A Change Is Needed... Just Not Yet.

11/28/2009 11:15:48 PM Well, the football season is over.

Yes, I know the season has been over pretty much since Middle Tennessee beat us on our own field back in September. But now that the Terps have set a new low with 10 losses in one season, all the talk will be about the coaching staff. What in the world will the program do? Do they have enough money to buy out Fridge? If they do, do they buy out Franklin too or move up his promotion? Here are my thoughts:

This program needs a fresh start. They need a change at the top. But they SHOULD NOT FIRE FRIDGE. How do I say this when I just said they need a change? Well, I think it's in the best interest of the program to keep Fridge for one more year. What they do after that depends on what happens next year. Right now it would take $4 million to buy out Fridge. I don't think they want to do that. It makes no sense to get rid of Fridge and hire Franklin now. Why not wait one more year and save $3 million. Does it really hurt the program to have Fridge stay one more year? There is no potential coach out there that the Terps can go after to replace him. The coaches that everyone is in love with will be fighting over the Notre Dame job. Or perhaps the Louisville job or the Kansas job or the Michigan job. WE ARE NOT GETTING A TOP GUY THIS OFFSEASON. Therefore it does not make sense to fire him now.

We only had 14 seniors this year and all of our best players will be back next year. That is a positive. The negative is that most of our players will be back next year and all they did this season was go 2-10. Like some of the posts I have read recently, I also believe that the coaching staff deserves a lot of blame for this season. They were a few plays from winning 7 or 8 games, but also a few from being 0-12. I realize that our offensive line was bad and our defensive line struggled as well. The injuries to key guys also did not help, but the talent is there. These coaches recruited fairly well the last few years and there are some special athletes on this team. The turnovers that plagued the team early in the season were mostly fixed in the final 3 games. That is one positive.

Now back to the coaches. I give the defense a break because they were on the field WAAAAAY too long during the entire season. We have an absolute beast in Wujciak. The line did not get enough pressure on the QB's and they had their issues, but the played well enough the final 2 weeks to win games. After years of the Chris Cosh "bend but don't break and never blitz" defense, the guys had to learn an entire new way of playing and that took time, but I saw some nice things and hopefully, if Brown stays, they can be a force next year with some improvement on the D-line and in the secondary.

The offense is an embarrassment. There is no reason with the group of receivers and running backs the team has, as well as starting the season with a senior QB, that they should have been this brutal. The offensive line struggled with inexperience and injuries and had a big role in the struggles, but even so, Turner put us behind in multiple games with horrible passes that were intercepted on our first offensive drive of the game. Plus, the running backs all fumbled... multiple times. Now, it's the Offensive Coordinator's job to adjust to problems such as injuries and ineffectiveness and come up with solutions. Franklin did not do that and stayed very stubborn with his West Coast Offense.

I will say this one more time. THE WEST COAST OFFENSE IS CRAP. If you don't have Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, John Taylor, or Roger Craig, it's just a time wasting, boring and not successful way to move the ball. I HATE THE WEST COAST OFFENSE. When you never go downfield, you make it so easy for the defense to stop. The defenses in college football are good. They are fast and you will not be breaking 5 tackels and running to the endzone time after time. Sure, you'll have a drive or two where it works, but those damn screens eventually get crushed. And if this was a west coast offense, where were the slants? I saw about 10 slants all season long. They just loooooved those freakin screens. I am not excited for the future of this program if Franklin becomes head coach and runs that crap. Example:

Terps vs. BC on Saturday. Chris Turner started. I'm fine with that. He led us to 2 bowl games and deserved to end his college career with a start. He had one good drive that led to a field goal, then struggled running that crappy WC. Then they bring in Robinson and after not letting him throw the first couple plays, they ran plays over the middle and downfield. They ran seam routes that worked and Robinson led the team right down the field for a touchdown. Great. It looked like a legitimate offense at that point. So after one more series where the line failed Robinson, Turner was back for most of the rest of the game. Did we go downfield? Twice. We ran a real offense with the sophomore, but didn't let the senior do anything more than those ridiculous screens and dump offs. That's bad coaching. Then, they stuck with Turner when they should have gone back to Robinson.

Freidgen was saying all week that he would trade anything for a win (when discussing the redshirt issue with the backup QB's). Well, he apparently thought it was more important that Turner play a lot in his final game than going back to the one player who led the offense to its only touchdown of the game at that point. Ridiculous.

That worries me and that is why I think the Fridge needs to go. But like I said, not this year.

I will not forget the years where he led us to 10 win seasons. I know it's a "what have you done for me lately" thing, but the 90's sucked. At least we were good this decade. I appreciate what he has done while being a good father figure for the kids and not having many off the field issues and only one recruiting error with Abiamiri and the Xbox.

It makes sense to give Fridge one more year to get himself out of this mess. They have the talent and there is more on the way. Fridge said on Saturday that he intends to discuss with Debbie Yow how the offense and defense can be improved by tailoring it more to the players they have. It's about time on that front, but at least it's something. Why mess up the recruiting now when there is no supercoach waiting to come here? Keep Fridge and Franklin for next year. If they make adjustments and start winning again, great! If not, then you can fire them all and there could be a much better batch of coach prospects to choose from.

This season stunk, but I feel there can be much brighter days ahead. I can't say Fridge entirely deserves one more year, but I would like to give it to him.
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