was time for a little perspective.   After reading the followin column in the Baltimore Sun, I could not agree more with it:


Can Maryland football be a national power?    I tend to agree with the column, but there is no reason we can’t be a perennial bowl team who can put together a special season once in a while.

We’ll see what we all think one week from today!



  1. When I was younger getting to a bowl was special. Now with the proliferation of bowl games, being bowl eligible just doesn’t do it for me. That means you won at least six games, to me that’s not “special” rather it means, your program is okay…doesn’t suck…it’s okay.

    I feel UMD’s goals should always be:

    Undefeated at home
    Play for the ACC championship
    Playing in a bowl game no earlier than December 31st.

    The closest thing the ACC has to the SEC, Big 10 or Big 12 (atmosphere wise) is Clemson, Va Tech and Florida State. And that’s because they’re further south, closer to the SEC recruiting region and have put an emphasis on the Football program as the revenue generator.

    UMD is hurt by the fact that we’ve got two NFL teams nearby, two MLB teams nearby, a NHL team and a NBA team. Add that alot of people in the area are from someplace else and don’t have attachements to the University.

    In the SEC, Big 10 or Big 12 towns the University is THE big thing. There aren’t pro franchises there. And in many cases the University is the largest employer in that town and that builds a following with people that the closest they ever got to going to the University was driving past it.

    Just my .02 cents.

  2. Great point Russ.

    Though when it comes to the Fridge-led Terps, only once did they “barely” make a bowl game with only 6 wins (last year in San Fran). The other bowls were New Year’s eve, day, or the Champs Sports on the 29th (and that was a 9 win season). So you can’t really look at the Terps good seasons as being just ‘okay’.

    That being said, they definitely should have high expectations each and every year. The ACC is a conference that they can contend for every year.

  3. If you are satisfied with the Fridge then there can be no heat at all on GW. People often equate bowl games with making the NCAA. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

    There are now NINE ACC bowl tie-ins. Nine!!! Only three ACC teams don’t get to one. If you go .500 you are a lock to get a bowl bid.

    I am not killing Fridge, he has taken the program from the scrape heap and gotten us to being competitive. With two games left we could go to a BCS bowl or the 7th best bowl game.

    GW competes in one of the best basketball conferences in the country. RF is in a mediocre conference in most recent seasons.

    I like both of my UMD coaches. I think one gets more heat because he happened to take a program to where it had never been before. Some will never let him live that down…

  4. Great points Rick. Another reason Garyland gets more heat is because it is our sport. The Florida Gators won the NCAA Hoops title but that school will always be a football school. For us it is the reverse. Maryland always has been and always will be a basketball school. We love our football team, out basektball team is our religion. I think that’s one reason why Garyland is held to a higher standard.

  5. We are only a basketball school because Gary won us a championship. We were a football school during the Boomer years…Garyland is the standard.

  6. Even back in the 70’s when UMD was winning ACC Championships three years in a row under Jerry Claiborne, and went undefeated one season until we lost to Houston in the Cotton Bowl (imagine the Terps being 11-1 and ranked #8 in the final AP Poll) we were a Basketball school.

    I should have chosen my phrasing better LOL. What I meant to convey was that winning six games and becoming bowl eligible isn’t special…it means you didn’t suck…you were okay. That was for a college football program in general, not the Terps.

    Fridge led us to three straight 10 win seasons, got us an ACC championship…first time someone other than FSU won the ACC since they joined the conference. We went to the Orange Bowl with Fridge, stomped Tennessee in the Peach Bowl, crushed West Virginia in the Gator Bowl so he’s defintely done better than “okay”.

  7. I agree with the article and DiamondBackRuss, but I would add the annual expectation of being the destination for local (Maryland/DC/Northern Va) recruits. Like is mentioned we’ll never be able to compete for national recruits, but we should be the big dogs in our backyard. Ralph is a victim of his own success. After Bobby Ross left, for a decade and a half (the Krivak/Duffner/Vanderlinden era) bowl elegibility was the annual goal that seemed very elusive. Friidge showed up and put up back-to-back-to-back 10 win seasons, and that is what the expectation became. He created the illusion that Maryland could be a football school. When we, like most traditional ACC institutions, are a school that largely uses football as pass time until basketball season starts.

