Home Ralph Friedgen | Maryland coach talks in advance of Tech game

Ralph Friedgen | Maryland coach talks in advance of Tech game


Staff Report

On the Virginia Tech defense:
I’ve been very impressed with them on tape. Obviously, they’re very well coached and they have a lot of speed on defense. They have the No. 1 defense in the conference and play with great effort.

On the Virginia Tech offense:
They have a big, strong offensive line and good receivers – very similar to what we saw last week. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is similar to Russell Wilson, although he looks to run the ball a little more than Russell did. He’s very elusive, very quick. He has a quick release and very accurate. Ryan Williams has great speed, good vision and great feet. He’s a very good football player.

On the play of backup quarterback Jamarr Robinson and whether he’ll play this weekend:
I thought Jamarr got better as the game went on Saturday, so I think he’ll definitely play. If Chris can’t play, we’ll be ready to play Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown, either one.

On whether there is a different plan with Robinson in at quarterback:
(Jamarr’s) always had a little bit different package because he’s more mobile. He’s got to be able to throw the ball as well as run. He had four possessions last week. Two of the four he was three and out, got us down for a field goal and then had the last two minutes at the end of the game. Within that, he did throw it. He had an opportunity for a touchdown but he overthrew LaQuan Williams. We had the reverse pass that was open that was underthrown with LaQuan to Adrian Cannon. We don’t have any less plans to throw it with Jamarr than we would with Chris.
If you watched Terrapins Rising, I was concerned whether Jamarr would be a quarterback for us. At the end of spring, in the last two scrimmages I thought he did very well. I think he had (three) touchdown passes in the spring game. On Saturday, one of the things I was impressed with in Jamarr was how he competed. I thought he competed very hard. He made a key throw on third-and-4. He has a very strong arm. I think what Jamarr needs is some success and I think would grow very fast. The thing about him is I think he can do it not only with his arm, but with his feet. He brings that mobility to the table that Chris doesn’t have. He showed that on Saturday when he made a couple of key first downs because he can run. Maybe that will help us – we’ll have to see. I think if he were to have some early success I think that would help a lot for him.

On if Robinson looked more comfortable in practice this week:
About the same, I would say, about the same. I think there was a little more sense of urgency with him. I was pleased with practice yesterday. I thought our kids went out again. I think we’re all beat up. We played a very physical game on Saturday. There were some individuals that weren’t at full speed that we’re still practicing and I think Jamarr was probably one of them. I thought our effort was pretty good. It’s a learning day, basically a new scheme. Things are a little bit different. Overall, I thought our practice was pretty good.

On how the players are holding up this year
All things being said, pretty good. We’re all hurting right now. This has been a very tough year from a lot of different standpoints. Saturday’s game kind of epitomizes what we’ve been going through. We had opportunities and we just, for whatever reason, we can’t seem to cash in on them. We make a play, we get a penalty. We get a touchdown, we get a penalty. We have a guy open, we don’t hit him. I’ve been, to be honest with you, very pleased with the resiliency of this team. I really think it’s taken a lot of character on their part to week in and week out give the effort they have and still hang in there. What’s concerning me now is that we’re getting worn thin a little bit, and yet, I was pleased that we came out yesterday. Will I say 100 percent? No. I would say gave 85 to 90 percent of them busted their butts yesterday. I appreciate that more than anything else as a coach.

On whether more younger players see action the rest of the season to gain experience:
I’m still going to play to win football games. I haven’t seen anything within our seniors that was a lack of effort. I do think some of our younger guys are getting better. That will earn more and more playing time for them, but I’m not going to quit on our seniors. They’ve put too much into this. I see us getting a little more depth more than anything else. If I did see that, I probably would make the change, but so far, I haven’t seen that in 90 percent of our players.

On the importance of the final three games:
I think these games are important for us for a lot of reasons. Hopefully it will build momentum going into next year, build confidence. Also to have pride in who we are as the Maryland football program. Eventually, we have to push through. We have to keep working and I think our kids are doing that. Eventually, that has to help us. The biggest thing that’s hurting us right now is the injuries are starting to mount up. We’ve got guys that are still playing that are nicked up too. A couple of them, we’re holding for operations until after the season just from a depth standpoint. I’ve got to cut back on practices, I’ve got to watch how much contact we have and try to get us ready to play on Saturday and play hard on Saturday.

On offensive coordinator James Franklin being down on the field, not in the booth
It doesn’t involve me at all. I’m on the headsets with James, Don (Brown) and Charles (Bankins) anyway. What I do think it does is it allows is James to get with the offense and also get with the quarterbacks. I’ve done both (as an offensive coordinator). You can see better up top, but I think you have a better feel for where your team is when you’re on the sidelines. When I was at Georgia Tech, I went from the booth down to the field because we had a young team. I think that helps a young team.

On his friendship with Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer
I don’t talk to Frank a whole lot during the season. I will call a couple of his assistants every now and then – sometimes they exchange information with us. Frank and I will always be friends. It’s tougher because we’re competitors now. That’s not easy. I don’t think he likes it and I know I don’t like it, but it is what it is, so it doesn’t really matter. We’re going to do what we’ve got to do to try and win a football game and he’s going to do the same. When the game’s over, we’ll talk about our families, but that’s just how it is.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.