  8. Off topic for a moment…

    Adrian Bowie credits walk-on sophomore wing/sharpshooter David Pearman for being the catalyst behind his improved shot. Taking 300 jump shots a day during the offseason. Adding a consistent jumper with his ability to get up and down the court quickly should open up the lane for others. Also helping AB this offseason were Gary Williams, HS coach Stu Vetter, and former Terp guard Duane Simpkins.

  9. “especially when I’d peruse the Terps Internet message boards and read that every Joe Sixpack with keyboard courage wanted him gone.”

    I love how journalists love to get keyboard courage and take shots at us hoopleheads, you know the people who are often engaged enough with their teams to actually buy tickets, watch games on TV to generate advertising dollars, and buy merchandise. Not to mention, we’re the ones reading crappy newspaper articles, too. But…I digress.

    MD can be at least as good as VT. I’ve been to Bleaksburg. MD has better facilities, both academically and athletically. MD has more fertile recruiting grounds than VT due to proximity. If MD is going to dump millions into its football program to send a signal about how important football is to the university, then we should have similar expectations about winning. After all, Dook doesn’t dump cash into their football like MD does. Neither do Kansas or Kentucky.

    Also, to say that the head coach isn’t nearly as responsible for either wins or loses might be the most moronic sentence written in the Sun in years. Let’s see, the head coach hires coaches, recruits players, trains players, puts players into games, calls plays, makes adjustments, and all the rest. That’s more operational control than any CEO of a company has! Yes, the players play the game, but the level of control possessed by the coaches over the entire product is immense.

    Lastly, Mark….MD has always been a hoops school. You don’t get to host the NCAA championship between Western Texas and Kentucky in 1966 if your school isn’t a hoops school. Bear Bryant doesn’t leave your school after a year in 1945 for Kentucky (Kentucky!) if your school is a football school.

  10. Interesting posts guys. I think the author’s emphasis on UMd having no chance being a national power is the wrong way to be looking at it. How about us having a vision of being an ACC power first, then once that goal is reached, the ACC’s big dog football program. I think that is attainable.

    I’d begin by targeting every high quality Maryland HS player trying to get them to attend UMd. It kind of gets to me when I see all these other schools with Maryland boys on their rosters. The University has come a long way as an institution the last 20 years or so, both academically, athletically, and aesthetically. I think today’s kids could take great pride in being a part of their state school. Next, I’d target DC. If we could just get the lion’s share of these kids, we’d have a good shot at being the top football program in the ACC.

  11. I agree Wheels, I thought that was a pretty dumb statement. The coach controls almost every aspect of the program. The only limitations you have is the school budget and tradition. Ask Steve Spurrier about that now that he is struggling down in South Carolina.

    You ain’t in FLA anymore Dorothy…

  12. Ball Coach has a good Defense (not counting the game against the Gators) but he needs a SEC caliber QB in the worst way.

    Hey…there’s a B-Ball game tonight bbbbbbaby-BABY

  13. I agree that we are considered a b-ball conference so there a b-ball school. I think Fridge has done a very good job as our coach. He has taken us to where we have not been for a long time. His players graduate ahead of the arc. But as a b-ball school are we true b-ball fans. Every year we have a pre-seaon scrimmage before a football game. The game is the first chance to see our new team. It is free. I go to it and as i have said here before. There are a very few people there. When i leave, the parking lots around comcast is filled with tail-gaters. Wow is it more important party in the parking lot then to go to a basketball game played a short walk away? don’t tell me it is because that football is for real. You can still see both. any thoughts?

  14. Don’t be surprised if Steve Goins gets more run tonight. Keep in mind he missed approximately 8 months of HS play/practice/growth an injury. He’s a big dude, not big/out of shape…just BIG, prolly takes more time getting into game shape. Plus he’s young, just 18 still growing into his body. But I hear that something has “clicked” with him in practice recently. If other bigs aren’t getting it done he could see the court earlier than in the Bucknell game.

  15. Hmmm, odd. I’ve heard most assess Goins as nothing other than a “stiff” that’s good for 5 fouls.

  16. I’ve said it before in a number of posts, Dupree, Burney, Gregory, Neal, and Goins are going to be the keys to this season success or lack thereof. If they develop, we should be pretty decent team. I’m not worried about our 2s & 3s, and just a little a bit concerned about the PG position. It’s the bigs who are the question mark.

    If the bigs come up BIG this year (a big, big IF–pun intended), I don’t know, we might have ourselves a top tier ACC team. If not, its going to be a long, but probably interesting season watching the perimeter players develop. A a couple of months from now we’ll all be excited about this squad, or we’ll be posting about the coming of J-Dub and Padgett. I hope its the former. I’d like to get excited about this year and next year!

  17. Jerry…what can we say? MD fans of any sport seem to prefer tailgaiting than actually going into the games to watch their teams play! I have several friends with season tickets to football that, to my knowledge, maybe make it into the game for a quarter. Otherwise, it’s booze, food, radio/television, and people watching. Did I mention booze?

  18. I don’t think our Bigs will “come up big” for us this yr. I think we are gonna get killed on the glass. I hope I’m wrong.

    Any news on the recruiting front? More specifically, do we stand a chance at any legit 6-10 guys with skills? Seems like we always get a bunch of 6-8 front court guys.

    Please advise.

  19. Fred some people doubt Goins and I have tried to manage expectations by saying don’t expect much this year and you won’t be disappointed. But it wasn’t a talent issue that caused me to post things like that. Goins broke his leg and missed almost his entire junior year of HS ball and got out of shape while he couldn’t play/practice. Once he became a senior in HS he recommitted himself, got back in better shape but was still behind the curve so to speak. It also explains why he was such an under the radar recruit.

    I’m not ready to change my position on keeping the expectations low on this Freshman, just reporting what I was told that IF…IF the other bigs aren’t getting it done he could see the court earlier than in the Bucknell game.

    That doesn’t mean he suddenly turned into Joe Smith LOL

  20. So, do we have any legiit bigs in the pipeline?

  21. JohnE, IMHO, the stable of guards are the keys to this season, not the forwards. Tucker, Bowie, Milbourne, GV and Hayes (maybe Kim and Moseley) need to come ready to play every night. If they maintain posession, shoot like they are capable of and play defense like they should, then the Terps will me in EVERY game this year.

    All the forwards need to do is let the guards do their thing and stay out of the way. If there is one positive that the bigs need to focus on it’s this —-> BOX OUT. If they can box out, they will prevent easy buckets on defense and get their share of boards…..maybe get lucky put-back shots every now and then too. If they can do anything else, it’s gravy. I know Neal can do that and in the worst case scenario – Neal will be on the floor for 25 minutes, and the Terps are still capable of winning 30. If the more highly touted fowards get better – and based on the early reports it looks like Gregory is – then W’s will get easieir. But even still, every W and L will depend on the guards – not the forwards.

    BTW – I just realized that the Michigan State game is actually on Thanksgiving day. For some reason I thought it was a Friday-Sunday dealio. Kinda weird. Between football and the Terps, I’ll need to plan my Thanksgiving day nap better.

  22. Fred – The Terps have two big guys – Padgett and Williams – signed for next year. They are both potential impact players as freshman, but who knows.

    I totally expect, however, that between Dupree, Burney, Goins and Gregory, there are going to be some surprisingly good performances this year. Remember, Wilcox exploded as a sophomore. Gregory looks to be following a similar trajectory. Dupree is slimed down and needs to learn to play in his new body and Burney showed lots of promise towards the end of last season. Goins in a freshman. Who knows about any freshman.

  23. Coming tonight to a computer near you…

  24. Amen Stevend. If I’m a big man playing for the Terps (we can all dream, I’m only 6’2″) the one thing I’m making sure I do consistently is BOX OUT.

    Going to the game tonight, I hope more people turn out than at the Bucknell game.

  25. I can’t speak for everyone but when the football team loses I am hugely dissapointed but the next day I wake up and I move on.

    When Garyland’s team loses I feel like someone sucker-punched me in the stomach and I can’t breathe and I continue to feel like that until the next win. The only exception to this is the last lost of the season. I can usually breathe after about a week. Except back in 2001 when we were ROBBED at the FF I couldn’t breathe for about a month.

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